Open Letter to Fans of Glen Campbell
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by Frank Shortt
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Dear Glen Campbell fans,
My heart goes out to you at this time in your lives. As a writer, I felt that I must express this to you even though you may never see it.
As you know, Glen Campbell once mastered a mean guitar. He played behind some of the most popular artists before becoming popular himself. Some of the great artists he played back-up for were: The Beach Boys, Ricky Nelson, The Champs, Frank Sinatra, The Monkees, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, The Righteous Brothers, and The Mamas and the Papas. As he progressed, he began branching out appearing on many T.V. programs as a guest artist. He appeared on Shindig, Hulabaloo, Smothers Brothers, and had his own syndicated show, The Glen Campbell Good Time Hour. He made several movies and in one of the most noted, True Grit, he was chosen by John Wayne to play a young Texas Ranger.
Glen was born in Arkansas, April 22, 1936. His best known hits are: Gentle on My Mind, By the Time I get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy, and Southern Nights. These songs helped erase the line between pop and country. In fact, he was in the pop elite in the late 60s and early 70s. Glen had 21 top 40 hit songs and two of them hit the number one spot. He also had six top 20 albums and 27 country top ten singles. During his lifetime Glen was given five Grammy Awards, three Grammy Hall of Fame honors and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. Then around 2010, tragedy struck as Glen was diagnosed with the dreaded Alzheimer’s Disease!
Besides losing one’s memory, those affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, begin to lose control of their hands. They forget to do little things like chewing food, how to swallow, how to dress themselves, how to take a shower or brush their teeth, incontinence, and a host of other things requiring good motor skills.
Alzheimer’s Disease is no respecter of persons. It creeps up slowly and takes control of one’s mind no matter how hard they may fight it. We may ask, “What goes on in Glen Campbell’s troubled mind?” I am sure if Glen could, he would right the problem. So far there is no known cure for this bad disease. It has often been said that the propagation of Altzheimer’s has been caused by hybrid food, chemicals in food and drink, and of course, those fourteen or more chemicals in cigarette tobacco. Our life styles are also said to play a part.
Wish we could ask Glen, “What happened! When did it start? If you could tell us where it ends, maybe we could find a cure!” They’ve tried music therapy. They’ve tried writing therapy! They’ve tried other things that worked for a little while, but we don’t need a temporary fix as this mind-boggling disease becomes more prevalent each day. Right now, it is up to a merciful God to provide the cure!
All we can say is, “Go forward, Glen, and sing your songs in your own world. If you have feeling at all, you might feel all alone. But, somehow, remember this Glen! You are greatly loved at home!
This has been Glen Campbell’s greatest fight!