There is a rumor that Glen Campbell lobbied hard to use Jefferson City or Creve Coeur in a couple of his biggest hits, but songwriter Jimmy Webb stuck with Phoenix, Wichita and Galveston. Missouri has mourned the lyric “By the time I get to St. Louis” since the ’60s.
Of course, we may be exaggerating a bit, even outright making things up. But it’s hard not to think about how smooth Campbell’s voice was and how at one time his songs touched us all, no matter where we were. We can still listen to his recordings — including one released in 2013 — even if, for the last year or so, his personal appearances have dwindled. His family ended his tour last spring when Campbell could no longer manage it.
Campbell has Alzheimer’s disease. Diagnosed in 2011, he continued to record and to tour. The latter proved to be a great opportunity for him to spend time with members of his family — they were members of in his band. Shortly after the tour ended, he returned to Nashville, where he and his wife Kim live. The couple has been married for 32 years.
At that time, the press reported that Campbell still visited with friends and continued to golf. Kim said that they were trying to live their lives, continuing to socialize and do as much as possible for as long as possible. Kim seemed to understand then that she faced some hard decisions about her husband’s long-term care.
Alzheimer’s has taken its toll on Campbell’s mind, but he remains physically healthy and vigorous at 78. That is just one of the frustrations — and tragedies — of Alzheimer’s: The body lives, but the mind and so many of the qualities that we love about the person vanish.
Kim and at least one of Campbell’s children differ on how best to handle his condition. We’ll explain more in our next post.
Boston Herald, “Campbell’s wife defends his care,” Associated Press, June 20, 2014
Huffington Post, “Glen Campbell Tour Ends Because Of Alzheimer’s Disease; Singer Will Release New Album,” Chris Talbott, April 22, 2013