The passing this week of Glen Campbell, the country singer who crossed over into the pop genre in the late 1960s with hit records such as By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, and many others, marks the end of an era for those of a certain (older) generation.
His records were both timely and timeless. Whether singing of lost-love (By the Time I Get to Phoenix) or about a soldier at war (Galveston) or of lost youth (The Dreams of the Everyday Housewife), Glen Campbell’s songs (many written by Jimmy Webb) spoke to the human condition.
In addition to his singing ability, Glen Campbell also was a superb guitarist, who performed as a sessions musician on many hit records for artists including Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and the Beach Boys before embarking on his own career.
Despite his success, Campbell himself was not immune to the vicissitudes of life. He was married four times, and his battles with alcoholism and Alzheimer’s disease were well-known.
For those of us who were youngsters in the late 1960s and 70s, Glen Campbell’s songs were ubiquitous and crossed generations. His TV variety show, similar to others of those years, such as the Johnny Cash Show, The Smothers Brothers, and Laugh-In, were watched by the entire family in our living rooms on the one TV set in our household. His passing evokes bittersweet memories from our childhood and of our loved ones who also have passed in the years since. May he rest in peace.