Most people want to be remembered as more than a number – not just the date they were born or the digits on an official document or even the amount of money they’ve amassed.
In the weeks since the death of Glen Campbell his life has been recalled through the songs he sang, the women he loved and the success he achieved. The well-deserved tributes are adding up, and the loss of a man with Campbell’s talent, humor and humanity multiplies the grief.
His impactful life was far more than calculations, but numbers are important in telling the story of a life lived robustly and a death faced with courage. In honor of that life, CFR News recalls Campbell’s extraordinary life by the numbers.
- The number of years on earth from his birth in Billstown, Arkansas, on April 22, 1936, until his death from complications associated with Alzheimer’s in Nashville, Tennessee, on Aug. 8, 2017.
- His birth order in a family of 12 born to sharecroppers John Wesley and Carrie Dell (Stone) Campbell of whom he was the seventh son.
- His age when he joined a migrant labor crew to pick tomatoes with mostly Mexican laborers.
- The age he began to play the $5 Sears and Roebuck guitar his father bought for him. He began his career while still a teenager as a session musician, performing on recordings by artists in a cross-section of genres such as Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, the Monkees, the Mamas and the Papas, The Righteous Brothers, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean, Frank Sinatra, Ronnie Dove, Phil Spectorand Elvis Presley.
- How old he was when he formed his first band, the Western Wranglers, in 1958.
- Highest chart position for “Turn Around, Look at Me,” his first single for Crest records in 1961. This single released on a regional label, caught the attention of Capitol Records, which signed him and launched his climb up the charts.
- Number of 1963 studio sessions in which Campbell played guitar for The Wrecking Crew, the group of studio musicians who worked with Phil Spector to create his influential Wall of Sound production style. Campbell was inducted in 2007 into the Musicians Hall of Fame for his time on The Wrecking Crew.
- The number of months he was a member of The Beach Boys, filling in for Bryan Wilson in early 1965. He performed and played guitar on several of their hit singles as well as the groundbreaking album “Pet Sounds.”
- The collection of studio and live albums Campbell released between 1962 and 2017 that included dozens of hit singles, many of which bridged the gap between Country and Pop.
- Hits reaching the Top 10 on the charts, including No. 1 hits like “Southern Nights,” “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston” and “I Wanna Live” along with other perennial favorites like “Country Boy (You Got Your Feet In L.A.),” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Try A Little Kindness,” “Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife” and “Everything A Man Could Ever Need.” His first hit song, “Gentle on my Mind,” was named 1967’s Single of the Year by the Academy of Country Music, which also earned Campbell the Album of the Year and Top Male Vocalist honors.
- The year Campbell made history by winning four Grammys in the country and pop categories. For “Gentle on My Mind” he received two awards in country and western, and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” did the same in pop.
- A great year for Campbell during which he was awarded Album of the Year by the Academy of Country Music for his collaborative album, “Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell” and was named ACM’s Top Male Vocalist. The Country Music Association named him the 1968 Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year.
- Years between 1969-1972 that his television variety show the “The Glenn Campbell Goodtime Hour” brought Campbell, Jerry Reed and a host of musical and comedic guests to prime-time television in a much-watched show crafted by writers like Steve Martinand Rob Reiner. Campbell was named TV Personality of the Year in 1968 and again in 1971 by the Academy of Country Music.
- Campbell’s win of the CMA of Great Britain’s Entertainer of the Year award in 1974.
2 million. Records sold of 1975’s “Rhinestone Cowboy,” which topped both the country and Hot 100 charts simultaneously and was the inspiration for the 1984 movie “Rhinestone” starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton. He entitled his 1994 autobiography “Rhinestone Cowboy.” Campbell received three American Music Awards related to the song: the 1976 Pop/Rock Single of the Year and Country Single of the Year and the 1977 Country Album of the Year. The Academy of Country Music recognized “Rhinestone Cowboy” in 1975 with awards for Single of the Year and Song of the Year.
- The year “Southern Nights” was the number one track played on jukeboxes throughout the United States.
- Celebrity romance with fellow country artist Tanya Tucker, 22 years his junior, that produced a number of duet recordings including the single “Dream Lover.” They performed the national anthem together at the 1980 Republican National Convention. The volatile relationship lasted only two years but provided plenty of tabloid gossip.
