Glen Campbell was a superb guitar player. Most folks don’t know that he got his start as a session musician in Los Angeles, using his guitar playing abilities to make a name for himself. His chops earned him a spot in the Wrecking Crew, a legendary session band that played on countless hit songs.
His musicality opened up a prolific solo career that spanned decades. Dolly Parton, in her remembrance of Glen, said that he could play anything he wanted. He made everything look and sound so easy.
As you reflect on Campbell’s legacy, “Gentle on My Mind” is surely one of his signature hits that comes to mind. Decades after the song had become a classic, Campbell appeared on a TNN TV special to perform it for an audience of country music legends, including Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and more.
Watch the look on their faces when Glen the guitar break.
In 2011, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which would later rob his ability to play and sing. Shortly after his diagnosis, he began recording his final album, Adios, which was released earlier this summer.
The music video for the title track ends with a poignant send-off. A musician character symbolizing Glen lights a guitar on fire and lets it drift into the sea. The video’s director, Peter Zavaldi, explained its significance.
“The guitar is a symbol of Glen’s legacy… a ‘spiritual baton’ as it were, carried on by all those influenced by his music, beginning with one of his daughters and ending with one of his grandsons. The fact that no one will ever hold a match to Glen’s skill on the guitar is memorialized by giving his guitar a proper ‘Viking Funeral’ on the California coast.”