Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wichita Lineman/When Musicians Cry #AtoZChallenge

This has been the annus horribilis of musicians.

So many have passed away since the beginning of this year.

My father in law was a musician.  He never became famous, but he loved music and played several instruments.  Besides playing in a band, he gave guitar lessons as a second job while supporting a wife and their four children.  The brother of one of his then-young students was the realtor when my mother in law sold her house in order to downsize last year.

I, on the other hand, never have taken a music lesson.  I play no instruments.  I sang in my elementary school choir for two years, but I never pursued singing.  I do, however, enjoy listening to music.  

This week, a music legend in the United States Prince, passed away.  Musicians all over the world mourn loss of one of the most talented musicians of the 20th and 21st century.   But unlike other artists I've paid tribute to during the run of my Music Mondays (which may or may not return after the Blogging from A to Z Challenge concludes Saturday), Prince kept tight control over his music.  There are only a limited number of videos available on You Tube.

Not so for singer Glen Campbell, who turned 80 last week.

With tremendous courage, 80 year old country singer Glen Campbell  shared his five year battle with Alzheimer's with his public.

Here, he gives an interview.

No more interviews will be given by Glen Campbell - we are told he can no longer speak. He no longer knows what a guitar is used for.   He is in the seventh and final stage of Alzheimer's - where the person forgets how to eat, and can no longer tell that he or she is thirsty.

Alzheimer's is one of the most feared illnesses - there are other dread diseases but they don't take away the essence of us - what makes us us - our memories, our delights, our ability to enjoy family and friends - the way Alzheimer's and other dementias do.

None of us know how much longer Glen Campbell will be with us.  So, as an early tribute, I wanted to post my favorite song of his:  Wichita Lineman.   

As you listen to this song, imagine a lonely lineman, up on a pole on a deserted stretch of highway (I lived, years ago, in Wichita, Kansas and Wichita Fall, Texas, so this part is easy for me), wanting so much to be home.

Sometimes, the simplest song conveys so much.  Glen Campbell knew how to sing it.

When he passes, and it is only a matter of time, millions will miss him, just as millions miss Prince Rogers Nelson.

How many more talents will we lose this year?

"W" day on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

29 comments:

  1. I never knew about Glen Campbell! I am like so ignorant about the western music industry apart from some of my favorites!
    Tina from Twinkling Tina Cooks

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    1. Please don't feel bad - I am so ignorant of music of your area of the world. Except for when I took Zumba and they would play various music of the world. And I have no idea what I was listening to.

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  2. It's definitely been the year of the reaper for musicians. On one hand, it's kept my blog full of content, but at what cost? I'd much rather the musician still be with us. I do hope that sometime soon, we'll have more access to Prince's material on youtube. I loved Glen Campbell growing up. I'd watch him on HeeHaw or Donny and Marie all the time.

    Mary
    #AtoZChallenge W is for Wilson Phillips

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    1. I had a "Music Monday" feature for a while and I stopped it, but the musicians kept dying. I actually wrote the Glen Campbell post a while back, but didn't even have the heart to publish it. It stayed in my drafts until Prince died. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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  3. I always think of Rhinestone Cowboy when Glen Campbell gets mentioned. So sad to find out he was in the end stages of dementia - it's a horrible disease that robs the sufferer and those who love them. Leanne @ cresting the hill

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    1. Yes. One of my aunts had dementia. It was a very sad end for a wonderful person. My former walking companion's sister had early onset dementia (killed her in her 60's) that was even sadder. I hope for a cure in our lifetimes.

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  4. I live in Nashville and have all my life, so Glen Campbell has always been someone who has been mentioned, but I've never really been familiar with his music. Of course, I know Rhinestone Cowboy, but that one's pretty obvious! I feel like they're getting closer to a cure for Alzheimer's if there is one... I know they've had luck with MS treatments recently using stem cells. It's like cancer, I guess--they're still trying to fully figure out what causes it before they can cure it?

