It's official: Springsteen on Broadway begins in October

Chris Jordan, Asbury Park (N.J.) Press
Published 11:19 a.m. ET Aug. 9, 2017 | Updated 11:29 a.m. ET Aug. 9, 2017

It’s showtime.

Bruce Springsteen will make his Broadway debut in “Springsteen on Broadway,” which begins Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the Walter Kerr Theatre with an official opening Thursday, Oct. 12, according to a news release from the theater. There will be five shows a week through Nov. 26.

Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. on Aug. 30, through Ticketmaster Verified Fan. Registration begins Wednesday and runs through Sunday, Aug. 27. Visit for more information on the process.

It’s going to be a solo performance with spoken interludes. 

“I wanted to do some shows that were as personal and as intimate as possible. I chose Broadway for this project because it has the beautiful old theaters which seemed like the right setting for what I have in mind,” said Springsteen in a statement. “In fact, with one or two exceptions, the 960 seats of the Walter Kerr Theatre is probably the smallest venue I’ve played in the last 40 years. My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music. Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work. All of it together is in pursuit of my constant goal to provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value.”

Heather Wolensky is the scenic designer, Natasha Katz is the lighting designer and Brian Ronan is the sound designer.

“Bruce Springsteen is one of our greatest musical storytellers, and Broadway is built on a beloved tradition of musical storytelling,” said Jordan Roth, president of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns the Walter Kerr, in a statement. “What a once-in-a lifetime thrill for all of us at Jujamcyn to welcome Bruce home to his rightful place in the Broadway legacy.”

Follow Chris Jordan on Twitter: @ChrisFHJordan


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'America's Got Talent': Johnny Manuel sings acapella to win Seal's golden buzzer

America’s Got Talent contestant Johnny Manuel won the golden buzzer Tuesday, but not without receiving a little criticism.

While the crowd cheered for Manuel’s performance of Stevie Wonder’s Lately, judge Simon Cowell wasn’t quite convinced. He told Manuel he “missed the point” with the song, even adding that he found it “annoying.” 

“I like, Johnny, when you do something we don’t expect, whereas I’ve heard a lot of people sing Stevie Wonder like that,” Cowell said. 

This 9-year-old ‘AGT’ contestant won the golden buzzer from Laverne Cox 

He asked Manuel to instead sing 30 seconds of his first audition songI Have Nothing by Whitney Houston, and Manuel once again delivered. 

Guest judge Seal gave him a standing ovation. 

“You hit notes that I could only dream of,” Seal said. “Simon said to you, give me something acapella, and you didn’t flinch, you just gave an incredible rendition.” 

And that rendition won him Seal’s golden buzzer. 

‘AGT’ honors contestant who died in car crash 

Watch the whole audition below: 



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‘Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812’ to close in Sept.

“Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812” has announced it will close its doors next month, barely a week after controversy erupted over the show’s casting decisions.

The Tony Award-winning musical, which officially opened in November, will close on Sept. 3 for the final time after 32 preview shows and 336 regular performances.

The news comes after an announcement that Okieriete (Oak) Onaodowan, who was slated to play the lead male role through Sept. 4, would instead be replaced by Mandy Patinkin on Aug. 15.

The move was met with backlash by critics, who alleged that the change was racially motivated.

‘Great Comet’ star Okieriete Onaodowan replaced by Mandy Patinkin

Patinkin withdrew from the show shortly after.

“My understanding of the show’s request that I step into the show is not as it has been portrayed and I would never accept a role knowing it would harm another actor. I have heard what members of the community have said and I agree with them. I am a huge fan of Oak and I will, therefore, not be appearing in the show,” he said in a statement.

“Great Comet” producer Howard Kagan also apologized for the decision.

“We had the wrong impression of how Oak felt about the casting announcement and how it would be received by members of the theater community, which we appreciate is deeply invested in the success of actors of color — as we are,” he said in a statement.

Mandy Patinkin exits ‘Great Comet’ after diversity backlash

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The show was met with controversy after replacing Okieriete (Oak) Onaodowan with Mandy Patinkin (pictured), who backed out after the backlash.

