It’s been nearly three years since the formerly local Glen Campbell brought his bittersweet Goodbye Tour to Phoenix, having recently announced that he’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Last year brought “See You There,” an album filled with new recordings of such Campbell staples as “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.”
Now, the legend has released a poignant final song and video whose title and lyrics find him tackling the harsh realities of a debilitating medical condition, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.”
A gospel-flavored piano intro echoing John Lennon’s “Isolation” is met by ethereal, Beatlesque harmonies before the country crooner takes the spotlight, candidly addressing what he’s going through with “I’m still here but yet I’m gone / I don’t play guitar or sing my songs / It never defined who I am / The man who loved you ’til the end.” Now addressing his wife, he sings, “You’re the last person I will love / You’re the last face I will recall / And best of all / I’m not gonna miss you.” Then he hits you with the sort of slide guitar part George Harrison might have added to a Lennon record.
In the second verse, Campbell continues to address the family members dealing with his Alzheimer’s, singing, “You’re never gonna see it in my eyes / It’s not gonna hurt me when you cry / I’m never gonna know what you go through / All the things I say or do / All the hurt and all the pain / One thing selfishly remains / I’m not gonna miss you.”
It’s an appropriately haunting final chapter for an entertainer who’s spent these past two years very publicly battling a disease that’s in the midst of robbing him of everymemory he’s spent a remarkable lifetime collecting. And he’s done it with both dignity and courage.
Born to a sharecropping family in Pike County, Ark., during the Great Depression, Campbell moved to Phoenix in the early ’80s and spent the next two decades here before moving to Malibu in 2005.
But his legacy rests on what he did before he got to Phoenix — not the least of which was “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” a Jimmy Webb song Campbell took to No. 26 onBillboard’s Hot 100, going on to win two Grammys.
To read the complete story: http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/music/2014/10/15/glen-campbell-alzheimers-disease-final-song/17312189/