Having hailed from iconic Nashville, Glen Campbell is liable to be forever remembered as one of the best to ever grace the country scene. Sadly, the country-music legend spent the last few years of his life as a shadow of his former self due to the worsening effects of his Alzheimer’s disease. Ever the people pleaser, Glen did his best to continue performing until he couldn’t take it anymore. Years after his passing, his family is still processing the loss. Join Facts Verse as Glen Campbell’s wife speaks out years after his death.
Glen Campbell is Gone but Not Forgotten
On August 8, 2017, country-music legend Glen Campbell passed away. Understandably, the news created a wave of sadness amongst not only fans of country music, but also amongst Glen’s family. This included the singer’s fourth and final wife, Kim. Kim was devastated by the loss of her husband, but Glen’s death had been a long time coming. For years leading up to his death, Kim was forced to watch her husband slowly waste away as a result of Alzheimer’s disease. By the point that it was finally time to give official goodbyes, the man she knew and loved was barely there.
Kim Campbell was shaken up by her husband’s death, but the inevitable loss of him was something that she had many years to come to terms with. Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease nearly a decade before his passing, and Kim knew after the diagnosis that it was only going to be a short period of time before he was dead. With doom on the horizon, one might assume that Glen retired from performing so that he could be there for his family and make the most out of his final years. However, Glen did his absolute best to keep performing for as long as he could.
A few years after Glen Campbell’s passing, his widow announced that she was working on a museum to commemorate him. Kim Campbell paid tribute to her husband with the creation of the Glen Campbell Museum, which resides in Nashville. The creation of the museum served not only as a way for Kim to pay tribute to her late husband, but it also served as a way for her to relive many of her greatest memories of him. Though Kim had already prepared herself for the loss of Glen following his 2010 diagnosis, creating this museum after his passing was a necessary part of her accepting that he was really gone.
Creating the Museum Was a Rewarding Challenge
According to Kim Campbell, it was mildly heartbreaking to put her hands on the surplus of memorabilia that she needed to sort through in order to create the Glen Campbell Museum. Each piece of memorabilia that she touched provided a link to her dead husband, and opened up memories of their time together. At first, this made Kim sad. However, it eventually became a cathartic experience. By the time the museum was ready to be opened up to the public, she felt as if a weight had been lifted from her.
In the wake of his passing, Glen Campbell remains one of the most notable icons to have ever graced the country screen. The musician first got his start working as a guitarist for a studio band by the name of the Wrecking Crew. It was during the 1960s that he became a solo performer. With hits such as “Rhinestone Cowboy”, Glen took the world of country music by storm and became a crossover sensation. In 1969, he was given his own show on CBS by the name of The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. He was already a big deal before the show came on the air, but the series’ popularity made him an even bigger success than ever before. The show lasted for four seasons and helped make the niche genre of country music into a national sensation.
The Glen Campbell Museum features the assortment of costumes and other music-related memorabilia that one would expect, but it also features some remnants of the late Glen Campbell’s non-musical endeavors. Glen was an avid golfer, though he never considered the sport anything more than a hobby. He had an impressive collection of golf clubs, and this collection no resides in the museum. Another interesting thing you’ll find in the museum is the late musician’s 2001 World Series ring. For those wondering how the country-music legend came into possession of such a thing, it was via his ownership of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Some of the proceeds from the museum go to Abe’s Garden, which is the facility wherein Glen spent the final years of his life. Another amount of the proceeds goes to the Kim & Glen Campbell Foundation, which does work in music therapy.
The Rhinestone Stage Keeps Country Music Alive
Another notable thing that the Glen Campbell Museum features is a modest performance venue by the name of the Rhinestone Stage. The Rhinestone Stage was one of aspects of the museum’s creation that Kim Campbell was most passionate about. The venue serves as a location for up-and-coming Nashville artists to try their hand at performing in front of a crowd. The creation of this venue was special to Kim for obvious reasons given his late husband’s passion for country music. However, it’s creation also had some added poignancy for Kim due to the fact that her three children have followed in their father’s footsteps.
Glen Campbell had three children with his widow Kim. Those three children are Cal, Ashley, and Shannon. All three of those children have followed in their father’s footsteps by becoming musicians in their own right. Like his father was during his early career, Cal is a studio musician that works with notable artists. One of the artists that Call has worked with is Beck. Meanwhile, Shannon is the member of her own rock-and-roll band. Of Glen and Kim’s three children, Ashley is the one that has followed in Glen’s footsteps the closest.
Between her and her siblings, Ashley is the only one that followed in father Glen Campbell’s footsteps to become a solo country artist in her own right. Ashley has released her own country album by the name of The Lonely One, which features her singing and playing the banjo. Whereas many modern country artists prefer to keep things poppy, Ashley likes to keep thing fairly traditional. This is something that was instilled in the woman by her late father. Following in her father’s footsteps wasn’t something that Ashley ever specifically intended to do. On the contrary, she came of age dreaming of working in theater. Ashley studied theater while attending Pepperdine University, which is located in California. It was during preparation for a performance in one of the university’s plays that Ashley learned the banjo.
How Ashley Came to Mirror Her Father
Ashley graduated from college in 2009, and she then received an interesting offer from her father due to the banjo-playing skills that she had incidentally picked up along the way. Glen asked his daughter is she would be willing to come along with him and his band to tour Australia and New Zealand. He needed a banjo player, and he felt that there could be no better prospective choice than his own daughter. At first, Ashley was unsure of how to respond. However, she eventually decided to take the opportunity to tour alongside her father. A year later, Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Following the diagnosis, Ashley prolonged her tenure with her father’s band so that she could be there alongside him, both to spend time and to help out.
Ashley knew that keeping her father’s love of music alive was one of the best things that she could do to ward off the worsening effects of his Alzheimer’s disease. In addition to performing with him both on and off the stage, Ashley also took her father to musical performances for as long as it remained feasible. According to her, the last concert that she was able to take her father to was a musical performance put on by the Americana band the Punch Brothers. Though the effects of the Alzheimer’s disease had notably impaired her father’s ability to pay attention to music by this point, she claims that he gave each song a standing ovation.
Like her mother, Ashley claims that she was somewhat relieved by the time her father finally passed away. It had been a long time coming, and it was hard to watch him morph into a shell of his former self. When Ashley was growing up, she was sheltered from her father’s fame. She grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, as compared to any of the more show-business oriented places she could’ve been raised. According to her, one of the first time as a child that she realized her father’s fame was when he lent his voice to Don Bluth’s cult-classic animated movie Rock-a-Doodle.
When Ashley got older, she found a newfound appreciation or her father’s musicianship via videos of his old performances that had been uploaded to YouTube. According to Ashley, she was particularly wowed by videos of her father playing alongside such fellow musical legends as Johnny Cash and Ray Charles. Early in his career, Glen was a session musician that worked on recording with such luminaries as Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and the Beach Boys. Glen can be heard performing guitar on Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night”, Elvis’ “Viva Las Vegas”, and the Beach Boys’ seminal album Pet Sounds. He also performed lead guitar on the Monkees’ “I’m a Believer”.
Watching her husband succumb to Alzheimer’s disease over the last decade of his life was a sad thing indeed for Glen Campbell’s widow. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Glen Campbell’s widow created a museum in her late husband’s honor, and that his daughter followed in his footsteps by becoming a solo artist? Comment down below!