MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MLB MLB MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL MBL

Glen Campbell ‘wasn’t really communicating much’ at the end of his life, says son

Glen Campbell with daughter Ashley on his last tour (Image: Gary Miller)

Glen Campbell rose from poverty to blaze through drug and alcohol addiction, four marriages and nine children before succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease in 2017. But this week he is back from beyond the grave, accompanied by stars including Sir Elton John, Sting, Dolly Parton, Eric Clapton, Brian Wilson and Carole King. The music legends gathered to record a remastered version of his final album, to be released tomorrow: Glen Campbell Duets: Ghost on the Canvas Sessions.

Rhinestone Cowboy singer Glen Campbell

Rhinestone Cowboy singer Glen Campbell playing his guitar in 1967 (Image: Getty)

“There were so many stars who performed with him over the years and others who always wanted to but never had the chance, so this is finally making that dream areality,” explains the singer’s son, Cal Campbell, 40, who was the drummer on Glen’s last tour.

Campbell recorded 64 albums over five decades, selling 45 million records, his biggest hits including Wichita Lineman, Gentle on My Mind, By The Time I Get To Phoenix, and Rhinestone Cowboy.

For Cal and his sister Ashley, the remaking of Campbell’s Ghost on the Canvas album was an emotional journey through their father’s past triumphs and torments.

“He’d been through hard times and recording the duets reminded me of how incredible he was,” says Cal. “Ghost on the Canvas was his journey to redemption and took on a greater meaning when it was confirmed that my dad had Alzheimer’s.

“He didn’t realise it would be his last time in the recording studio. We were recording the album when we realised something wasn’t quite right. When he was performing he was way more functional, even with Alzheimer’s.

Glen Campbell performs Gentle On My Mind in 2010

“On stage he relied a lot on the band. If he forgot where he was in a song he’d look back and get the cue where to come in. But when we came off the road he’d take a nose-dive and couldn’t function as well. He’d get lost coming back from the golf course.

“It’s the worst thing imaginable to see someone you love losing themselves and everything they love. At the end he wasn’t really communicating much and didn’t recognise many people. It was heart-breaking.”

Campbell bravely went public with his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2011 and continued performing, though critics questioned whether he was being milked as a cash cow as his illness progressed. But Campbell’s widow Kim insists that performing helped keep his illness at bay.

“When we were on tour, our doctors told us that it was probably keeping him from progressing as rapidly,” she explains.

Campbell’s singing daughter Ashley, who also performed on his final tour, agrees: “It helped his brain to make connections and function in a more cohesive way and I believe his continuing to play music kepthim with us longer than if he had just stopped altogether.”

But Campbell deteriorated on his 2012 tour, until fans couldn’t help notice and had to finish songs for him when heforgot the lyrics.

“He started to lose the concept that he was performing a show,” recalls Cal.

“He tried to change the sound set-up, or talked to the audience in strange ways. We cancelled a tour of Australia and New Zealand, though he really wanted to go.

“Ultimately he couldn’t do it any more without losing his dignity. It’s such a cruel disease. The hardest part was that he had so much left to give.”

The seventh son and youngest of 12 children, Campbell was raised on an impoverished Arkansas farm without electricity, where his parents barely made ends meet.

Music was his way out of the cotton fields, but he spent a lifetime running from those dark beginnings.

The songs on Ghost on the Canvas are about acceptance, gratitude, mortality and hope, following his lengthy battle with his addictions.

“He’d been through hell with alcohol and cocaine,” says Cal. “He was heavily into substance abuse and blacked out drinking multiple days in a row. I figured his demons stemmed from the pain from his previous failed marriages, things that had gone wrong, troubles with his kids.

“But he realised if he didn’t pull himself out it was the path to an early grave. He had it all, and was driven to lose it, and he had to stop. He’d always talk about how he’d tried everything, he’d lived, loved and fought, cried and laughed, and he preferred loving much better.

“He had a relapse in 2010, but after that, oh my God, he wouldn’t drink a single drop.”

Glen Campbell with family

Glen Campbell, second left, with daughter Ashley, left, wife Kim and son Cal in 2012 (Image: Jeff Kravitz)

Campbell was a loving but strict father, says Cal, from his home in Nashville: “He didn’t want his children to make the same mistakes he did. He told us not to drink and was against booze and drugs.”

In Campbell’s final months Kim, his wife of more than 30 years, made the painful decision to put him in a care facility rather than live out his last days at home.

Says Cal: “Dad was a really strong person and it was hard to keep him from doing whatever he wanted. He’d walk out the front door and get lost.”

“I felt I had no choice,” Kim wrote in her book Gentle On My Mind, though other family members fought over his control.

“The sad truth is that my adversaries made it impossible for me to care for Glen at home even if I could have. If hefell, I feared they’d claim I pushed him. If he died, I feared they’d accuse me of killing him… I had done what was best for Glen, me and our children.”

But Campbell’s death at the age of 81 in August 2017 ignited a bitter battle over his fortune among his eight surviving children.

“People assumed he’d left $20million, but it was nothing near that,” admits Cal.

The probate court valued his estate at $410,000, not including future royalties. Three of his children were cut out of his will, but after a lengthy legal conflict royalties were divided among Campbell’s children.

The star-filled duets album reminds the world of his genius. “We miss him every day,” says Cal. “He was a great father, loving and gregarious. He just wanted to be remembered as a kid who came from nothing, who was pickin’ ’n’ grinnin’, a guitar player with a human story of redemption.”

Duets: Ghost on the Canvas Sessions, by Glen Campbell and guest stars, is out now

Via

Leave a Comment