(Charles Sykes/Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

Onaodowan, who will wrap up his stay on Aug. 13., thanked fans on Instagram and urged them to see the show.

“I always try to speak from my heart with love after listening. I have listened. I’m more than grateful for all the love and support the community and fans have shown me. It makes what we do and deal with as artists easier when you know many people do indeed have your back and that you are valued for your work,” he wrote.

“In spite of everything, I am grateful to have had the time to bring this character to life with a remarkable cast that truly make the Imperial Theater a sacred place every night.”

Scott Stangland will take on Pierre from August 15-20 and creator Dave Malloy will reprise the role from August 22 to Sept. 3.

Kelli Maroney discusses her role in ‘Night of the Comet’

Brittain Ashford will return to the role of Sonya from August 15 to Sept. 3.

A national tour is in the works for 2019.

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What you need to know about Taylor Swift's groping trial


A Colorado talk show host is suing music megastar Taylor Swift claiming she wrongfully accused him of grabbing her. A jury will decide the outcome of the case. The trial is expected to begin Monday.

Good news for Taylor Swift fans: She’s back from her brief break. The bad news: It wasn’t on stage.

Instead, she made an appearance in a Denver federal courtroom Monday, preparing to testify later in dueling civil lawsuits over whether or not she was groped by former radio host DJ David Mueller in 2013, and whether or not she got him fired for the alleged groping.

The long-simmering case comes to a boil five months after Swift said she would be taking a break from performing in 2017, telling a pre-Super Bowl concert audience in Houston that it would be her last show of the year.

Wearing a white dress with a black jacket, Swift sat in the courtroom with her mother, Andrea Swift, and watched the first day of voire dire, the questioning of 60 potential jurors who make up the eight-member panel. Jury selection is expected to continue Tuesday but it’s not known whether Swift will attend that session.

According to the Associated Press, Mueller had his back turned to Swift, and appeared to read documents as Swift watched the proceedings. Potential jurors were asked a number of questions, including whether they had bias for or against either party. One juror was dismissed for saying that Swift “seems petty and spiteful.” Ten were immediately cut on Monday.

What’s involved in this latest celebrity lawsuit:

Who is suing whom?

David Mueller, a Denver radio host, then 51, sued Swift in 2015, two years after he was fired by his station for alleged violation of the morality clause in his contract. He says he was fired two days after Swift, her mother, and manager complained he touched Swift inappropriately at pre-concert event during Swift’s Red tour. 

Mueller claimed in his lawsuit that he didn’t touch Swift (“I am sure that I did not,” he says, according to court documents), and that she and the others slandered him and pressured his employer to fire him.  

Swift, then 23, countersued Mueller in 2015, alleging publicly for the first time that he intentionally groped her during a photo shoot at the event — “I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life,” she said in a later deposition. She asserted she had nothing to do with Mueller losing his job.

What was the last major ruling in the case?

U.S. District Judge William Martinez declined in May to grant summary judgment (meaning, finding in favor of one of them without a trial) but did throw out Mueller’s slander allegation.

The trial began Monday with jury selection and is expected to last nine days. The case is in federal court because neither Swift nor Mueller live in the same state. No cameras are allowed in the courtroom, as per usual in federal courts, and security will be tight thanks to the presence of the pop superstar. 

What will Swift testify about?

According to legal documents in the case, she will testify about “Mueller assaulting her by lifting her skirt and grabbing her bare bottom at her June 2, 2013, fan meet-and-greet, her reaction to Mueller’s conduct, and how it affected her.”

“He took his hand and put it up my dress and grabbed onto my ass cheek, and no matter how much I scooted over, it was still there,” Swift says in court documents. 

She will testify that she had no reason or motive to fabricate a claim that Mueller of groped her, as he and his lawyer have suggested, and that she never directed anyone to have Mueller fired.

What will Mueller testify about?

According to court documents, he will talk about the “facts and circumstances surrounding the meet-and-greet, and “the fact that he did not inappropriately touch Ms. Swift.” He also will testify about the impact of losing his job and the “defamation” of his character. 

