Glen Campbell’s family is being upfront about the singer’s late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Although Campbell has a newly released farewell album out, titled Adios, his wife, Kim, told the Boot that the country music legend’s disease has progressed to the point where he no longer communicates with language at all and cannot comprehend what is going on in his career.
Glen Campbell has no idea he recently dropped his 64th and final album. Even more heartbreaking, Campbell no longer recognizes the many awards he has received for his work over his five-decade career. While Campbell’s wife said the singer had a great time during the recording sessions for Adios, he doesn’t comprehend what the finished product is.
Adios includes songs Campbell had long known and memorized, but never recorded and released until now, and it was recorded before he lost all of his higher functions to Alzheimer’s.
The album includes beloved songs by Bob Dylan, Roger Miller, and Willie Nelson. Kim Campbell said songs like “A Thing Called Love” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” were “the soundtrack” to the family’s home life and Glen sang them often. As Alzheimer’s set in, the family continued to nurture the country superstar’s love of music and turned to the songs he would remember best.
“The doctors told us that keeping him engaged musically is the best and healthiest thing for him,” Kim Campbell told the Boot.
Now that the album is out, Kim says she knows Glen would be pleased with the final result. But when the family plays Adios for him, he doesn’t understand that it’s his new album.
“We don’t want to sugarcoat it,” Campbell’s daughter, Ashley, told the country music website.
“He has no idea that he has an album out. He had no idea when he won a Grammy.”
Kim Campbell revealed that when she handed Glen his most recent Grammy Award (he won the Grammy for Best Country Song in 2015 for “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”), he “had no idea what it was.” Ashley added that her father “can’t process it.”
Kim Campbell reiterated that Glen’s memory was quickly declining during the sessions for Adios. While they were hoping for Glen to record a cover of the Garth Brooks song, “Against the Grain,” the song wasn’t in Glen’s memory bank so he was unable to learn it.
“The songs on this record had to be songs that he had known forever — he really couldn’t learn any new material,” Kim Campbell explained.
Glen Campbell publicly revealed his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2011. His wife told People that when his musical skills began to decline, Glen knew what he had to do.
“A feeling of urgency grew to get him into the studio one last time to capture what magic was left. It was now or never,” she said.
While Glen Campbell’s career in music is now over, the family is considering developing a faith-centered biopic about his life.
You can hear the title track to Glen Campbell’s Adios below.
[Featured Image by Kris Connor/Getty Images]