The Goodbye Tour
June 23, 2011 6:19 PM   Subscribe

Glen Campbell Announces That He Has Alzheimer's Disease Glen Campbell, the studio musician who shot to fame as a solo pop-country crossover singer in the 1960s with his summer replacement TV series, has told People Magazine that he is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. The announcement comes just as he begins the all-too-appropriately named "Goodbye Tour" to promote his final studio album. His wife told People: "Glen is still an awesome guitar player and singer. But if he flubs a lyric or gets confused on stage, I wouldn’t want people to think, 'What's the matter with him? Is he drunk?'" (In 2003, Campbell made headlines with an unfortunate mugshot after an arrest for drunk driving). We shared our love for Glen in this 2007 MeFi post, which features a number of great links to Campbell's performances and covers of his hits by other artists.
posted by briank (28 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

Man, I'm such a fan of Glen Campbell. So sad. Amen on the fucks.
posted by unSane at 6:29 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

posted by SPrintF at 6:30 PM on June 23, 2011

Still in the dreams of the everyday housewife.
posted by pianomover at 6:37 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Glen Campbell taught me to play guitar. It's true.

Back in 1995, when I was but a pudgy teenage geek, I installed some RAM for a family friend. In lieu of payment, she picked me up a guitar from the local pawn shop (a terrible Strat copy with a sweet Biohazard sticker on the back) and handed me down a copy of Glen Campbell Guitar Method to get me started. I was ecstatic.

I never took a single lesson. That book taught me literally everything I knew about playing guitar in those days. I still have it stashed away in the closet; maybe someday I'll make a gift of it, too.

Thanks, Glen.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:42 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

You know, I like the Coen brothers as much as the next person, but matter-of-factly announcing such painful, private news and then going out on tour to perform for thousands of people who are heartbroken on your and their behalf? That's true grit, motherfucker.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:47 PM on June 23, 2011 [8 favorites]

A friend of mine scored an autograph from him for me back in the late '90s. I cherish that autographed picture right along with my autographed Hank Aaron picture from the early '70s. Good god, I love his his music.
posted by NoMich at 6:56 PM on June 23, 2011

Damn. Give 'em hell, Mr. Campbell.
posted by 2N2222 at 7:03 PM on June 23, 2011

Damn shame, Glen. You are an extremely underrated musician and songwriter. Be well.
posted by jonmc at 7:11 PM on June 23, 2011

The critics at the Indianapolis Star usually wear kid gloves. I'm sure they regret taking them off last month.
posted by tfmm at 7:14 PM on June 23, 2011

I love Glen for that bittersweet mellow Wichita Lineman vibe.

But I also remember his mugshot posted on the courier wall, with the scrawled caption:
"Getting cards and letters from people you don't even know."
posted by ovvl at 7:15 PM on June 23, 2011

Glen was a master of the ballad....great music. This is just a shitty way for anyone to go. He is in my thoughts, I wish him and his wife the ability to be strong.
posted by tomswift at 7:18 PM on June 23, 2011

posted by parki at 7:25 PM on June 23, 2011

Tailwinds, brother.
posted by notsnot at 7:25 PM on June 23, 2011

Wichita Lineman back in the day.

Wichita Lineman more recently, with the Stone Temple Pilots.

Wow, that version with STP is really good. Thanks for posting it!
posted by oneirodynia at 7:38 PM on June 23, 2011

Tragically inappropriate now, but still the best.
posted by aninom at 7:45 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Simpsons tribute to Glen Campbell
posted by Renoroc at 7:54 PM on June 23, 2011

Boy was I bummed to see this news this morning. I'd wish him the best... but I don't think there is a best outcome.
posted by evilcolonel at 8:16 PM on June 23, 2011

Glen ranks with the best -- at playing, at singing, at finding great songs and songwriters. He can hold his own with anyone, including Stevie Wonder.

It's easy to laugh at the mugshot but the real story behind it would scare the bejeezus out of anyone. What most people don't know is that the DUI incident was an early tip-off that he had Alzheimer's. Glen quit drinking many years ago, and the events leading up to the arrest were one of his first episodes of dementia. Somehow, Glen maintained his dignity and privacy through all that and found a way to keep playing and performing, which is what he loves to do.
posted by grounded at 8:23 PM on June 23, 2011

"Wichita Lineman," "Galveston," "By the Time I Get To Phoenix," and "Where's the Playground, Suzy?" were all Jimmy Webb compositions, made popular principally by Campbell. Webb and Campbell became as tightly partnered for a while as Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach.

