Beloved American singer Glen Campbell, whose perfect blend of country and pop on such hits as "Gentle on My Mind," "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Wichita Lineman" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" made him one of the most popular musicians of the late '60s and beyond, died on Aug. 8 at a private care facility near Nashville after losing his public battle with Alzheimer's disease for several years. He was 81. Born Glen Travis Campbell on April 22, 1936, in Delight, Ark., to poverty-stricken parents Wesley and Carrie Dell, who picked cotton on a farm, Campbell was the seventh son, one of 12 siblings. He moved to Los Angeles in the late 1950s, where he began to write songs and record demos, and he became a sought-after session guitarist, playing for Elvis Presley, Merle Haggard, The Beach Boys (he played guitar on the Pet Sounds album and toured with the band for several months following the breakdown of Brian Wilson), Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and The Monkees, to name a few. He became part of Phil Spector's The Wrecking Crew, the famed session band that played on many of the world's biggest hits at L.A.'s Gold Star Studios, creating the producer's legendary "Wall of Sound." In 1962, Campbell was signed to Capitol Records after releasing the single "Turn Around, Look at Me" on Crest Records a year earlier. His career had only minor success until he partnered with producer Al De Lory and songwriters Jimmy Webb and John Hartford. Campbell's distinctive fingerpicking style and indelible guitar riffs were the perfect foundation that allowed his warm, personable vocals to shine, and the title track to his Burning Bridges album became a No. 18 hit on the Country chart. His cover of Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind" became a top 40 hit on both the Country and Pop charts that year. His biggest accomplishments came when he partnered with Jimmy Webb in the late 60s -- interpreting and singing his songs with a striking intimacy that made them his own. On certain songs, the magic is undeniable: "'Wichita Lineman' and 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix'... it's almost as though the song was waiting for the singer and the singer was waiting for the song," Webb once said. On The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour -- which began as a summer replacement for The Smothers Brothers Show -- the clean-cut Campbell engaged in comedy skits when he wasn't performing and featured many of his friends as musical guests, including Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Neil Diamond, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Linda Ronstadt. Campbell hosted his Goodtime Hour from 1969-1972, and in 1969 he starred as young Texas Ranger La Boeuf in True Grit after being handpicked by John Wayne to star opposite him in his lone Oscar-winning role. He also sang the Oscar-nominated title track. A year later, he starred as the title character in the film comedy Norwood, playing opposite NFL quarterback Joe Namath as Vietnam veterans returning home to Texas. Campbell played himself in Clint Eastwood's 1980 romp Any Which Way You Can, and also did guest stints on such TV series as The F.B.I. and, three decades later, Players -- which also was about FBI agents and was his last acting credit. In 1975, Campbell's rendition of Larry Weiss' "Rhinestone Cowboy" made it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart, as did his cover of Allen Toussant's "Southern Nights," two years later. Campbell released more than 60 studio albums -- selling 45 million and accumulating 12 gold, four platinum and one double-platinum album -- during his half-century in show business. He collected six Grammy Awards and 20 Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year in 1968 for By the Time I Get to Phoenix, and was the recipient of the organization's Lifetime Achievement honor in 2012. Campbell saw something of a career resurgence in 2008 with the release of Meet Glen Campbell, a cheekily titled covers album -- a la Johnny Cash's American Recordings discs -- featuring songs by the likes of U2, the Velvet Underground, Tom Petty and Green Day. He did a brief club tour to promote it that included a well-received stop at the Troubadour in West Hollywood. Campbell also played host to the Los Angeles Open, the PGA Tours stop at Riviera Country Club, from 1971-83, and in 1994 he opened the 2,200-seat Glen Campbell Goodtime Theatre in Branson, Missouri. Campbell was married four times, the last to Kim Woollen, a Radio City Rockette whom he wed in 1982 when he was 46 and she was 24. She survives him. His earlier marriages included one to singer Mac Davis' second wife, Sarah