Glen Campbell is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and his upcoming musical release is a poignant goodbye to fans who have followed his career for decades. The 81-year-old country music icon will release his final studio album, Adios, next month. The album will include some of Campbell’s favorite songs, but the closing track, also titled “Adios,” has long been especially special to the six-time Grammy winner. “Adios” was a top 10 hit for Linda Ronstadt in 1990, and Glen was a big fan of the song.
“Glen and I used to play that song all the time,” Campbell’s longtime songwriter Jimmy Webb told Rolling Stone of the final Adios track. “We played it in dressing rooms, hotels, we played it over at his house, we played it at my house. He always loved that song.”
Campbell has lost the ability to speak and play guitar due to Alzheimer’s, but Adios was recorded shortly after his 2011-2012 “Goodbye Tour.” The singer’s final tour was also chronicled in the Oscar-nominated documentary Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me.
Songwriter/ producer Carl Jackson, a longtime friend of the ailing superstar, explained how the Adios sessions played out.
“Glen and I have been close such a long, long time,” Jackson told Rolling Stone.
“I stood right beside him on every line, printed out the lyrics in big print. Sometimes we had to do a line at a time because with Alzheimer’s, his memory of the lyrics, as we saw in the tour he had to use teleprompters, that went away pretty quick. But his melodies did not go away for a long time after his ability to remember actual songs. He would even remember what keys he did them in. I can’t explain it.”
Glen Campbell’s final album will also include the Webb-penned songs “Postcard From Paris,” “It Won’t Bring Her Back,” and “Just Like Always,” as well as a duet with Willie Nelson. Webb called the album “a gift from the gods.”
Glen Campbell’s career has been well documented, so it’s no surprise that he planned a poignant parting gift for fans.
Glen first rose to fame in the 1960s as a touring member of the Beach Boys and was handpicked by John Wayne to star in the 1969 movie True Grit, which earned him a Golden Globe nod. In the 1970s, Glen topped the charts with radio-friendly hits like “Rhinestone Cowboy,” and Glen also starred in a popular self-titled CBS variety show.
— Chuck Halley (@Hitmanhalley) April 23, 2017
Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, but on the heels of his diagnosis, the singer won the Grammy for best country song for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” the final song he wrote and recorded with longtime collaborator Julian Raymond.
Last year, Campbell’s wife, Kim Woolen, faced backlash from fans and Glen’s daughter Debby after it was revealed that she moved the music icon into a full-time Alzheimer’s care facility.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Woolen said Glen’s doctor advised her in that he was in need of 24-hour access to medical care.
Campbell’s wife called the facility, which is near the couple’s Nashville home, “a very nurturing place,” and says she spends time with her husband there every day and that he is being cared for “’round the clock by people who specialize in Alzheimer’s care and happen to adore him.”
“I sit with him through his meals we hug each other and cuddle,” Glen’s wife told People. “I savor every day.”
Glen Campbell’s final album, Adios, will be released on June 9. You can listen to the heartbreaking closing track below.
[Featured Image by Ed Rode/Getty Images]