Country music legend Glen Campbell, 81, has died, according to a statement on the musician's website, after a long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease.
The son of a sharecropper, Campbell was born in Billstown, Arkansas and was the seventh of 12 children. He learned how to play the guitar at an early age, and by the time he was in his early 20s, decided to move out to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to join his Uncle's band.
Campbell decided to move to Los Angeles in 1960, after getting a gig as a session musician, during which he performed on recordings by such stoic musicians as Frank Sinatra, The Monkees, Bobby Darin, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, and Phil Spector.
A year later he was signed to a solo deal with Crest Records, who released his first solo song, "Turn Around, Look At Me," which hit No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961.
By 1964, Campbell became a touring member of The Beach Boys, filling in for lead singer Brian Wilson. He also went on to perform on the group's critically acclaimed album, Pet Sounds in 1966.
At one point in his career, Capitol Records even considered dropping him from the label, before he teamed up with producer Al De Lory on the single, "Burning Bridges" which soon went on to become a Top 20 Country hit.
Campbell went on to host his own variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS from 1969 to 1972, which would also land him quite a few acting gigs in films such as True Grit, Norwood and the animated film, Rock-A-Doodle.
Over the course of his career, spanning five decades, Campbell sold more than 45 million records, 16 of which received either Gold or Platinum certification by the RIAA.
From his catalog, he had 80 songs land on the Billboard music charts, nine of which even went on to claim a No. 1 spot.
He went on to win five Grammys and an Academy Award nomination for his performance of the title song to the film, True Grit. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and was also presented with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Campbell was first diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011, after which he embarked on his "Goodbye Tour," with three of his kids.
Following the tour, Campbell returned to the studio one final time to record his very last album, Adiós, which was released in June.
Glen is survived by his wife, Kim Campbell of Nashville, TN; their three children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; ten grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren; sisters Barbara, Sandra, and Jane; and brothers John Wallace “Shorty” and Gerald.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at BrightFocus Foundation through the CareLiving.org donation page.
Glen Campbell was a true musical pioneer. That is why, in his memory, we've compiled some of our favorite songs that sample his work:
1) "Say What" – LL Cool J
Produced by Vinnie Biggs, LL Cool J raps over samples of Glen Campbell's "Bach Talk" on his 1999 Hip-Hop single, "Say What," which was best known as the anchor track to the Deep Blue Sea movie soundtrack.
2) "Stir Crazy" – The Madd Rapper feat. Eminem
Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie made several appearances on albums from Bad Boy Records as his alter-ego, The Madd Rapper, but his persona finally took on new life with his solo album, Tell Em Why You Madd. According to Rolling Stone Magazine, "Stir Crazy" was one of several on the album that was produced by a young Kanye West. It also features samples of "Sunday Morning" by Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry.
3) "Small Vacation" by Adrian Lau
Brooklyn rapper Adrian Lau and Surf School Recordings founder/producer Harry Fraud sample the Glen Campbell classic "Witchita Linemen" with their indie Hip-Hop track, "Small Vacation."
4) "The Parish of Spacedust" – Gorillaz
Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn would also sample Glen Campbell's "Witchita Linemen" on the virtual band's 2011 album, The Fall, a far more deconstructed record, which Albarn composed on his iPad during the Gorillaz Return to the Plastic Beach tour.
5) "The Wrath of Marcie" – The Go! Team
The six member indie band from Brighton, England, The Go! Team sample Glen Campbell's "Turn It Around In Your Mind," with their song, "The Wrath of Marcie," from the 2007 album, Proof of Youth.