Really sad to know anyone is going down with Alzheimer's. More so, by far, when they've played a good bit of the soundtrack for your life :(.
posted by paulsc at 8:27 PM on June 23, 2011

I don't know much about Campbell; obviously, his voice and guitar playing in my life, but of him personally I know almost nothing.

I know a little bit more about Alzheimer's, enough to know it is scary indeed.

For anyone interested in reading about Alz but wanting to do it in the form of a well-written novel, take a look at Still Alice, written by Lisa Genova (and here are a couple of videos of Lisa Genova discussing the book, and its reception.) I found it to be very informative and entertaining also. And scary.

Why scary? It's in my genetics. All of my fathers siblings 'got it' or it became active or whatever it is, it appears that it came down the line from his mother, who had it bad when she died; his father lived to 94 with total mental clarity. My oldest sister, who was an oncology nurse, now retired, and who of course has watched as this stuff has eaten up our paternal relatives -- she will not even read the book. Fear. And she reads everything. Five years ago she'd have recommended it to me, ten years ago for sure. But not today. We're none of us children anymore, these things get closer maybe. She's scared.

The primary character in Genova's book -- Alice -- gave herself a note, telling her future self to take all the pills in the bottle in this one drawer, if she could not answer the five questions on the page. But by the time she read the note, she was already too far gone to know what to do, and why, what the note even referenced; the fogs were rolling in. I keep that in mind, for myself. I'm not going out as my father did, damn sure not like his mother, his twin sister, his other siblings; his younger brother, terrified, worn down to a 80 some pound pile of tortured fear. Fuck. That. Noise. I'm not going that road.

I'm 56. When I was a child, cancer was the C word, and when you heard it you told everybody goodbye, went and bought a box. Not so anymore; sometimes yes, but not always. It's now classified a chronic illness -- how's that for progress? Answer -- pretty goddamn good.

Those dang heart attacks I had, which killed most of my mothers siblings, and killed me, too -- hey, these folks brought me back from the dead, plus popped a stent in me same as I'd run a nail into a 2x4, no big deal to them, they ran it in from my leg, didn't even need to crack my dang chest. How's that for progress? Answer -- pretty goddamn good.

AIDS, I lived in Houston when that whole nightmare came down, and Houston has a very large gay population, not to mention tons of junkies; AIDS mowed people down like a pack of machine guns. A horror show. Not so anymore; sometimes yes, but not always. You can now get medication(s) that will turn the illness into a chronic thing -- how's that for progress? Answer -- pretty goddamn good.

I said all that to say this -- I hope that there is a way to turn this Alz thing around before it nails me. It's a matter of time til these people find the way out. The money is there, the work is being done, these brilliant minds, these medical engineers (I know that they aren't engineers, I know that they're docs, but I think of these researchers as brilliant, amazing engineers) are on it. I just don't know if it'll happen in my time. And I don't know of course if it's in my future anyways.

Campbell has guts, to have laid it out there this plain, no shame to it but I bet I'd be ashamed, feel weak or whatever. (Took me a long time in this community to cop to the fact of my having this manic depression thing, those same reasons. I'm not so much ashamed of it one to one, when I can look a person in the eye, but... ) Campbell -- one more person bringing this to the larger consciousness, which will bring in a few more bucks to toss at finding the cure, or at least the treatment. I wish him peace.
posted by dancestoblue at 10:17 PM on June 23, 2011 [6 favorites]

Very sad to hear this, thanks for posting it. Godspeed Glen.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:42 PM on June 23, 2011

Saw Glen at the Hollywood Bowl on the 4th of July ten-or-so years ago. He still had it. Did an awesome version of "Classical Gas," and a not-so-awesome version of MacArthur Park. Then a few months later he was making all the wrong kinds of headlines.

(also: kudos to LobsterMitten for paraphrasing Scott Carpenter's memorable words. Wish I'd have thought of that.)
posted by ShutterBun at 2:28 AM on June 24, 2011

Glen was one of the first singer/guitarists I can remember watching on TV and wanting to emulate. Based on all the tributes and covers, I'm clearly not the only one.
posted by tommasz at 5:22 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Glen was one of the first singer/guitarists I can remember watching on TV and wanting to emulate. Based on all the tributes and covers, I'm clearly not the only one.

The one and only time I have sung karaoke was to Wichita Lineman.
posted by aught at 7:10 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Life is not fair, damn it.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:29 AM on June 24, 2011

I don't know much about Campbell; obviously, his voice and guitar playing in my life, but of him personally I know almost nothing.

Anne Murray talks about Glen Campbell, saying that for all the time they worked together, if he wasn't talking about music, he didn't really have a lot to say about anything, that conversation with him was really awkward. He sure could sing and play, though.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:22 AM on June 24, 2011

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