Back on the road: Glen Campbell set for farewell tour

 

In a somewhat moving feature in the Guardian last Saturday, Glen Campbell, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease earlier this year, talks to Simon Hattenstone about his new album ‘Ghost on the Canvas’ which has just been released in the UK.

The album, which precedes Campbell’s farewell tour this autumn, provides insight into his awareness of his diagnosis. In ‘A Better Place’, Campbell reveals that:

“Some days I’m so confused, Lord, my past gets in my way.

I need the ones I love, Lord, more and more each day”

His family explain the decision to go public about Campbell’s illness. His daughter, Ashley, says, “It’s important because he’s not just going into hiding. He’s out there, and saying, ‘I’m still going to try to do what I do, and I’m not going to let this disease beat me just yet.’ ” This shows a marked contrast to Campbell’s close friends Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston, both of whom disappeared quietly from public life following a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Glen Campbell was born in April 1936 in Pike County, Arkansas, one of twelve children. Campbell was taught by an uncle to play the guitar at an early age, and his natural ability gave him the opportunity to perform with the Beach Boys and to record with Phil Spector. Campbell had a number of solo hits in the late sixties and seventies, notably Wichita Lineman and Rhinestone Cowboy. More recently he has covered tracks by Travis, U2 and Green Day.

Campbell’s ability to perform live has so far been affected little by the Alzheimer’s Disease, although he sometimes forgets the occasional lyric. Bob Harris, who hosts a Country music show on BBC Radio 2, said he had watched Campbell record a TV appearance a couple of months ago. “He had clearly, then, disappeared slightly into a zone, as it were. But the one thing that was not in any way affected was his guitar playing,” he said.

Glen Campbell will perform at St David’s Hall, Cardiff, on Sunday 23rd October 2011. Full details of all UK tour dates can be found at http://meetglencampbell.com/www_uk/index.htm

To read Simon Hattenstone’s Guardian feature, go to: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/aug/26/glen-campbell-interview