How Glen Campbell Made His Final Studio Album Adiós: 'The Songs Flowed Straight from His Heart,' Says Singer's Wife
"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," says his wife Kim Campbell
Titled Adiós, the album (available for pre-order here) was recorded in Nashville following the 80-year-old country legend’s diagnosis and subsequent “Goodbye Tour,” the singer’s wife of 34 years, Kim Campbell, shares in the album’s emotional liner notes.
“Glen’s abilities to play, sing and remember songs began to rapidly decline after his diagnosis in 2011,” she writes. “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.”
Kim shares the inspiration to record the album (whose first track, Glen’s cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin,'” can be previewed exclusively above) was sparked after the couple spent an afternoon with Carl Jackson, Glen’s longtime banjo player and a mutual friend who set up the pair on their first date more than three decades ago.
“We reminisced about all of the songs that Glen had always wanted to record but had never gotten around to,” continues Kim. “Carl laid down some basic tracks and vocals for Glen to study and practice in preparation for his final session.”
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Though the recording sessions were “heartbreaking at times” because of the Grammy winner’s struggles with dementia (“Glen was barely able to remember the words that he was singing at times. Carl held up sheets of paper with large print lyrics and fed them to him one line at a time,” she says), the “Rhinestone Cowboy” singer was “clearly ecstatic about being in the studio.”
To give the record “polish and charm,” Jackson and Kim enlisted stars like Willie Nelson and Vince Gill to add to the album, and the couple’s children — Ashley, Shannon and Cal — also stepped into the recording booth to boost the vocals behind their father’s voice.
“All of the laughing, crying (we laughed much more than we cried!) and singing were certainly bittersweet, but more than worthwhile when listening back to the finished album today,” writes Kim. “What you’re hearing … is the beautiful and loving culmination of friends and family doing their very best for the man who inspired, raised and entertained them for decades — giving him the chance to say one last goodbye to his fans.”