Country music legend Glen Campbell may be in the later stages of dementia, but that hasn’t stopped him releasing a poignant new album this month.
He’s sold 50 million records in a career spanning six decades and remains one of the most famous singer songwriters of all time, so when Glen Campbell was diagnosed with dementia six years ago, it was only natural that he would continue to do the thing he loved most in the world; make music.
His final ‘farewell’ tour was only supposed to last for five weeks, but Campbell enjoyed himself so much that it ended up continuing for two years. As he travelled the USA, Australia and Europe a camera crew followed him and the resulting documentary Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me won an Oscar nomination (
Family, friends and fans all agreed that the tour wasn’t only hugely enjoyable for his audience, it was hugely beneficial for Campbell himself. ‘It turned into a beautiful therapy for him,’ his youngest daughter Ashley recalls, ‘And it kept him with us for longer.’
But as invincible as he may have seemed, his memory loss did, sadly, became increasingly apparent. Finally, in 2013, after an impressive 152 farewell concerts the self-taught teenage prodigy called it a day…until now.
For despite his increasing frailty Campbell, now 81, has made a new album, appropriately entitled ‘Adios.’ The album which contains 16 songs he’d always wanted to record but never got round to, was a labour of love, taking four years to complete. When he couldn’t remember the lyrics, the producer held them up on sheets of paper, one line at a time.
‘These are the songs that stuck with him even after being diagnosed and losing his present memory,’ Ashley explains. ‘They’re the songs he’s always loved and have been in his heart.’
Nobody could describe the resulting album (which is a mix of country/pop songs from songwriters including Bob Dylan, Harry Nielson and Willie Nelson) as Glen Campbell’s best work. However, it is filled with emotion and his voice remains remarkably strong and clear. And most importantly perhaps, it gave this great star a chance to say a fitting goodbye.
Campbell is in the later stages of dementia and lives in a nursing home. But his family remain resounding positive. ‘He’s not able to communicate anymore, he has aphasia,’ says Ashley. ‘But it could be a lot worse. He’s doing well for someone in the final stages, he’s enjoying each day, eating ice cream. He’s very thankful and very happy.’