Glen Campbell's Wife Says He Can No Longer Play Guitar

(Image credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images)

Glen Campbell's wife says Alzheimer's disease has finally robbed Glen—who turns 81 next month—of his ability to play guitar.

Kim Campbell, speaking to The Tennessean, says her husband still occasionally breaks into a "kind of fun" air-guitar routine. She adds that Glen continues to sing, although the words are gibberish and, "it's not a melody that we recognize, but you can tell that it's a happy song and he has a song in his heart."

As was widely reported, Glen was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2011 and—almost immediately afterwards—kicked off a successful world tour. That tour, and Glen's slow decline, was documented in a riveting 2014 documentary, Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me. The film is fascinating because, despite several painful moments that show the horrible effects of the disease, Glen was still able to play some seriously impressive solos, as if his brain were drawing the six-string inspiration from a source that couldn't be affected by a mere disease.

To see what we mean, check out the top video below. Below that, you can watch Kim's interview.

Glen was a key member of LA's "Wrecking Crew" in the Sixties, playing guitar on a slew of hits and working closely (and even touring) with the Beach Boys. His solo hits include "Rhinestone Cowboy," ''Wichita Lineman" and "Southern Nights."

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.