A. Glen Travis Campbell (April 22, 1936 – August 8, 2017) was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host, and actor. He was best known for a series of hit songs in the 1960s and 1970s, and for hosting a music and comedy variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television, from January 1969 until June 1972. He released over 70 albums in a career that spanned five decades, selling over 45 million records worldwide, including twelve gold albums, four platinum albums, and one double-platinum album.
Campbell started playing guitar at age four after his uncle Boo gave him a Sears-bought five-dollar guitar as a gift, with his uncle teaching him the basics of how to play. Most of his family was musical, he said. “Back home, everybody plays and sings.” By the time he was six he was performing on local radio stations.
In 1960, Campbell moved to Los Angeles to become a session musician where he joined the Champs. By January 1961, Campbell had found a daytime job at publishing company American Music, writing songs and recording demos. Because of these demos Campbell soon was in demand as a session musician and became part of a group of studio musicians later known as the Wrecking Crew.
Campbell played on recordings by the Beach Boys, Claude King, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean, Frank Sinatra, Ronnie Dove, Phil Spector and Elvis Presley. He befriended Presley when he helped record the soundtrack for Viva Las Vegas in 1964. He later said, “Elvis and I were brought up the same humble way – picking cotton and looking at the north end of a south-bound mule.”
In 1962, Campbell signed with Capitol Records as a solo artist. By 1963 his playing and singing were heard on 586 recorded songs. He never learned to read music, but besides guitar, he could play the banjo, mandolin and bass.