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Country Legend Glen Campbell Dies At Age 81
Six-time GRAMMY winner and country singer/songwriter Glen Campbell died Aug. 8 from complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 81.
Born 1936 in Billstown, Ark., Campbell first learned to sing harmony at the family's church and learned to play guitar from a young age. By 1960, Campbell headed for Los Angeles where he found success as a session musician. He joined the Champs — of "Tequila" fame — and found a day job writing songs and creating demos.
These demos led him to become a sought-after session guitarist, playing with the famous Wrecking Crew band, which played on numerous hits for artists such as Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Elvis Presley.
After recording modest hits as a solo artist such as 1961's "Turn Around, Look At Me" and 1962's "Too Late To Worry, Too Blue To Cry," Campbell joined the Beach Boys' tour in place of Brian Wilson from 1964 to 1965. He made his first TV appearances the same year, starring as a performer in the series "Shindig!"
Campbell hit his stride in 1967 with the classic tracks "Gentle On My Mind" and "By The Time I Get To Phoenix." He won a pair of GRAMMYs for each recording, giving him four awards at the 10th GRAMMY Awards. Campbell's By The Time I Get To Phoenix album earned Album Of The Year for 1968. Wichita Lineman, also released in 1968, reached No.1 on the Billboard 200, his lone chart-topping album.
Campbell's profile increased when he starred alongside John Wayne and Kim Darby in 1969's gritty Texas film True Grit. He also hosted "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," a variety show that aired from 1969 to 1972.
He remained active, recording more than 70 albums over the course of his career with unforgettable tracks such as "Let It Be Me," "All I Have To Do Is Dream," "Galveston," "It's Only Make Believe," and 1975's No. 1 hit, "Rhinestone Cowboy."
In 2012 Campbell was awarded The Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to the field of recording. He earned his last GRAMMY in 2014 for Best Country Song for "I'm Not Gonna Miss You." Three of his classic recordings are enshrined in the GRAMMY Hall Of Fame: By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Gentle On My Mind and "Wichita Lineman."
"Glen Campbell was, and always will be, an American treasure," said Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow. "We have lost an icon who will be greatly missed, but Glen's musical gifts will live on forever."