Mueller, who worked for a Denver country-music station, attended the event with his girlfriend and jumped into a photo with Swift. He says Swift was cordial as he and his girlfriend left, but when he returned to the arena after going to his car, he was confronted by Swift’s security guard.

Mueller argues that the guard did not react during the photo shoot and that as many as 20 other people took photographs with Swift after Mueller left.

Did Swift report the incident to police?

No. Although such an act would be a misdemeanor under local law and could lead to a possible jail sentence, Swift did not report it. Instead, she told her security guard and a photographer who witnessed the photo shoot, and discussed the matter with her mother and management team. 

Swift tried to keep the situation “discreet and quiet and confidential,” her lawyer, Douglas Baldridge, has argued in court.

What’s a key piece of evidence?

A photograph of the encounter between the two, which has been sealed. It’s also disputed: Swift’s lawyers called the image “damning” proof that Mueller inappropriately touched her. Mueller argues it shows him trying to jump into the picture.

What does Swift want?

She is seeking a verdict that awards her $1, while holding Mueller responsible and “serving as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts,” according to her lawsuit. 

What does Mueller want?

He wants his name cleared, and he wants $3 million in damages. His attorney, Gabriel McFarland, has argued that someone else touched Swift and Mueller may have been misidentified.

Contributing: The Associated Press, Carly Mallenbaum


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Ex-DJ in Taylor Swift trial says he may have touched her ribs

A former disc jockey accused of groping Taylor Swift at a Denver concert testified Tuesday that he may have touched her ribs — but definitely not her buns.

David Mueller, 55, told jurors in the civil trial that he might have touched Swift’s “rib cage or ribs” with a closed hand after jumping into a photo with the superstar singer and his girlfriend at the Pepsi Center in June 2013.

But he was adamant that his hands never drifted toward Swift’s nether regions.

“It’s a humiliating experience to be accused of something that despicable,” Mueller testified.

Taylor Swift appears in court for jury selection in groping case

The case went to court after Mueller first filed suit against Swift, claiming her bogus allegation cost him his $150,000-a-year gig at a country music radio station.

“Swifties” show support from an office window near the Denver courthouse where the songstress' trial is taking place.

“Swifties” show support from an office window near the Denver courthouse where the songstress’ trial is taking place.

(David Zalubowski/AP)

He’s seeking at least $3 million.

Swift counter-sued, claiming that the former deejay sexually assaulted her during the pre-concert photo-op.

Swift, who is seeking a symbolic $1 dollar, has said she opted to engage in the legal fight to serve as an example to sex abuse victims.

An explainer of Taylor Swift’s legal battle against Denver DJ

She was 23 at the time. He was 51.

Shannon Melcher (l.) and David Mueller (r.) with his hand behind Taylor Swift at the Pepsi Center.

Shannon Melcher (l.) and David Mueller (r.) with his hand behind Taylor Swift at the Pepsi Center.


In his opening statement, Swift’s lawyer Douglas Baldridge said Mueller’s story changed seven times after the incident.

Swift, on the contrary, has never wavered, he added.

“That’s the one and only story we have to tell you — that Mr. Mueller grabbed her rear end,” Baldridge said.

DJ accused of groping Taylor Swift has slander claim dismissed

A revealing photograph put on the courtroom monitor Tuesday showed Muller and his former girlfriend standing on either side of the singer, with Mueller’s right hand directly behind Swift’s backside.

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The pop singer is seeking a symbolic $1 judgment in a counter-suit against ex-DJ David Mueller.

(Gary Miller/FilmMagic,)

Mueller is seen sporting a wide grin.

Swift’s lawyer declared it proof of Mueller’s wandering hand. His lawyer said it shows no such thing.

“We have a situation where it’s ‘he said, she said,’” Mueller’s lawyer Gabriel McFarland told the jury in his opening statement.

DJ accused of groping Taylor Swift denies singer’s claims

Swift’s lawyer said his client didn’t mince words when the incident took place.

