Among the few hundred people who collected Grammy Awards on Sunday, there may be no more poignant story than the honor that went to veteran singer and songwriter Glen Campbell.
In awarding the Grammy for best country song to "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," Recording Academy voters recognized the final song Campbell wrote and recorded with collaborator Julian Raymond.The song that details Campbell's determination not to give up despite the toll that Alzheimer's disease is taking on his mind, body and ability to connect with family members and friends.
FOR THE RECORD
An earlier version of this post stated that Campbell's "Goodbye Tour" encompassed 152 shows and took place in 2012-2013. It included 151 shows during 2011 and 2012. The story also said he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease in 2012. That diagnosis came in 2011, and his final recording session for the song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" occurred in 2012, not 2013.
"It's such a tough category — country song — so I didn't want to get my hopes up," said Campbell's wife, Kim, who attended the pre-telecast portion of the awards ceremony, where winners in 73 of the total 83 categories were revealed. "When they announced his name, I was so thrilled he was being honored in that way," she said.
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She was accompanied by Raymond, actor-filmmaker James Keach (who made the documentary "Glen Campbell … I'll Be Me" documenting his "Goodbye Tour" in 2012-13) and three of her children with Campbell: Ashley, Shannon and Cal, all of whom were members of the band that backed their father on that tour.
Campbell is now late in the sixth stage of Alzheimer's, which progresses through seven stages, and Kim said Glen has lost the ability to speak, but said, "He still understands the universal language of smiles and laughter and joy."
She's on her way back to Nashville, where she will present him with the Grammy statuette. "We told him, 'You're nominated for a Grammy Award, you're nominated for an Oscar!' but he doesn't understand what we're saying. Hopefully when we get back and I put the Grammy in his hands, he'll understand, and hopefully he can appreciate the honor that's been bestowed on him."
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" also is among the Academy Award nominees for original song, in a category with songs from "The Lego Movie," "Beyond the Lights" "Begin Again" and "Selma." Campbell's song will be performed during the Feb. 22 Oscar telecast by country star Tim McGraw.
The soundtrack to the documentary is being released Tuesday by Nashville's Big Machine Records, the label that is also home to Taylor Swift and McGraw.
Calendar will have more on Campbell and his journey with Alzheimer's in the days ahead.