Selling more records than the Beatles to starring with John Wayne to being a household name for nearly 50 years, the world said good bye to an icon in Americana with the passing of this great legend.
Glen Campbell, the indelible voice behind 21 Top 40 hits including “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” died Tuesday. He was 81. A rep for Universal Music Group, Campbell’s record label, confirmed the singer’s death to Rolling Stone. During a career that spanned six decades, Campbell sold over 45 million records. In 1968, one of his biggest years, he outsold the Beatles.
“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 singer’s family said in a statement.
“Some people have said that I can ‘hear’ a hit song, meaning that I can tell the first time a song is played for me if it has potential,” he once said. “I have been able to hear some of the hits that way, but I can also ‘feel’ one.”
Campbell was born in 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas, the seventh son in a sharecropping family of 12 kids. “We used to watch TV by candlelight,” Campbell told Rolling Stone in 2014.