“That dude just grabbed my a–,” Swift blurted out, according to Baldridge.

On the stand, Mueller suggested Swift may have confused him with his boss who apparently admitted to grabbing her backside.

But he later squirmed under relentless questioning by Swift’s lawyer who painted Mueller as motivated by fame and greed.

An explainer of Taylor Swift’s legal battle against Denver DJ

At one point, Mueller admitted that he felt slighted by Swift, whom he described as “cold and standoffish.”

Tree Paine (center), Taylor Swift’s publicist, walks in to attend the jury selection phase in a civil trial to determine whether a radio host groped the pop singer.

Tree Paine (center), Taylor Swift’s publicist, walks in to attend the jury selection phase in a civil trial to determine whether a radio host groped the pop singer.

(David Zalubowski/AP)

“I thought I deserved more respect,” Mueller said.

Earlier, legions of fans stood outside the courthouse — some arriving before dawn — as two men and six women were selected to sit on the jury.

Dani Kuta, Lucy Peterson and Grace Jarecke — all high school students — woke up at 3 a.m. to be the first people in line.

Taylor Swift appears in court for jury selection in groping case

“We only got two hours of sleep,” giggled Peterson, 17, who aspires to a career in journalism.

In this sketch, former radio host David Mueller speaks in federal court.

In this sketch, former radio host David Mueller speaks in federal court.

(Jeff Kandyba/AP)

By 4:15 a.m., the trio were standing outside the U.S. District Court building in the dark, a block away from the Greyhound station in downtown Denver, an area known for crime and vagrancy.

“Our parents were OK with it, and that was a surprise,” Jarecke said. “We didn’t get hassled by anyone.”

Swift is expected to take the stand later in the trial. 

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Glen Campbell: 5 essential songs and 4 things to know about the late country legend

USA Today NetworkAdam Tamburin and Natalie Allison, The (Nashville) Tennessean
Published 8:23 p.m. ET Aug. 8, 2017 | Updated 9:15 p.m. ET Aug. 8, 2017


Dolly Parton recorded a tribute to Glen Campbell after the news of his death

NASHVILLE — Glen Campbell sang some of country music’s most gorgeous songs, blending evocative imagery with a smooth, peerless tenor. Campbell died Tuesday at 81.

Here are five songs that contributed to his legendary status and four things to know about his career.

“Gentle On My Mind”

Campbell’s effortless interpretation of John Hartford’s poetic lyrics made this love song an instant classic. Campbell won a 1968 Grammy for his performance.


One of Campbell’s timeless collaborations with songwriter Jimmy Webb, “Galveston” builds to a dramatic crescendo that set the the bar for today’s epic country power ballads from vocal powerhouses like Carrie Underwood.

“Wichita Lineman”

Webb also wrote this hypnotic ballad that that made full use of Campbell’s interpretive skills and silky voice. Heartache never sounded so good.

“Rhinestone Cowboy”

Nashville is filled with singers struggling to make it in a bruising industry — and with songs celebrating those dreamers. This is the gold standard.

By the time Campbell hits the soaring chorus, where he dreams of the fame that awaits the chosen few, you’ll be headed to Lower Broadway with a guitar and a tip jar.

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You”

Campbell was a master of heartbreak, but this song — recorded at the end of his career — might have been the saddest he ever recorded. He co-wrote it with Julian Raymond after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and the grim lyrics trace the trajectory of the disease: “I’m still here but yet I’m gone. / I don’t play guitar or sing my songs.”

The song was included in the 2014 documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me. Campbell and Raymond were nominated for an Academy Award for best original song written for a film.

Beyond his catalog, here are four things to know about the late singer.

He was the youngest of 7 children

Campbell was born in Delight, Ark., on April 22, 1936, the youngest of seven sons in a farming family. Each of his family members played guitar, and by 6 years old, Campbell was considered a prodigy. He dropped out of school in 10th grade to pursue his music career outside of Arkansas, starting first in Albuquerque, N.M.

A would-be Beach Boy

After touring with and playing guitar on the Beach Boys’ Sloop John B., Campbell turned down an offer in 1965 to join the band as a full-time member, instead deciding to establish his own career as a solo musician.

