Campbell was born in Delight, Arkansas, and by the age of six was playing guitar in his uncle’s Western group. In 1960 Glen and his wife moved to California, where he played in a number of rock groups and became a sought-after session guitarist, working with Elvis Presley, Rick Nelson and many others.
In 1961 he scored his first solo success as a singer on the Country & Western charts with Turn Around Look At Me, but it was not until 1967 and Gentle On My Mind that Glen became a big name.
Turning down the job of replacing Brian Wilson in The Beach Boys (with whom he did record and tour), he went on to have hits with By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, Galveston and a revival of All I Have To Do Is Dream with Bobbie Gentry.
His own television show and a co-starring role with John Wayne in True Grit (1969) followed.
By 1969, though, Campbell was caught in a sucking vacuum of easy listening. Ironically, he was also flirting with multiple addictions (booze, prescription drugs and cocaine) and only 1974’s Reunion was ever to feed his more discerning fans again.
His exhilarating take on the Larry Weiss song Rhinestone Cowboy became his first US #1 single on 6 September 1975. It would turn Campbell into a bona fide country superstar and provide him with his signature song and a career second wind.
Somehow, Campbell has always managed to be simultaneously hip and easy listening, country and pop, singing about being a hard-loving rambling man despite his saccharine image and crisper-than-starch side-parting.