Glen Travis Campbell (born April 22, 1936) is a Grammy, Dove
Award-winning and Golden Globe nominated American country pop singer,
guitarist, television host and occasional actor. He is best known for a series
of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as for hosting a variety show called
The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television.
During his 50 years in show business, Campbell has released more than 70
albums. He has sold 45 million records and racked up 12 RIAA Gold albums,
4 Platinum albums and 1 Double-Platinum album. Of his 74 trips up the
country charts, 27 landed in the Top 10. Campbell's hits include John
Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind", Jimmy Webb's "By the Time I Get to
Phoenix", "Wichita Lineman" and "Galveston, Larry Weiss's "Rhinestone
Cowboy" and Allen Toussaint's "Southern Nights".
Campbell made history by winning four Grammys in both country and pop
categories in 1967. For "Gentle on My Mind" he received two awards in country & western, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix"
did the same in pop. He owns trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year from both the Country Music Association (CMA) and
the Academy of Country Music (ACM), and took the CMA's top honor as 1968 Entertainer of the Year. In 1969 Campbell
was hand picked by actor John Wayne to play alongside him in the film True Grit, which gave Campbell a Golden Globe
nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. Campbell sang the title song which was nominated for an Academy Award. In
2005, Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Campbell was one of twelve children born to a sharecropper father with Scottish ancestor’s right outside the tiny
community of Delight in Pike County, Arkansas, in a town called Billstown, then a community of fewer than one hundred
residents. He started playing guitar as a youth without learning to read music. He credits his Uncle Boo for teaching him
the guitar. Though it is widely reported that Glen is a seventh son of a seventh son, that information is not true. Campbell
said that at the age of one and a half he almost drowned but was revived.
By the time he was eighteen, he was touring the South as part of the Western Wranglers. In 1958, he moved to Los
Angeles to become a session musician. He was part of the 1959 line-up of the group the Champs, famous for their
Campbell was in great demand as a session musician in the 1960s. He was part of the famous studio musician’s clique
known as "the Wrecking Crew", many of whom went from session to session together as the same group. In addition to
Campbell, Hal Blaine on drums, Tommy Tedesco on guitar, Leon Russell on piano, Carol Kaye on bass guitar, Al Casey
on guitar were part of this elite group of session musicians that defined many pop and rock recordings of the era. They
were also heard on Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" recordings in the early 1960s.
He was a touring member of the Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson in 1964 and 1965. He played guitar on the group's
Pet Sounds album, among other recordings. On tour, he played bass guitar and sang falsetto harmonies.
He can be seen briefly in the 1965 film Baby the Rain Must Fall, playing guitar in support of Steve McQueen.
Campbell was also the uncredited lead vocalist on "My World Fell Down" by the psychedelic rock act Sagittarius, which
became a minor hit in 1967.
As a solo artist, he had moderate success regionally with his first single, "Turn Around, Look at Me". "Too Late to Worry,
Too Blue to Cry" and "Kentucky Means Paradise" (cut with a bluegrass group called the Green River Boys) were similarly
popular within only a small section of the country audience.
In 1962, Campbell signed with Capitol Records and released two instrumental albums and a number of vocal albums
during his first five years with the label. However, despite releasing singles written by Brian Wilson ("Guess I'm Dumb" in
1965) and Buffy Sainte-Marie the same year ("The Universal Soldier"), Campbell was not achieving major success as a
solo artist. It was rumored that Capitol was considering dropping him from the label in 1966, when he was teamed with
producer Al DeLory, and together they collaborated on 1967's Dylanesque "Gentle On My Mind", written by John Hartford.
The overnight success of "Gentle On My Mind" proved Campbell was ready to break through to the mainstream. It was
followed by the even bigger triumph of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" later in 1967, and "I Wanna Live" and "Wichita
Lineman" in 1968. 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 both the Academy Award for Best Song and the Golden
Campbell would win two Grammy Awards, for his performances on "Gentle on My Mind" and "By the Time I Get to
His biggest hits in the late 1960s were with evocative songs written by Jimmy Webb: "By the Time I Get to Phoenix,"
"Wichita Lineman", "Where's The Playground, Susie?" and "Galveston". An album of mainly Webb-penned compositions,
Reunion: The Songs of Jimmy Webb was released in 1974, but it produced no hit single records.