Drug use and recovery

After Campbell’s second wife, Billie Jean Campbell, filed for divorce in 1975, Campbell later revealed he had been using cocaine. His drug use would ultimately lead to the termination of his third marriage to Sarah Barg. A near-overdose in 1981 led to his conversion to Christianity and eventual ceasing of alcohol and drug use.

Alzheimer’s diagnosis and farewell to music

Campbell and his fourth wife, Kim Woolen, announced in 2011 that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He went on to release another album and played his final Nashville show in January 2012, performing at the Ryman Auditorium with three of his children and reading his lyrics off a teleprompter. He played his last show Nov. 30, 2012, in Napa, Calif.

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Bill Murray takes in ‘Groundhog Day’ musical based on 1993 movie

Bill Murray is living Groundhog Day — again.

The actor was in attendance at the Broadway musical based on his iconic 1993 movie Tuesday night, according to the New York Times.

The show, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, and a book by Danny Rubin (who also wrote the movie), follows Phil Connors, a Pittsburgh weatherman who finds himself repeating Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pa.

Andy Karl plays the frustrated newscaster, while Barrett Doss takes on Andie MacDowell’s original role as Rita Hanson.

Bill Murray to shake things up at The Manhattan Cocktail Classic

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The musical stars Andy Karl in Murray’s role from the 1993 movie.

(Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Pro)

The musical opened in April at the August Wilson Theatre and was nominated for seven Tony Awards, including best musical, best performance by a leading actor in a musical and best score.

The “Groundhog Day” movie, which was directed by Harold Ramis, consistently ranks among the top comedies of all time on critics’ “best of” lists.

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'Rhinestone Cowboy' Glen Campbell dies at 81 after Alzheimer's battle


Glen Travis Campbell brought country music to new audiences. He found success as a session musician before embarking on a solo career that included several smash hits. He announced he was suffering with Alzheimer’s disease in 2011.

Glen Travis Campbell brought country music to new audiences. He found success as a session musician before embarking on a solo career that included smashes Gentle On My MindGalvestonWichita Lineman and Rhinestone Cowboy and that landed him in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Campbell died Tuesday at 81, according to his Universal Music publicist, Tim Plumley.

Plumley issued this statement from Campbell’s family: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Campbell was born in Delight, Ark., the seventh son of a seventh son in a farming family.

“I spent the early parts of my life looking at the north end of a southbound mule and it didn’t take long to figure out that a guitar was a lot lighter than a plow handle,” he said in a late 1970s press bio.

More: Celebrities react to Glen Campbell’s death

Previously: Glen Campbell’s wife to other Alzheimer’s caregivers: You are not alone

Each member of Campbell’s family played guitar, and he received a $5 Sears & Roebuck guitar when he was 4 years old. By 6, he was a prodigy, internalizing music that ranged from simple country to sophisticated jazz. He dropped out of school in the 10th grade, left Arkansas and played in a New Mexico-based band led by his uncle, Dick Bills. He also married first wife Diane Kirk, though that marriage lasted fewer than three years.


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While playing an Albuquerque club called the Hitching Post, Campbell met Billie Nunley, who soon became his second wife. The newlyweds left for California in 1960, riding to Los Angeles in a 1957 Chevrolet with $300 and a small trailer full of meager belongings. Campbell found work playing in rock groups including The Champs, a band that included Jim Seals and Dash Crofts, who would later become the hit-making duo Seals & Crofts.

Campbell’s guitar acumen and versatility made him an essential player on Los Angeles’ thriving recording scene in the 1960s, and he contributed to sessions for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Rick Nelson, The Mamas and The Papas, Merle Haggard and many more. Campbell couldn’t read music, but he quickly became a respected, first-call player. He played on Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas, The Monkees’ I’m a Believer, Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the Night and more. He played 12-string guitar on the Beach Boys’ Sloop John B, and toured with the Beach Boys in 1965 as a replacement for the band’s troubled leader, Brian Wilson.

