'Rhinestone Cowboy' Glen Campbell dies at 81

Country superstar Glen Campbell who has died at the age of 81 Credit AP

Glen is one of the greatest voices there ever was in the business.

Do you remember Glen Campbell's gig at the Theatre Royal?

"Wait a minute", Campbell said from the stage, "What's going on here?"

Songs such as "Gentle On My Mind", "Galveston", "Wichita Lineman" and "By The Time I Get to Phoenix" crossed all genres of music and made Country relevant as never before.

The son of sharecroppers in rural Arkansas, country star Glen Campbell once told Rolling Stone magazine that he used to watch television by candlelight.

Campbell battled Alzheimer for a long time; he died in Nashville at an Alzheimer's facility surrounded by his family, his publicist Sanford Brokaw said.

Campbell performed on tracks for stars such as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra and his smooth guitar licks can be heard on the Righteous Brothers hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" and on the Beach Boys "Pet Sounds" album.

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Long before he became a major singing star, Campbell was a force in music.

With his strong, rich and pleasant voice that evoked best the charms of the American outdoors but also strains of dislocation to unforgiving urban millieus for livelihood, Campbell was a singular performer who brought a degree of sophistication and increased allure to this informal genre. The two would become musical partners.

"I had an old auto and l used to drive to the set with the Duke (Wayne)", Campbell told me.

The musician is survived by his wife Kim and their three children Cal, Shannon and Ashley. He was battling Alzheimer's disease.

All was not well though, for the singer soon found himself with a drug addiction and an increasingly tempestuous relationship with country music singer Tanya Tucker.

After a few years passed and a sense of personal appreciation for popular music heightened, Campbell's gifts began to reveal themselves. "I realised he was at least my equal and probably someone I could learn a great deal from if I would just shut up and pay attention". But the best of his recordings - especially those written by Jimmy Webb - were slivers of poetry.

Being 10 years old, I knew nothing of the accomplishments Campbell had already chalked up: his reputation as a master guitar picker, his agility as a song interpreter and especially the unexpected roles he had already been called upon to play (like replacing a ravaged Brian Wilson on tour with the Beach Boys).

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