CMA Awards: Glen Campbell gets a short, respectable tribute

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Glen Campbell, the legendary Arkansas-born singer and guitarist, who rose to prominence in Los Angeles in the 1960s and ‘70s and played on some of the most important recordings ever to come out of this city, announced in June that he’s living with Alzheimer’s disease. Campbell has been performing and just recently appeared in L.A. and the CMA Awards, no doubt, had a challenge in honoring a man who has been paying his farewells to fans and the genre.

By and large, the CMAs delivered.

Its choice of singers offered little quibbling, with Vince Gill, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley taking turns on ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix, ‘Wichita Lineman’ and ‘Galveston.’ The camera kept flashing to Campbell watching in the stands, and he seemed to be holding back a tear. Songwriter/composer Jimmy Webb performed with them, and the songs had their restrained, orchestrated lushness.


Paisley brought Campbell on stage and the artist seemed to mouth, ‘What do I do?’ when he got there. He was given a guitar, of course, and it was a shame that this tribute didn’t offer Campbell a chance to perform. Perhaps Campbell declined the overtures, but he stil has a couple months of tour dates lined up, so there seems to be no real reason why this living treasure wasn’t a part of his own accolades. And there’s no reason it wasn’t another five minutes. Next time, cut Miss Piggy.


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-- Todd Martens