Barg. He also dated fellow country star Tanya Tucker before meeting Kim, which became tabloid fodder as the two feuded and Campbell battled alcohol and drug addiction, which he later overcame. Campbell had five sons and three daughters. His youngest children Cal, Shannon and Ashley joined him as his backup band on his last series of concerts, dubbed The Goodbye Tour, which launched in Los Angeles in late 2011. Earlier that same year, Campbell announced he was struggling with Alzheimer's disease and was moved to a private care facility for Alzheimers and dementia patients near Nashville in April 2014, where he passed away with his family at his side. His personal struggle with the disease was chronicled in the documentary I'll Be Me, directed by his friend James Keach, which premiered at the 2014 Nashville Film Festival and followed the singer on his farewell tour in the U.S., Australia and Europe as he dealt with his illness. Campbell released the "farewell" albums Ghost on the Canvas in 2012 and See You There in 2013, the latter featuring stripped-down versions of such hits as "Rhinestone Cowboy." Earlier in 2017, he released his final album, Adiós, which was recorded in 2012. "It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease," the family said in a statement, adding "In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at Bright Focus Foundation through the CareLiving.org donation page. A personal statement from Kim Campbell will follow. The family appreciates your prayers and respect for their privacy at this time." - Billboard/Deadline.com, 8/9/17.
Brad Serling, the curator of Bruce Springsteen's official live archive, has announced the archive will soon add 25 new recordings for fans to download, beginning with a composite from two shows on his little-heard 1977 tour. On Aug. 4, the archive released the 1977 recordings, which were made by Springsteen's mid-'70s sound engineer Chas Gerber from shows in Rochester and Albany, N.Y. The recordings are in mono, and comprise about two hours and 45 minutes of music all together. According to the Springsteen fansite Backstreets.com, they are the first '77 Springsteen recordings made directly from the soundboard that have ever been made available to fans, either as a bootleg or an official release. The remaining 24 recordings will be released to the archive on the first Friday of each upcoming month. - Spin.com, 8/4/17...... On one drug-fueled night in August 1976, Neil Young recorded a solo acoustic album called Hitchhiker in a single session at Malibu's Indigo Ranch Studios. Although Hitchhiker's title track appeared in a drastically different form on Young's 2010 album Le Noise and most of the other 10 tracks eventually saw the light of day in some form, the original Hitchhiker album was never released because Young was unsatisfied with his performances -- until now. Reprise Records announced on Aug. 4 that Hitchhiker will be released on Sept. 8, and released Hitchhiker's original title track the same day. Along with Homegrown and Chrome Dreams, Hitchhiker is one of Young's so-called "lost albums" he made during an ultra-productive period in the '70s and decided against releasing. In his 2014 memoir Special Deluxe, Young recalled the night when he recorded Hitchhiker with his producer David Briggs and his friend, actor Dean Stockwell also present: "Dean Stockwell, my friend and a great actor who I later worked on Human Highway as a co-director, was with us that night, sitting in the room with me as I laid down all the songs in a row, pausing only for weed, beer, or coke. Briggs was in the control room, mixing live on his favorite console." The album includes familiar gems from albums like "Rust Never Sleeps" and "American Stars 'n Bars" as well as two songs that were never released in any form, "Hawaii," and "Give Me Strength." - Spin.com, 8/4/17...... Gene Simmons of Kiss has weighed in on the decision by Justin Bieber to cancel his World Purpose Tour with 14 dates to go because he has "rededicated his life to Christ." Although Bieber posted a lengthy statement on Instagram explaining the move and telling fans he had done it in order to stay "sustainable," Simmons says he isn't convinced by the explanation. Asked by TMZ.com what he thought about the tour cancellation, Simmons said Bieber needs to "get a life." "You don't have to worry about anything," Simmons said. "You're rich. In case you didn't notice, you're white. You've got white privilege b----... You have nothing to complain about." - WENN.com, 8/4/17...... In an interview with CNN on Aug. 3, Roger Waters addressed the negative reaction to his current Us + Them Tour, which exhibits an overt anti-Pres. Donald Trump sentiment that has caused several