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    1. If only they could cure both dementia and cancer in our lifetimes. So much suffering from both.

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  5. The Glenn Campbell documentary was very illuminating.

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  6. What a beautiful tribute to your father in law and to all musicians. Glen Campbell was a staple in our house- he and his family have handled his illness and career with such grace.

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    1. Yes, Glen Campbell's wife and family were so devoted to him. If it wasn't for his becoming violent in the later stages of his dementia, I suspect his wife would have insisted on taking full care of him until the end. What love and devotion.

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  7. You know that a "songbird" loves music. I wish I had the talent for it. I sang in the chorus in elementary school and junior high, I took piano lessons and played the viola in the elementary school orchestra, and took guitar in high school, but I really never developed the skills to play well.

    This has not been a good year for music icons. We're all prepared to hear the news when Glen Campbell passes, but Bowie and Prince were shockers, weren't they?

    The song I'm hearing in my head right now? "Galveston".

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    1. I wish I had the talent for music, too. I so envy people who can make music. I daydream about it. As for songs: Right now, I'm hearing "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" in my mind. At least it replaced "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald", an earworm which another blogger's post gave me this afternoon.

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  8. It's sad to see untimely demise of so many celebrities. Prince's death is truly shocking!

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    1. It was shocking, due to his age and the apparent lack of self destructive behavior. I'm wondering if what killed him was something similar to what killed Jim Henson of Muppets fame - a bacterial pneumonia that caused toxic shock syndrome.

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  9. How serendipitous! I actually thought about that song around 4:30 this morning. We had another storm and our electricity went out. I thought about all those people we depend on to keep the services that we need for modern life going and how they have to be on the job 24 hours a day, every day. Most of the electricity grid is automated and handled by computers these days, but there are still lineman out there who go out in all kinds of weather to allow us live our lives as we are accustomed to. Glen Campbell's cover of Jimmy Webb's lyrics is very evocative of that. BTW, our power came back on five hours later. Life continues.

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    1. We are so dependent on so many people - linepeople, garbage pickup people, other people we take for granted.

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  10. I love music! I sing in my church choir and have actually been in opera choruses! There's nothing like belting out a high note while on your knees on an opera stage! It's quite exhilirating, mostly because, when you sing really high, you get this big rush of oxygen to your head.
    It is sad to lose so many musical legends in one year. They give us so much joy and entertainment.
    Dementia is a cruel condition. It is hard to believe that anyone could get to the point of forgetting how to eat.
    Oh, and one more thing... about your utensils... if you can't sell them and you don't want to keep them, you might consider donating them to your nearest or your favorite historical society. They could be used for special events at the historical society.

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    1. Thank you for the suggestion about how to donate the silverware. I never would have thought of that.

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  11. I've started calling this the year the music died. (An allusion to the day the music died.) It's only April, but geez...

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    1. I've been calling it the year the music died in my mind, too. Great minds!

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  12. My grand father on my dad at one time work as a line man. He help put the power line though San Francisco.
    I played the violin for 7 years.
    Coffee is on

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    1. So cool, as we used to say back in the 60's. I still do.

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  13. Used to watch his show (summer fill in for The Smothers Brothers, I think). Always seemed good natured.

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    1. It's said that Glen Campbell loved to make people laugh. We need more people like that.

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  14. Like many, I was very shocked to hear of Prince's passing. In fact, when I first saw it on a friend's Facebook post, I thought it might be another of those celebrity death hoaxes. But unfortunately not.

    And Glen Campbell was very brave to be so open about his Alzheimer's diagnosis. What a horrible disease--but I hear that there are a lot of hopeful strides being made in research toward prevention, treatment and even cure.

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    1. I can only hope we find an effective treatment for dementia in our lifetimes - and yes, even a cure.

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  15. I have no clue how many more will pass. We have lost many talented artists already. I was sad to learn about Prince. I bet he is looking down through the clouds as he is singing and playing his instruments in the sky.

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