Who was Glen Campbell, and what did he contribute to music?

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kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Glen Campbell is an American country music musician and singer who got his start as a member of the Wrecking Crew, a group of very talented musicians who “backed” name acts.  Known as “session musicians,” they performed the instrumentation heard on thousands of recordings by well-known artists.  Some members of the Wrecking Crew went on to become famous themselves, including guitarist Campbell and keyboardist Leon Russell.  Campbell, as it turned out, was not only a talented guitarist, but a gifted vocalist as well.  Recording songs by Jimmy Webb (“By the Time I Get to Phoenix”), John Harford (“Gentle on My Mind”), and Larry Weiss (“Rhinestone Cowboy”). Campbell’s fame grew and he hosted his own television variety show in 1969, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour,” which ran until 1972.  His acting career was limited by a noticeable shortage of talent on that front, but he was immortalized in the 1969 film “True Grit,” starring John Wayne. Campbell played a Texas Ranger who teamed up with Wayne’s U.S. Marshal to search for the killer of a young woman’s father. 

Unfortunately, Campbell’s drug and alcoholic problems became public with his 2003 drunk driving arrest in Phoenix, Arizona.  This incident, however, did not diminish his stature among his colleagues in the music industry and in 2005 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  In 2011, Campbell revealed that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and launched a final tour across the country. 

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