people to walk out of the show, especially in largely conservative "red" states. "I find it slightly surprising that anybody could have been listening to my songs for 50 years without understanding," Waters said. When asked what he'd say to fans who wanted escapism and not politics from their concerts, he replied, "Go see Katy Perry or watch the Kardashians. I don't care." - Stereogum.com, 8/3/17...... Sony Pictures and other principals behind the current critical and commercial hit movie Baby Driver are being sued by Roland Feld, the son of late T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan, for failing to clear the use of the T. Rex song "Debora" in the movie. In Feld's complaint, he charges that Sony, along with Media Rights Capital, Bambino Films, and others, "failed to obtain -- or even seek -- the permission of the composition's U.S. copyright holder Rolan Feld," and that in the six weeks since Feld brought the infringement to Sony's attention, "Defendants have done little more than point fingers at one another -- and they have neither apologized nor offered to pay Feld a reasonable license fee." Feld is seeking "disgorgement of profits and punitive damages," and demanding" an order that Sony be permanently enjoined from engaging in improper exploitation." In 2014, Feld brought another lawsuit to reclaim the song rights of his father, who died in a 1977 car accident when Feld was still an infant. Feld won that lawsuit, which gave him the rights to 144 works by Marc Bolan. - The Hollywood Reporter, 8/3/17...... In July, Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters revealed to BBC Radio 1 that the new Foo Fighters album which is due in September will feature "the biggest pop star in the world," and after later carifying to Rolling Stone magazine that it "isn't Adele or Taylor Swift, Grohl told ET Canada on Aug. 2 that the star is indeed his old pal -- Paul McCartney. "[Paul] hadn't even heard of the song," Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins added. "He comes in and Dave picked up an acoustic and showed him real quick. He sat on his special drum set that his tech set up for him. I sat there with a drumstick conducting. He did two takes." The new Foo Fighters album, Concrete and Gold, drops Sept. 15. - Spin.com, 8/2/17...... After performing in Fleetwood Mac proper in recent weeks at the Classic West and Classic East festivals, band members Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie brought their summer tour behind their new self-titled joint album to The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Aug. 2. Buckingham and McVie's 19-song show features 8 songs from their new LP, including "Too Far Gone," "Lay Down for Free," "Sleeping Around the Corner" and the sparkling "Love Is Here to Stay," which hold their own against the formidable Fleetwood Mac material. The pair also treated fans to a shimmering version of the Mac's "Hold Me," which the band has not played in concert since its Mirage tour 35 years ago. - Billboard, 8/3/17...... Donald Fagen of Steely Dan says that his longtime music partner Walter Becker is "recovering from a procedure and hopefully he'll be fine very soon," but did not elaborate on Becker's surgery or prognosis. Becker missed both of Steely Dan's performances during the recent Classic West and Classic East concerts in Los Angeles and New York, and Fagen admitted the shows, which also featured such classic rock acts as the Eagles and the Doobie Brothers, were a bit odd, and not only because of the absence of his musical partner. "They were fun," Fagen says. "I think it's been a long time since we opened for another band, and that was stranger than I thought it would be because I realized that a lot of the audience, probably a majority fo the audience, was there to see the Eagles, and although we have certain things in common I don't think it's a perfect fit. I'm used to the audience being mainly interested in Steely Dan, so that was a little different. But they were good." Fagen and his new band the Nightflyers -- named after his 1982 solo album The Nightfly -- will kicked off a summer tour with two nights on Aug. 3 and 4 in Port Chester, N.Y., wrapping up the 26-date run Sept. 23-24 at the Yokohama Blue Note Jazz Fest in Japan. Fagen says he's particularly looking forward to giving an airing to songs from his four solo albums, which have taken a back seat since Steely Dan reactivated and began touring extensively in 1993. Fagen added he's also begun writing material with his Nightflyers guitarist Connor Kennedy, which may surface as part of his fifth solo album. "I'd love to go into the studio with these guys," he said. "I've got some new material. We haven't had a chance to work up