Campbell was invited to join the Beach Boys as a full-time member in 1965, but he declined. By then, he was set on establishing a solo career.

More: Glen Campbell: 5 essential songs

After recording a minor hit in 1961 with Turn Around – Look at Me , Campbell signed with Capitol Records, releasing Big Bluegrass Special by The Green River Boys Featuring Glen Campbell in late 1962. His early albums received little attention or acclaim, but he broke into the mainstream in 1967, first with the Top 20 country hit Burning Bridges, but most notably with a nimble version of his friend John Hartford’s drifter’s masterpiece Gentle On My Mind.

 The song did not ascend to the top of the Billboard country charts, but it was performing rights organization BMI’s most-played song of 1969 and 1970. In 1999, BMI ranked Gentle as the second most-played country song of the century, and the 16th most-played song of the century in any genre. 

Campbell’s affable stage presence and camera-ready looks made him a natural for television. 

“Someday, in the very near future, this talented young man is going to have his own television show,” said comedian Joey Bishop in 1967, introducing Campbell on a late-night variety show. Tommy Smothers of musical comedy act The Smothers Brothers watched and listened with interest. He also watched as Campbell’s follow-up to GentleBy the Time I Get to Phoenix, reached No. 2 on the Billboard country chart and No. 26 on the all-genre chart. In early 1968, Campbell won two Grammy awards for his recording of Gentle On My Mind and two more for By the Time I Get to Phoenix, and the Smothers Brothers announced that Campbell would host his own television show, nationally televised on CBS.

Campbell’s show began as The Summer Brothers Smothers Show, a summer replacement for The Smothers Brothers, and it ran as a weekly variety show from January of 1969 through June of 1972. Each week, Campbell would sing the opening lines of Gentle On My Mind and then announce to viewers that they were watching The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.

“I had albums before that, but once the TV show started everything really took off,” Campbell told The (Nashville) Tennessean in 2005. “I used that show to get every country act I could onto television.”

The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour featured much more than country. He performed Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind with Stevie Wonder and Squares Make the World Go ‘Round with the Smothers and Nancy Sinatra. He brought on teen favorites The Monkees and West Coast country-rock singer Linda Ronstadt. He stood and snapped his fingers like Frank Sinatra, and did a hip-shaking Elvis Presley impersonation. 

Still, he made his country roots clear both on- and off-camera, helping himself to major country chart successes in 1968 with I Wanna Live (his first No. 1), Dreams of the Everyday Housewife, (a No. 3 Billboard country hit) and his first cross-over smash, Wichita Lineman, which topped country and adult contemporary charts and landed at No. 3 on the pop charts. Producer Al DeLory’s sophisticated arrangements complemented a soaring voice, and Campbell was at the forefront of a modern country movement.

“The change that has come over country music lately is simple,” he told TV Guide in 1969. “They’re not shuckin’ it right off the cob any more. … I think the public is getting tired of all that crazy acid rock and wants to get back to good melodies. Country music has more impact now, because it’s earthy material — stories of things that happen to everyday people. I call it ‘People Music.’ ”

In the late 1960s, the “People Music” business was booming. Campbell won Country Music Association awards for best entertainer and male vocalist, two Academy of Country Music awards for best album and two more for male vocalist, and a total of five Grammy trophies. In 1969, buoyed by another Jimmy Webb-written gem, the soldier’s lament Galveston (a No. 1 country and adult contemporary hit), Campbell out-sold the Beatles.

“Not since Elvis Presley’s ascendancy more than a decade ago has a young soloist come along to capture the mass audience with such effectiveness as Glen Campbell,” wrote Vernon Scott of United Press International.

Campbell’s manager, Nick Sevano, arranged for the singer to act in movies including True Grit with John Wayne and Norwood with Kim Darby and Joe Namath, but Sevano battled the Presley comparisons.

“I don’t think he’s a new Elvis,” Sevano told TV Guide. “I think Glen has a broader audience than Elvis.”

