If you grew up in the Sixties, you heard this guy and often.
Glen Campbell, the sweet-voiced, guitar-picking son of a sharecropper who became a recording, television and movie star in the 1960s and ’70s, waged a publicized battle with alcohol and drugs and gave his last performances while in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, died on Tuesday in Nashville. He was 81.
Tim Plumley, his publicist, said the cause was Alzheimer’s.
There’s a lot going on in those two sentences.
Campbell was a self-taught musician who couldn’t read music, which is pretty amazing for a guy who first made his bones as a member of the legendary group of LA session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew. He was a helluva guitarist, as this 2001 version of one of his big hits, “Galveston”, demonstrates.
As the article notes, he was a member of the Beach Boys for a few months in the mid-60s and toured with the group, which leads me to my favorite Campbell song, his first release.
Brian Wilson penned “Guess I’m Dumb” and worked on it with the Beach Boys, but never released it through the group. Instead, he arranged and produced the song as Campbell’s first single. Campbell is backed by his mates from The Wrecking Crew and purportedly the background singers are Beach Boys.
The result sounds like Brian Wilson channeling Burt Bacharach and it’s a great pop tune.