I had a feeling to feature Glen Campbell this week, and went out to YouTube and picked up a couple of videos, then went to his website to research him. I was surprised to see that he finished his Farewell Tour and released his last studio album, Ghost on the Canvas. I had forgotten that he announced last year that he was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Chances are good that you know someone, either a relative, a friend, or the relative of a friend, who has this terrible disease, or have a friend that is the caretaker for someone who does. The Alzheimer’s Association has some figures: 5.4 million Americans are living with it; one in eight senior citizens in the US have it; 15 million Americans are providing unpaid care worth an estimated $210 billion; payments for care are estimated to be $200 billion this year alone. It’s the sixth leading cause of death in this country. I don’t have figures for the rest of the world, but I can only guess that the problem is just as severe. There are drugs that can help a person live with the disease with some lucidity, but ultimately the disease destroys the brain. My brother’s father-in-law died from it a couple of years ago, and it really took its toll on the family. We can only pray and hope and donate to the organizations that are seeking a cure. If you know someone who has it, my prayers and thoughts are with you.
The first song here is one of his early hits, and one of my favorite songs, “Wichita Lineman.” Written by Jimmy Webb, it was recorded by Glen in 1968, and appeared on the album of the same name. It reached #3 on the pop charts and remained in the Top 100 for fifteen weeks. The BBC called it “one of those rare songs that seems somehow to exist in a world of its own – not just timeless but ultimately outside of modern music.” Rolling Stone ranked it at #192 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This performance was taken from “The Smothers Brothers Show”; Glen soon had a show of his own on Sunday nights. As someone learning to play the guitar at the time, it was practically required viewing. The second song, “A Better Place,” is from Ghost on the Canvas. I dare you to get through it without tears.
God bless and keep Glen Campbell, your Two for Tuesday for September 25, 2012.