too many things but on the road I'm hoping to show the guys some of the new stuff I've been writing, and it'll be fun developing that with a band 'cause generally speaking in recent years the way I work is usually alone and doing arrangements by myself, or with Walter. It'll be fun actually having a band to try this stuff out on. I don't think I've done that since the early '70s, probably." - Billboard, 8/2/17...... Founding Queen member Freddie Mercury is among the 100,000 AIDS victims who are memorialized in a 54-ton AIDS memorial quilt, an enormous community art project launched in 1987 to stitch together the story of people who have died from AIDS, to educate the public about the epidemic and to raise funds for prevention, and research efforts to find a cure. The quilt spans more than 30 football fields, making it impossible to move as one unit, so The NAMES AIDS Project unstitches individual sections in order to put parts of the quilt on display at museums, government buildings, churches and schools across the United States. The quilt features other singers and musicians aside from Mercury, who notably has 29 fan-submitted panels dedicated to him. Disco legend Sylvester, rapper Eazy-E from N.W.A., and guitarist Ricky Wilson from the B-52's are also represented on the quilt. Because of the NAMES organization's efforts, the quilt has been nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, declared an American Treasure by Congress in 2005 and inspired books, songs and even a musical called "Quilt, A Musical Celebration." - Billboard, 8/2/17...... Actor Tom Wopat, best known as portraying Luke Duke on the 1979-1985 CBS show The Dukes of Hazzard, pleaded not guilty on Aug. 3 to groping a female member of the cast of a musical he was supposed to appear in. Wopat, 65, was released on $1,000 bail and was told to stay away from the woman after pleading not guilty to indecent assault and battery and possession of cocaine charges. He refused to comment outside court before driving away from the courthouse. He was arrested by Waltham police on the evening of Aug. 2 on a warrant on the indecent assault charge. Police said that during a search of Wopat and his vehicle they found "two bags of white powder believed to be cocaine." Wopat denied touching anyone inappropriately, according to court documents, and said he flirts but did "nothing that could be considered inappropriate." The Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston, where a presentation of "42nd Street" is being staged, issued a statement saying a different actor would play the role of Julian Marsh. Wopat, who is also a Tony Award-nominated stage actor and is a recording artist, said he had played the role of Marsh about 500 times. - AP, 8/4/17...... Keyboardist Goldy McJohn, whose roaring organ solos and big hair helped Steppenwolf become a classic rock staple in the late '60s and early '70s, died on Aug. 1 of a heart attack, according to a post on his official Facebook page. He was 72. McJohn's given name was John Goadsby, but he picked up the nickname "Goldy" in the late 60s and decided to stick with it. He added Mc to his surname to honor his late mother (whose maiden name was McIntyre). McJohn and Toronto-raised lead singer John Kay were among the founding members of Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf had been considered for induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier in 2017, but was ultimately not selected. The band continues to tour -- now under the name John Kay & Steppenwolf -- with a mix of original and new members. McJohn's wife Sonja said her husband "died at home, that's all I can say," adding they had been together for 30 years. A funeral service has been scheduled for Aug. 11 in Seattle. - 8/5/17...... Australian songwriter Geoff Mack, best known for writing "I've Been Everywhere," died July 21 in Australia at age 94. Mr. Mack wrote "I've Been Everywhere" in 1959. With the Australian town names replaced by American ones, Country star Hank Snow brought the song to No. 1 on the Country charts in 1962. According to Taste of Country, the song has been recorded more than 130 times since then, most famously by Johnny Cash and Lynn Anderson. Mr. Mack was inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in Nashville in 1963. - 8/4/17...... Actor Ty Hardin, who appeared in the TV western Bronco, has died at the age of 87. Bronco was one of four successful TV westerns produced by Warner Bros., which also included Cheyenne and Maverick, with the stars of each crossing over occasionally to each other's shows. Mr. Hardin also starred in the 1969 series Riptide, a one-seasoner about a guy who operated a charter boat and solved mysteries on the side. - 8/4/17.