Wednesday August 09, 2017

Anne Murray on the kindness and talent of Glen Campbell: 'He nurtured me'

Campbell performs during The Goodbye Tour, in a scene from the documentary film, Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me, directed by James Keach.

Campbell performs during The Goodbye Tour, in a scene from the documentary film, Glen Campbell... I'll Be Me, directed by James Keach. (PCH Films/Associated Press)

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Glen Campbell died yesterday after a battle with Alzheimer's. He was 81. 

In a lot of the headlines you read, he's called a country music star, but this was an artist whose star shone in more directions than one. Campbell grew up poor in rural Arkansas, and the story goes that he got his first guitar at the age of four, from a Sears catalogue.

He went on to play guitar on records by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, the Monkees and Merle Haggard. Campbell was a touring member of the Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson, and played guitar on their huge album, Pet Sounds. And if Campbell had stopped there, that would have been enough, but then he started a solo career, becoming one of the first artists ever to bridge country and pop. He got on mainstream radio in a way that almost no country artist had before. Recording songs like "Gentle on my Mind," "Wichita Lineman," and "Rhinestone Cowboy" — perfect pieces of pop country that hold up today.

Campbell also acted in movies, like the John Wayne classic True Grit. And he was the host, in the late '60s and early '70s, of the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. That TV show shot Campbell to superstardom, and introduced mainstream American audiences to folk and country acts they would have missed otherwise. 

Today on the show, Canadian artist Anne Murray opens up about Campbell's legacy. Murray, as some may know, was a frequent guest on Campbell's show over the years, and she also worked with him on a 1971 album.