"Wichita Lineman" was selected as one of the greatest songs of the 20th century by Mojo magazine in 1997 and by
Blender in 2001.
1970’s: The Goodtime Hour, Rhinestone Cowboy and Southern Nights
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.
With Campbell's session-work connections, he hosted major names in music on his show including: the Beatles (on film),
David Gates and Bread, the Monkees, Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson,
Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller and helped launch the careers of Anne Murray, Mel Tillis and Jerry Reed who were
regulars on his Goodtime Hour program.
In 1973, banjo player Carl Jackson joined Campbell's band for 12 years and went on to win two Grammy awards.
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Campbell released a long series of singles and appeared in the movies True Grit
(1969) with John Wayne and Kim Darby and Norwood (1970) with Kim Darby and Joe Namath.
In 1971, Campbell took the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on the road for two nights to The Muny in Forest Park, (the
largest and oldest outdoor theatre in America) in St. Louis, Missouri.
After the cancellation of his CBS series in 1972, Campbell remained a regular on network television. He co-starred in a
made-for-television movie, Strange Homecoming, with Robert Culp and up-and-coming teen idol, Leif Garrett. He hosted
a number of television specials, including 1976's Down Home, Down Under with Olivia Newton-John. He co-hosted the
American Music Awards from 1976–78 and headlined the 1979 NBC special, Glen Campbell: Back To Basics with guest-
stars Seals and Crofts and Brenda Lee. He was a guest on many network talk and variety shows, including: Donny &
Marie, the Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Cher, the Redd Foxx Comedy Hour, Merv Griffin, The Midnight Special
with Wolfman Jack, DINAH!, Evening at Pops with Arthur Fiedler and the Mike Douglas Show. From 1982–83 he hosted a
30-minute syndicated music show on NBC, the Glen Campbell Music Show.
In the mid-1970s, he had more big hits with "Rhinestone Cowboy", "Southern Nights" (both U.S. #1 hits), "Sunflower"
(U.S. #39) (written by Neil Diamond), and "Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)." (U.S. #11).
"Rhinestone Cowboy" was Campbell's largest-selling single, initially with over 2 million copies sold in a matter of months.
Campbell had heard the songwriter Larry Weiss' version while on tour of Australia in 1974 and felt it was the perfect song
for him to record. It was included in the Jaws movie parody song "Mr. Jaws", which also reached the top 10 in 1975.
"Rhinestone Cowboy" continues to be used in movie soundtracks and TV shows, including "Desperate Housewives",
Daddy Day Care, and High School High. It was the inspiration for the 1984 Dolly Parton/Sylvester Stallone movie
Campbell made a techno/pop version of the song in 2002 with UK artists Rikki & 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 #1 pop-rock-country crossover hit, was generated with the help of Jimmy
Webb, who turned Campbell onto the song, and Jerry Reed, who inspired the famous guitar lick introduction to the song,
which was the most-played jukebox number of 1977.
1980’s–2000’s: Later Career and Country Music Hall of Fame Induction
After his #1 crossover chart successes in the mid- to late 1970s, Campbell's career cooled off. He left Capitol Records in
1981 after a reported dispute over the song "Highwayman" written by Jimmy Webb that the label would not release as a
single. The song would become a #1 country hit in 1985 when it was performed by The Highwaymen, a quartet of country
legends: Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.
Campbell made a cameo appearance in the 1980 Clint Eastwood movie Any Which Way You Can, for which he recorded
the title song.
Although he would never reach the top 40 pop charts after 1978, Glen Campbell continued to reach the country top 10
throughout the 1980s with songs such as "Faithless Love", "A Lady Like You", "Still Within The Sound of My Voice" and
"The Hand That Rocks The Cradle" (a duet with Steve Wariner).