Four of Campbell’s singles reached country music’s Top 10 in 1970, but his sales domination began to subside in the new decade. CBS canceled his show in 1972, and his marriage to Billie was in trouble. Campbell developed an over-fondness for Glenlivet  scotch, and his dedication to touring and performing came at the expense of his recordings. 

But in 1975, after more than six years without a No. 1 hit, Campbell staged a comeback with Rhinestone Cowboy.  The song topped both country and pop charts, and  re-established Campbell as a hit-making, seat-filling force.

“I really just rode on the crest of that, to forget everything that was happening to Glen Campbell, personally,” Campbell told VH1’s Behind The Music.

Rhinestone Cowboy was a major anthem in the summer of 1975. In early fall, Billie Jean Campbell filed for divorce. By then, Campbell had, he would later reveal, started  using cocaine. That year, he also began dating Sarah Barg, the estranged wife of his friend and fellow performer, Mac Davis. He and Barg married in 1976, but Campbell’s cocaine use continued to escalate and the relationship suffered. 

“We were drinking and cocaining, and nothing lasts when you’re doing that,” he told VH1.

Campbell returned to the top of the charts in 1977 with Southern Nights, his final No. 1 hit. His behavior, though, was increasingly erratic. Campbell and Barg divorced in 1980, the same year he began dating powerhouse singer Tanya Tucker. She was 21, he was 44. The couple announced an engagement in late 1980, but the relationship ended — angrily — in early 1981. Campbell spent much of that year completely out of control, but a near-overdose in Las Vegas and a new relationship with a Radio City Music Hall Rockette named Kimberley Woolen helped spur newfound faith and a change of direction.

“I accepted Jesus Christ on December the 21st, 1981,” he told The Tennessean. “I’m singin’ a new song.”

Campbell married Woolen in October 1982, and she would be a sustaining influence for the rest of his life. He dropped cocaine and eventually halted his drinking, and he reached country music’s Top 10 with 1984’s Faithless Love and A Lady Like You, 1985’s (Love Always) Letter To Home and It’s Just A Matter of Time, 1987’s The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (with Steve Wariner) and Still Within the Sound Of My Voice, 1988’s I Have You and 1989’s She’s Gone, Gone, Gone. He also aided Alan Jackson’s ascent to country music stardom, suggesting Jackson move to Nashville and helping him to become a staff songwriter at his Glen Campbell Music publishing company.

The 1990s held no hits for Campbell, but he performed often, opening the Glen Campbell Goodtime Theatre in Branson in 1994 and starring there for three seasons. In 2003, he was arrested near his Phoenix home on drunk driving, hit-and-run and assault charges. He later pled guilty to DUI, apologized to fans and entered a care facility. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005, by which time he was already showing signs of dementia, seeming shaky in interviews though he clearly understood and appreciated the honor.

“You can have ‘male vocalist’ and all that stuff,” he told The Tennessean. “I’ll take the Hall of Fame. It’s the highest honor you can have in country music, and this makes me feel so good.”

Capitol Records released Campbell’s 60th studio album, the critically acclaimed Meet Glen Campbell, in 2008, with Campbell covering songs written by rock royalty including U2, Lou Reed, Tom Petty and Dave Grohl. Meet Glen Campbell provided music fans a reintroduction to Campbell’s musicality, with his still-strong voice and still-potent guitar.

In 2011, Campbell and his wife announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, but that he would release a new album and go on a Goodbye Tour while he could still perform. The new album was praised by Will Hermes of Rolling Stone as “baroquely arranged drama that echos his string-swelled seventies hits. … Dude’s definitely not going out softly.”

Campbell played his final Nashville show in January 2012, performing at the Ryman Auditorium with a band that included three of his children. He opened with Gentle On My Mind, played many of his hits and thrilled the audience.

“Campbell remained in fine voice and proved to still be a staggeringly sharp and fluid guitarist, wowing the crowd early on with an explosive solo on Gentle and muscular melodic licks on his classic Galveston,” wrote Dave Paulson of The Tennessean.

He read lyrics from a Teleprompter that night, but imbued each song with significant feeling.

