Known for such huge hit singles as “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston” and “Gentle on My Mind,” Glen Campbell was a superstar in the entertainment field. However, in the eyes of his daughter, Debby Campbell, he was simply dad.
“I loved him so much and he loved me. Like his many fans and friends, I miss him every single day. He was a great person. He was my best friend,” Debby said in a recent phone interview.
Last month, Debby released “The Way We Were.” The album is a personal, 12-song look into the heart and soul of a lady and the love for both her father and his music.
“The whole album was an emotional experience for me,” she said. “It wasn’t easy, but I’m so glad I did it. I’m proud of the album.”
This album didn’t happen overnight. For Debby, it was actually a handful of years in the making.
“I was approached about five years go about going into the studio,” she noted. “It took me the entire five years to decide if I could do it. I went into the studio and did four songs. Then, I was asked to do an entire album.”
From the album’s opening song, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” to tunes like “Shoulder to Shoulder,” “That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine,” “Only One Life” and the title track, Debby takes the listener on a musical journey, sequenced perfectly to tell an account of her memories on and off the stage with her legendary dad.
“The album tells story,” Debby commented. “It is like reading a book, beginning with when I moved to Phoenix in 1987 and started working with dad. As you follow the from song to song, you can tell how they run together to tell a story.”
Debby spent 24 years on the road and a part of her father’s show. She has many fond recollections.
“In my time with dad, we played all over the world, such as Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, just so many places,” Debby recalled. “We helped open the Grand Palace in Branson. Later, dad had his own theater in Branson. Then, we spent a couple of years performing at Andy Williams’ Moon River Theater.”
Debby’s album was released on what would have been Glen’s 82nd birthday. He was born in Delight, Arkansas on April 22, 1936. Debby recalls her father’s deep love for his home state.
“Dad loved Arkansas,” she proclaimed. “He loved going back to see family and tried to never miss a family reunion. He was just a country boy. He loved cornbread. He loved biscuits and gravy. Arkansas was always special to him.”
The Natural State has a special place in Debby’s heart as well.
“Oh my goodness, I recall lots of summers in Arkansas,” she said. “I cherish those times I came there growing up and spending time with my grandparents and so many aunts and uncles and cousins.”
Debby will be returning to Arkansas on June 4. That night, Glen will join fellow Arkansans Johnny Cash, The Browns, Ed Bruce and Wayne Raney as one of the first recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Arkansas Country Music Awards, which will be held at the Center for Performing Arts on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus.
“My dad would be so proud of this, probably more than any of his other awards in his career,” Debby noted. “He loved Arkansas, and this would’ve made him so very happy. I am thrilled this award show is happening, and my dad is among the first to receive this honor. I can’t wait”
The music world loved Glen. And chances are - they will love hearing his daughter’s stirring and poignant tribute.
To purchase Debby’s album, “The Way We Were,” go to www.plateaumusic.com. For tickets and information on the upcoming Arkansas Country Music Awards, go to www.arkansascountrymusic.com.
Beebe native Charles Haymes is a member of the Country Music Association and a country music historian. Email him at email@example.com.