I hear you singin' in the wire,
I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita lineman is still on the line.
“Wichita Lineman”- Glen Campbell
Another country legend is gone. Glen Campbell passed away today.
In 2011 I was assigned to photograph the country legend when he announced that he had Alzheimer’s disease. I remember as I drove to Malibu not being sure how far the disease had progressed and wondering how the photo shoot would go.
Upon arriving, I observed a photographer working for USA Today taking photographs of Campbell in the garden. I had heard that Campbell’s P.R. representative was only giving the photographer a few minutes for the shoot. I expected the same.
Campbell’s seasoned press agent and I had a long discussion about Campbell’s career, and I shared my knowledge of the singer with him and my concern about the singer’s medical condition. At the end of our conversation he said, “You can have as much time as you need.”
When I met Campbell, he stretched out his hand and said, “What a pleasure it is to meet you.” And off we went into conversation about his music. He did a few outfit changes for me that afternoon and I was able to also get a few images of Campbell and his wife. I made some really sweet frames that captured their love for each other. It was as if I just dropped in as they were hanging out.
When making one of my last images of Campbell in his small studio, I asked him what his favorite song was, out of his whole career. “It’s still ‘Wichita Lineman,’ ” he said. He then picked up his guitar and started singing the song for an audience of one.
After packing up my lights, Campbell volunteered to help me carry my equipment back to the car. We shook hands for one last time and his farewell consisted of four words: “God bless you, Genaro.”
“God bless your voice, Glen Campbell,” I replied.
He smiled and we held on to that moment for a few seconds. Then he turned and we went our separate ways.
Long may your music live on the line.
Glen Campbell at home in Malibu on July 27, 2011.
Campbell with his wife, Kim.
Campbell performs a song at his home in Malibu.