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'Rhinestone Cowboy' singer Glen Campbell has died, aged 81

Wednesday, 9th August, 2017

Country singer Glen Campbell has passed away, aged 81. Photo: DANNY JOHNSTON

COUNTRY music legend Glen Campbell, best known as the voice of hits such as Gentle on My Mind and Rhinestone Cowboy, has died.

Campbell was 81.

Campbell withdrew from public life in 2011, after announcing he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and embarking on a farewell tour.

An official statement from his family today confirmed "with the heaviest of hearts" that Campbell had died.

In a career which spanned five decades, Campbell released more than 70 albums and sold some 45 million records.

Across those he notched up a dozen gold albums, four platinum and one double platinum.

In the United States, a gold album is one which crosses the 500,000 sales threshold; a platinum certification is gained when an album sells more than one million copies.

Campbell - full name Glen Travis Campbell - was born in 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas, the seventh of 12 children.

As a young man he was taught to play guitar by a relative he referred to as Uncle Boo, and as a teenager embarked on a career as a musician.

At 22, he formed his own band, the Western Wranglers.

As a session musician he played on the recordings of a number of legendary artists, including Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.

Within a decade, he would be propelled on a trajectory that would ultimately set him alongside them.

Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2010 and released a farewell album, and embarked on a farewell tour.

His final public performance was held on November 30, 2012, in Napa, California.

He subsequently recorded one additional album, titled Adios, which was not released until this year.

His final recording was the song I'm Not Gonna Miss You, in January, 2013.

In 2016, at the 10th annual American Country Music honours, Campbell was given the Career Achievement Award; his wife Kim accepted the award on his behalf.

A number of high profile country stars, including Australian Keith Urban, performed Campbell's songs at the event.

Campbell was married four times, and fathered eight children between 1956 and 1986; he was married to Kim Woollen in 1982.

All three of Campbell and Woollen's children - Cal, Shannon and Ashley - performed with their father during his farewell tour.

Tributes poured in across social media, including from fellow musicians in the country music world and beyond, following news of Campbell's passing. 

The Sydney Morning Herald


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