Glen Campbell making brave challenge
In the past, public figures who announced a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s fairly quickly moved out of the spotlight and into a private life with less publicity.
There may have been brief appearances for a few months, but generally we never knew what happened to them other than occasional updates from the media; President Regan, Charlton Heston, Sargent Shriver, Estelle Getty, Barry Goldwater, Rita Hayworth, Jack Lord and Norman Rockwell, to name only a few.
Last June we learned that an all-time favorite Country Entertainer, Glen Campbell, had received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. The 75 year old Glen Campbell announced this news in an interview with People Magazine.
I expected him to slide slowly from public view like so many others, while an onslaught of his previous CD’s exploded onto the market. I can certainly think of more than a few that I’d like to add to my own collection.
But that didn’t happen for Glen Campbell. Instead, he announced a “Farewell Tour” that would see him continuing his normal life in the eye of the public. Playing and singing Country Music for our pleasure. He is making a brave challenge to his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s currently has no cure, afflicts 5 million Americans and will only strike more as baby boomers age. For Glen Campbell to stand up and vow a future regardless of Alzheimer’s is astonishing. I applaud Glen Campbell and hope he’s still on that farewell tour many years from now.
What actually brought me to write about Glen’s plan to challenge Alzheimer’s was my sister-in-law who told me she planned to attend his Farewell Concert. Then when I heard her rave review, I knew I had to write about it.
Part of Glen Campbell’s idea was to give a face to Alzheimer’s as Michael J. Fox has given to Parkinsons. But the symptoms of Alzheimer’s can sometimes be seen as personal shortcomings rather than the face of a disease. So I worried about the audience response to his symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
An editorial from the Los Angeles Times states: “Earlier this month — before he made his condition known — a sold-out concert he gave in Indiana was panned by a critic who called the singer “unprepared at best and disoriented at worst.” Interestingly, some fans wrote in to the paper defending him. Of course, future concertgoers will know the back story. But it may be a taste of what’s to come. And instead of just being saddened, fans should walk away determined to press for more research and funding into this horrendous disease that affects so many.
So I was anxious to hear from my sister-in-law and learn what she thought of Glen Campbell’s concert. It was such a great idea, I was truly hopeful that everything went well for him.
And that’s exactly what I heard from my sister-in-law. No newbie to Country Music concerts herself, she declared this one as surely the best she’d seen. The Legend, Glen Campbell, was a hit regardless of Alzheimer’s!
With his three children playing and singing alongside him, it was truly a love fest for all. He did perfect renditions of new songs plus all the oldies we love; “Gentle On My Mind, Galveston, By The Time I Get To Phoenix, It’s Only Make Believe, True Grit, I Can’t Stop Lovin’ You, Witchita Lineman, Try A Little Kindness, Where’s The Playground, Susie?, The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress, Dueling Banjos…” and more.
His guitar playing is still amazing, she said, and any lapse of memory was slight to unoticeable. “Just the best!” He had the crowd, laughing, clapping and singing along.
He’ll be in my area this month and I’m already excited to see this concert!
A few of our all-time Favorites from Glen Campbell