Grammy tribute to Glen Campbell, diagnosed with Alzheimer's, kicks off farewell tour

Monday, 13 February 2012 13:51
campbellglen021312_optBY BOB HOLT

Glen Campbell took his farewell tour on the road in 2011 after receiving his diagnosis of being in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The tour has been to Europe and back to America, and has lasted for six months.

Campbell’s tour took a stop at the Staples Center in Los Angeles to pick up a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2012 Grammys.

His performance at the show had a few mishaps, but no one cared. CBS News says Campbell pokes fun at any of his mistakes, saying, "Always remember this, friends: If you do it perfect, they'll want it that way every time!"

Rolling Stone reported that Campbell appeared at the Grammy Awards Sunday night with The Band Perry, who performed "Gentle on my Mind," and Blake Shelton, who sang a verse of "Southern Nights" before introducing Campbell. Campbell played "Rhinestone Cowboy," bringing the Staples Center crowd to their feet, with Paul McCartney pumping his fist and guitarist and occasional Presidential candidate Joe Walsh dancing in the aisle with his wife, Marjorie, according to Reuters.

Campbell played guitar for Frank Sinatra on "Strangers in the Night"; and on the Monkees hit "I'm a Believer"; and he played on a number of Beach Boys recordings, and even filled in for Brian Wilson for 6 months. His first major solo hit came in 1967 with "By the Time I Get to Phoenix." Rhinestone Cowboy was his first No. 1 record. In 2011, Campbell released his final album, titled “Ghost on the Canvas.”

Campbell uses three teleprompters to help him read his lyrics. He also has his family with him for added comfort. Son Cal is on stage with him playing drums, his brother, Shannon is playing guitar, and younger sister, Ashley plays keyboards, banjo and violin. I just try to make him feel like he is surrounded by people that love him on stage," Ashley told CNN.

The family said they felt they had to reveal that he had Alzheimer's. Ashley said she felt "relieved when the family revealed that Campbell had Alzheimer’s, because people thought something like drugs or alcohol affecting him when he made mistakes.

The Alzheimer's Association calls the decision by Campbell to keep performing unprecedented.