Glen Campbell – singing from a tortured soul

Glen Campbell, the fresh-faced country singer whose soulful lyrics – Wichita Linesman, Galveston, Phoenix on My Mind, Rhinestone Cowboy – made him a smash hit in the late 1960s and 1970s, has died of Alzheimers. Born 22 April 1936 8.14pm Delight, Arkansas, he was the seventh of 12 children with a sharecropper father, started guitar playing at five and though he could never read music became one of the top session guitarists in LA, working with Phil Spector, the Beach Boys, The Monkees, The Righteous Brothers, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley. Then he carved out his own career.

As ever the public image and private reality were a million miles apart as he described in his autobiography. At the height of his fame he spent his nights hoovering up lines of cocaine while reading the Bible. A tempestuous, violent and destructive relationship with 21-year-old country star Tanya Tucker, also a cocaine addict, fuelled his fall from grace. He eventually cleaned up his act with wife number 4 and took to evangelical religion.

He had a hard-working 6th house Sun Uranus in Taurus trine his late Leo midheaven, who helped him carve out a unique niche for himself. His creative and neurotic Saturn opposition Neptune squared onto an optimistic, lucky Jupiter – which gave him musical Neptune in the 10th, sombre Saturn in his childhood/domestic 4th and expansive Jupiter in his financial 2nd, so pluses and minuses. His Saturn was in a bleak, enduring trine to Pluto, sextile Moon, Ascendant, Mercury, Mars all in Taurus.  He was an emotionally complicated man – possessive, dependent, angry, shaped by the rigours of his poor childhood, and a mother preoccupied with child-bearing. He also had a creative and healing-for-others-if-not-himself Water Grand Trine of Saturn Pluto and a Scorpio Ascendant, formed into a Kite by Ascendant opposition Moon – so making the Moon, which is usually prominent in individuals who work with the public, the driving planet. His Pluto in the 9th would give him strong religious beliefs.

His 7th Harmonic (septiles) is heavily aspected and his strongest with the Harmonic midheaven tied into the Sun, Jupiter and Mercury. That’s most often the prominent harmonic with musical types.

7 thoughts on “Glen Campbell – singing from a tortured soul

  1. Singers don’t pay for songs to be written for them. Songwriters approach musicians and pitch their songs, hoping they will be performed and recorded.

    Campbell’s finest songs were written by Jimmy Webb. They had an amazing collaboration dating back to the sixties.

  2. Paul McCartney is another who could not read sheet music – or so I’ve read. I remember when the Glenn-Tanya debacle hit the front page of Rolling Stone in the 70’s. Her calling card was, “You’re gonna see more of me.” Something to that effect. I had forebodings.

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