When Campbell began having trouble reaching the charts, he began to abuse drugs. At the same time, he was frequently
featured in the tabloids, particularly during his affair with Tanya Tucker. By 1989, however, he had quit drugs and was
regularly reaching the country Top 10; songs like "She's Gone, Gone, Gone" were extremely popular.
In the 1990s, Campbell had slowed from recording, though he has not quit entirely. In all, over 40 of his albums reached
the charts. In 1992, he voiced the character of Chanticleer in the animated film, Rock-A-Doodle. In 1994, his
autobiography, Rhinestone Cowboy, was published.
In 1992 he began headlining the 4,000 seat Grand Palace theatre in Branson, Missouri. He would go on to open the
2,000-seat Glen Campbell Goodtime Theatre in the tourist town. Later he would leave his permanent residence in the
Branson theatre district and would appear in limited engagements at the Grand Palace and Andy Williams’ Moon River
In 1999 Campbell was featured on VH-1's Behind the Music, A&E Network's Biography in 2001, and on a number of CMT
programs. Campbell ranked 29th on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music in 2003.
He is also credited with giving Alan Jackson his first big break. Campbell met Jackson's wife (a flight attendant with
Piedmont Airlines) at Atlanta Airport and gave her his publishing manager's business 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. Urban cites Campbell
as a strong influence on his performing career.
Although for almost a decade Campbell had professed his sobriety to fans at concerts and in his autobiography, in
November 2003 he was arrested for drunk driving in an incident that included a charge of battery on a police officer (later
dropped). He was sentenced to 10 days in jail and community service, due to a high level of intoxication.
In 2005, Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
In February 2008, Glen performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House in his 'Farewell to
Australia' tour. In the lead-up to the tour, Campbell spoke with Country HQ in Dec 2007 in an interview where he not only
reflected on his stellar career, but also his plans for the upcoming tour and more details on a proposed CD with songwriter
It was announced in April 2008 that Campbell was returning to his signature label, Capitol, to release his new album, Meet
Glen Campbell. The album was released on August 19. With this album he branched off in a different musical direction,
covering tracks from artists such as Travis, U2, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jackson Browne and Foo Fighters. It
was Campbell's first release on Capitol in over 15 years. Musicians from Cheap Trick and Jellyfish contributed to the
album as well. The first single, a cover of Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)", was released to radio in July
2008. In March 2010, a farewell album titled "Ghost on the Canvas" was announced.
Campbell has been married four times and is the father of eight children, ranging in year of birth from 1956 to 1986 (five
sons and three daughters). Shortly after his second wife (Billie Jean Nunley) divorced him in 1975, he had an affair with
and later married singer Mac Davis's second wife, Sarah Barg, in 1976. They had one child together (Dillon) and then
divorced. In 1980-81 he had a highly publicized relationship with the 21-year-old country star Tanya Tucker. He has been
married to Kimberly (Kim) Woolen since 1982. Woolen was a Radio City Music Hall "Rockette" when she and Glen met on
a blind date in 1981. A few near-death drug experiences and an ultimatum from Kim led him to give up drugs and alcohol.
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's eldest daughter, Debby (from his first marriage (1955–1959) to Diane Kirk), has
been touring across the world with her father since 1987 and performs many of the duets made famous by Campbell with
Bobbie Gentry and Anne Murray.
In November 2003, Campbell was arrested on drunk driving and hit-and-run charges. According to the police report,
Campbell drove his BMW into another car at a Phoenix intersection. He left the accident scene but was later arrested at
his nearby home. After he was booked into a Maricopa County lockup, Campbell kneed a sergeant in the thigh, for which
he was charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, a charge that was later dropped. Campbell pleaded guilty in
May 2004 to extreme DUI and leaving the scene of an accident and received a 10-day jail sentence.
Campbell is an avid golfer and hosted his namesake Glen Campbell Los Angeles Open Golf Tournament at the Riveria
Country Club from 1971-83. He was ranked in the top #15 celebrity golfers list by Golf Digest magazine in 2005. ~ by