“An encore in the tightly scripted show wasn’t a sure thing,” Paulson wrote. “But Campbell returned to the room’s delight for In My Arms — another affirming cut from Canvas — before taking bows with his band and giving his crowd a last — and clearly loving — wave goodbye.”

At the Grammy Awards in February 2012, The Band Perry performed Gentle On My Mind, and Blake Shelton sang Southern Nights before Campbell took the stage to sing Rhinestone Cowboy, with Paul McCartney pumping his fist from the audience in approval.

Campbell played his final show on Nov. 30, 2012, in California. Early in 2014, he appeared  at the venerable Station Inn to watch daughter Ashley Campbell perform with his old friend, Carl Jackson. In April of 2014, his family confirmed that Campbell was staying in a Middle Tennessee memory-care facility.

“There’s a lot of sadness, (but) we just continue to try to make the best of every day and keep a sense of humor,” his wife told People.

In June, Campbell released his final album, Adios, which was produced by his former bandmate and longtime friend Carl Jackson. The bittersweet record includes a duet with fellow legend Willie Nelson on Funny How Time Slips Away. Vince Gill contributes harmony vocals to Am I All Alone (Or Is It Only Me). Ashley Campbell appears on several tracks, including Postcard From Paris, which also features sons Cal and Shannon Campbell.

Campbell is survived by his wife, Kim Campbell of Nashville; their three children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane and Dillon; ten grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren; sisters Barbara, Sandra and Jane; and brothers John Wallace “Shorty” and Gerald.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at BrightFocus Foundation through

Contributing: USA TODAY’s Alison Maxwell


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Musicians mourn the loss of country singer Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell’s death brought together the music world to mourn the loss of one of the greatest country singers.

The “Rhinestone Cowboy” musician died Tuesday at 81 after a years-long battle with Alzheimer’s.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease,” his family said in a statement.


In memoriam: Remembering the famous figures we lost in 2017

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As news of his death spread, friends and colleagues honored the legendary singer.

Country singer Glen Campbell dead at 81

“I lost a great friend today and the world lost a great talent,” tweeted Tony Orlando. “Rest In Peace, Glen Campbell.”

“Rest in peace Glen Campbell. You touched all of our lives with your music and you will be greatly missed,” tweeted country music duo Montgomery Gentry.

“Huge loss in the world of music today,” wrote Sheryl Crow.

“What a loss. A great voice, great guitarist,” said Rosanne Cash.

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Celebrities react with sorrow to Glen Campbell's death

Celebrities, friends and fellow musicians responded to the death of country legend Glen Campbell with heartfelt tributes on social media. 

Campbell, who died after a long decline from Alzheimer’s disease, died Tuesday. He was 81. 

The mourners included former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Campbell’s native state. 

“Glen Campbell was one of the great entertainers and musicians of our time. Sad to learn of death of a great Arkansan and American,” Huckabee tweeted. 

“I lost a great friend today and the world lost a great talent. Rest In Peace, Glen Campbell,” tweeted Tony Orlando.

“Dear Glen Campbell Rest In Peace As well as your incredible musical abilities you were one of the most down to earth ppl I have ever known,” tweeted Peter Frampton.

His country music peers were especially sorrowful.

“Thank you Glen Campbell for sharing your talent with us for so many years. May you rest in peace my friend. You will never be forgotten,” Charlie Daniels tweeted.

“Thank you @GlenCampbell for the artistry, grace & class you brought to country music. You were a shining light in so many ways,” Brad Paisley added. 

“What a loss. A great voice, great guitarist,” Rosanne Cash mourned.

“Extremely sad to hear that Glen Campbell has passed away. My prayers and thoughts go out to him and his family,” added Blake Shelton.

“RIP Glen Campbell, a true gentleman genius – You will forever be gentle on our minds!” tweeted actor Ed Helms

The hashtags #ripglencampbell and #rhinestonecowboy started popping up, as in guitarist Kevin Jonas’ tweet tribute.

“So sad that Glen Campbell has passed such a legend. #ripglencampbell #rhinestonecowboy,” his read. 


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