Campbell's "Ghost on the Canvas"
A Sad Farewell
by: Bobby McDonald
For any of us that "came of age" during the Vietnam War Era of the late 1960's and early 1970's, the witnessing of the Glen Campbell's "Ghost on the Canvas," pulls at our heartstrings....as we grew-up with his "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," weekly on our television sets, as he introduced the top music of the day and shared the stage with those who were "making it" in the industry.
Campbell's "A Better Place" and "It's Your Amazing Grace" characterize Campbell's legendary music career that has spanned some 50 years, and now is slowly ending, as he has been diagnosed with Alzheimer Disease. The "Ghost on the Canvas Farewell Tour" is his farewell to fans, where he's joined by three of his children, on stage.
We were reared on such Campbell hits as "Wichita Lineman," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Galveston," "Rhinestone Cowboy," and "Where's the Playground Susie?"
Glen Travis Campbell was born on April 22, 1936, one of twelve children who were reared on a sharecropper farm and attended the Church of Christ in Delight, Arkansas. He credits his Uncle "Boo" for teaching him to play the guitar, by ear, and it was his guitar that he "hocked" to make his way to Albuquerque, New Mexico, when he was 16 years old, to join his Uncle Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys, on a radio show. And, a few years later Campbell formed his own band, known as "The Western Wranglers."
By the time he was in his early twenties, Campbell made his way to Los Angeles, in 1958, and became a popular session musician, where he played with several groups, forming the instrumentals behind rock and pop recordings of the era. He also was a touring member of the "Beach Boys," when he filled-in for Brian Wilson, in 1965 and 1966. He became a part of the Hollywood scene, first in a support roll for Steve McQueen in the 1965 film Baby the Rain Must Fall and he was also the uncredited lead vocalist on My World Fell Down, by the psychedlic rock act Sagittarius, that was filmed in 1967.
Campbell signed with Capital Records, in 1962, but was almost "cut" from the label, before his first major hit "Gentle on My Mind" was debuted in 1967. The song was an overnight success for Campbell and he soon followed it with the hit, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." He brought one of my favorite Campbell songs, "I Wanna Live," and "Wichita Lineman" to the top of the charts in 1968.
Campbell made history by winning four Grammy Awards, in both country and pop categories in 1967. For "Gentle on my Mind" he received two awards in Country and Western, and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix, won two in the Pop category. Other awards in his illustrious music career have included Male Vocalist of the Year from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music, and the CMA's 1968 Entertainer of the Year Award. In 1969, Campbell was picked by actor John Wayne, to play alongside him in the film True Grit, where Campbell sang and acted, and was given a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. His singing of the title song in the movie gave him a nomination for an Academy Award.
Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and this year, he was featured for his lifetime music achievements on the CMA Awards.
Some other hits of Campbell's include:
"Honey Come Back"
"Dream Lover" with Tanya Tucker
"Both Sides Now"
"Mary in the Morning"
"It's Only Make Believe"
"Tomorrow Never Comes"
"I Will Never Pass This Way Again"
"Dreams of the Every Day Housewife"
"True Grit" from the John Wayne Movie
"Country Boy" that was Campbell's tribute to Elvis Presley
"Try A Little Kindness"
"Jesus and Me"
"Take My Heart For a While"
"Less of Me" with Jackie Deshannon
"Reason to Believe"
"All I Have to Do Is Dream" with Bobby Gentry
"Still Within the Sound of My Voice"
"Shoulder to Shoulder" with Tanya Tucker
"Everyone's Gone to the Moon"
and "Little Green Apples"
Campbell's farewell album highlights the music that has spanned a half-century and introduces his reflections on his life and career as he bravely faces the uncertainties that life holds for him in a way that you're sure to enjoy, albeit that you'll likely shed a tear or two, as you see the performer you "grew-up" with finish his remarkable career.
Campbell took his farewell tour to Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, on Tuesday night, January 4th, in what might possibly be his last performance in the Country Music Capital, and performed before a packed crowd, including Tanya Tucker, Jeannie Seely, Ralph Emery, Ricky Skaggs, Larry Gatlin, Steven Curtis Chapman, Mac McAnally, and others, who were there to hear the legendary "mellow voice" of Country Music.
God bless Glen Campbell and give him courage to face his trials, as he has entertained us all, for most of our lives!