Glen Travis Campbell (born April 22, 1936) is an American country music singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host, and occasional actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, and forHOSTING a variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television.
Glen Campbell was born in Billstown, a tiny community near Delight in Pike County, Arkansas, to John Wesley and CarrieDELL (Stone) Campbell. He was the seventh son of 12 children. His father was a sharecropper of Scottish ancestry. HeSTARTED playing guitar as a youth and credits his uncle Boo for teaching him the guitar.
In 1954 Campbell moved to AlbuquerqueTO JOIN his uncle's band known as Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys. He also appeared there on his uncle's radio show and on K Circle B Time, the local children's program on KOB television. In 1958 Campbell formed his own band, the Western Wranglers.
By January 1961 Campbell had found a daytime job at publishing company American Music, writing songs and recordingDEMOS. In May 1961 he left The Champs and was subsequently signed by Crest Records, a subsidiary of American Music. His first solo release, "Turn Around Look at Me", was a moderate success, peaking at number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100. He also formed The Gee Cees with former bandmembers from The Champs, performing at The Crossbow Inn in Van Nuys, a Los Angeles suburb. The Gee Cees too released aSINGLE on Crest, instrumentals "Buzz Saw" b/w "Annie Had A Party", which did not chart.
In 1962 Campbell signed with Capitol Records. After minor initial success with "Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry", his first single for the label, and "Kentucky Means Paradise", released by The Green River Boys featuring Glen Campbell, a string of unsuccessful singles and albums followed.
From 1964 on Campbell began to appear on television as a regular on Star Route, a syndicated series hosted byRod Cameron, ABC's Shindig! and Hollywood Jamboree.
From December 1964 to early March 1965, Campbell was a touring member of the Beach Boys, filling in forBrian Wilson. He also played guitar on the group's Pet Sounds album, among other recordings. On tour, he played bass guitar and sang falsetto harmonies. In April 1966, he joined Ricky Nelson on a tour through the Far East, again playing bass.
In 1965 he had his biggest solo hit yet, reaching number 45 on the Hot 100 with a version of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier". Asked about the pacifist message of the song, he elected to assert that "people who are advocating burning draft cards should be hung."
In 1967, Campbell was also the uncredited lead vocalist on "My World Fell Down" by Sagittarius, a studio group. The song reached No. 70 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The 1969 song "True Grit" by composer Elmer Bernstein and lyricist Don Black, and sung by Campbell, who co-starred in the movie, received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Song and the Golden Globe.
After he hosted a 1968 summer replacement for television's The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour variety show, Campbell hosted his own weekly variety show,The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, from January 1969 through June 1972. At the height of his popularity, a 1970 biography by Freda Kramer, The Glen Campbell Story, was published.
Campbell performing at the Michigan State Fair, circa 1970
"Rhinestone Cowboy" was Campbell's largest-selling single, initially with over 2 million copies sold. Campbell had heard songwriter Larry Weiss' version while on tour of Australia in 1974. It was included in Dickie Goodman's Jaws movie parody song "Mr. Jaws". Both songs were on October 4, 1975 Hot 100 top 10. "Rhinestone Cowboy" continues to be used in TV shows and films, including Desperate Housewives, Daddy Day Care, and High School High. It was the inspiration for the 1984 Dolly Parton/Sylvester Stallone movie Rhinestone. Campbell also made a techno/pop version of the song in 2002 with UK artistsRikki & Daz and went to the top 10 in the UK with the dance version and related music video.
"Southern Nights," by Allen Toussaint, his other No. 1 pop-rock-country crossover hit, was generated with the help of Jimmy Webb, and Jerry Reed, who inspired the famous guitar lick introduction to the song, which was the most-played jukebox number of 1977.
He is alsoCREDITED with giving Alan Jackson his first big break. Campbell met Jackson's wife (aFLIGHT attendant with Piedmont Airlines) at Atlanta Airport and gave her his publishing manager'sBUSINESS CARD. Jackson went to work for Campbell's music publishing business in the early 1990s and later had many of his hit songs published in part by Campbell's company, Seventh Son Music. Campbell also served as an inspiration to Keith Urban, who cites Campbell as a strong influence on his performing career.
Campbell has been married four times and is the father of five sons andTHREE daughters, ranging in year of birth from 1956 to 1986. Campbell's eldest daughter is Debby, from his marriage (1955–59) to Diane Kirk. After divorcing Kirk, Campbell married Billie Jean Nunley, a beautician from Carlsbad, New Mexico, who gave birth to Kelli, Travis, and Kane. They divorced in 1975. Shortly after that, he married singer Mac Davis'sSECOND wife, Sarah Barg, in 1976. They had one child together (Dillon) and then divorced in 1980, three weeks after Dillon's birth.
From 1980 to 1981 Campbell had a very public relationship with then 21-year-old country star Tanya Tucker that was the subject of supermarket tabloids for months. Campbell has been married to Kimberly "Kim" Woollen since 1982. Woollen was a Radio City Music Hall "Rockette" when she and Glen met on a blind date in 1981. They have three children together, Cal, Shannon and daughter Ashley who have joined their father on stage since 2010 as part of his touring band. Campbell, who was raised in the Church of Christ, and Woollen both joined a Baptist church in Phoenix. In a 2008 interview they said that they have been adherents of Messianic Judaism for two decades.
On The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, Campbell avoided political topics. Around this time period he described himself in interviews as "aREGISTERED Democrat but I voted Republican a few times" and he performed in support of both Republican and Democratic politicians.Campbell performed the National Anthem at the 1980 Republican National Convention andCONTINUED to make a number of campaign appearances for Republican candidates during the 1980s and 1990s.
Campbell went on a final "Goodbye Tour", with three of his children joining him in his backup band; his last show was on November 30, 2012, in Napa, California. Campbell sang "Rhinestone Cowboy" as a goodbye at the 2012 Grammy Awards ceremony held on February 12, 2012.
In April 2014, news reports indicated that Campbell had become a patient at an Alzheimer's long-term care and treatment facility. On March 10, 2015,NBC News reported that Campbell could no longer speak for himself and that two of his children had sought legal action against Campbell's wife Kim, with the assertion that she had "secluded" the singer and prevented them from "participating" in Campbell's medical care.