- The number of years Campbell was host of the Glen Campbell Open on the PGA Tour from 1971 to 1983. A golfer since his 20s, he sometimes wore cleated cowboy boots rather than standard golf shoes. Eight pages in his autobiography are dedicated to golfing.
- For a single year from 1982-1983 “The Glen Campbell Music Show” was a syndicatedU.S. music television series presented by Campbell.
- His list of singles that appeared on either the BillboardCountry Chart, the BillboardHot 100 or the Adult Contemporary Chart or a combination.
- Motion pictures in Campbell’s filmography, which includes 1969’s “True Grit” with John Wayne, 1970’s “Norwood” with Joe Namath and “Any Which Way You Can” with Clint Eastwood in 1980. Campbell sang the theme for “True Grit,” earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Song and a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer for his supporting role. In 1981 the title track for “Any Which Way You Can” broke into the Top 10 on the Country Singles Chart.
- Campbell was the 2008 recipient of the QLegend Award, the UK’s annual music awards run by the music magazine Q.
- Campbell was married four times beginning at age 17, with spouses being Diane Kirk, Billie Jean Nunley, Sarah Barg and Kimberly Woollen, to whom he had been married for 25 years when he died. These marriages produced five sons, Travis, Kane, Dillon, Cal and Shannon, and three daughters, Debby, Kelli and Ashley, many of whom are entertainers themselves. At his death he had at total of 10 grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
- Number of prestigious GMA Dove Awards Campbell won after publicly overcoming alcohol and cocaine addiction while raising three young children with his fourth wife, Kim, who introduced him to Christianity in the early ’80s and helped get him sober. In 1986 he took the award for Album By A Secular Artist for “No More Night.” His 1992 tune, “Where Shadows Never Fall” won Southern Gospel Recorded Song of the Year. His “A Glen Campbell Christmas” was named Country Album of the Year in 2000.
- Number of times Campbell was honored with awards from the Academy of Country Music (ACM) during his lifetime.
2. Campbell received two of the Academy of Country Music’s most prestigious awards, the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award in 1998 and the Career Achievement Award in 2015, joining a very exclusive list of artists to be so honored.
- Campbell’s position on Billboard’s 100 Greatest Country Artists of All Time set in 2016.
- Campbell is included in the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Musician’s Hall of Fame and the Grammy Hall of Fame.
- Number of Grammy Awards including two in 1967, Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Country & Western Recording, for “Gentle On My Mind,” and two more in 1967, Best Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Contemporary Male Solo Vocal Performance for “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.” In 1968 he took the Album of the Year Grammy for By The Time I Get To Phoenix. Three of his singles were entered into the Grammy Hall of Fame, “Wichita Lineman” in 2002, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” in 2004 and “Gentle On My Mind” in 2008. In 2012 he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The Best Country Song award for 2014 went to his single “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.”
- Years he lived after his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s in 2011, during which time he toured nationally, won a Grammy for his final release, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” and garnered an Academy Award nomination.
- Campbell is credited with being the sole writer of one song, Grammy-winning “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” dedicated to his wife, Kim. Of all the songs he brought to life that had flowed from the minds and pens of others, this one summed up his true feelings about what is important in the end.
“I’m still here, but yet I’m gone,” he wrote of his ever-encroaching dementia. “I don’t play guitar or sing my songs. They never defined who I am – the man that loves you ’til the end.”
- The Country Radio Broadcasters Career Achievement Award was presented to Campbell in 2012.
- Lifetime Achievement Award presented in 2014 by Hollywood Music In Media, a fitting recognition considering the number of his own hits or his studio sessions recordings for other artists that have been used in television, movies and commercials.
- Number sold-out shows as he navigated Alzheimer’s during “The Glen Campbell Goodbye Tour,” with his children becoming key members of his band. Filmmaker James Keach crafted an Academy Award nominated documentary, “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me,” based on the tour.
50 million. Number of albums sold across a six-decades long career.
5,429%. Percentage of increase in sales of Campbell’s music in the first week after his death.
Even with a recounting of the numbers, Campbell’s greatest contribution can never be quantified; his ability to make people feel good, feel like his singing was about them, feel they’d be his friend if they met him and feel a personal loss when he was gone.
The sum of his life’s numbers is infinity.
– story by Claudia Johnson, Country Reunion Music © 2022