(Left) Jamie McCarthy via Getty Images/ (Right) Phill McCarten via people.com
When Glen Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, the CMA Awards decided to pay tribute to the singer in the best way they knew how, with an all-start medley of his greatest hits.
Campbell is known for recording many iconic country songs, including “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Gentle On My Mind,” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”
In June 2011, Campbell announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimers six months earlier. He continued to perform for a while, going on a final Goodbye Tour that ended in November 2012.
Since then, Campbell’s condition has deteriorated. In an interview on Broadway’s Electric Bandwagon, Campbell’s wife Kim revealed that he is at the end of the sixth stage of Alzheimer’s, which is the next-to-last stage of the disease.
But back in 2011, just a few months after Campbell first spoke about his disease, the CMA Awards honored him with an all-star performance of some of his most well-known songs.
Vince Gill opened up the medley with a performance of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”
Gill’s soft, smooth voice is a perfect match for the song, which tells the sad story of a man who leaves his lover after trying to so many times before. Campbell, who is sitting in the audience, appears pleased with Gill’s rendition of the song, as the camera pans to show him smiling and singing along during his performance.
The next song featured in the medley, performed by Keith Urban, is “Wichita Lineman.” Urban plays along on his guitar as he sings, with his wife Nicole Kidman looking at him adoringly from the audience. Campbell appears to be moved by Urban’s performance, tearing up as he mouths the words to the song.
Urban plays a short guitar solo before finishing up his performance. After that, the next song in the medley transfers over to Brad Paisley, who lends his voice to Campbell’s 1969 hit song “Galveston.”
A slideshow featuring pictures of Campbell through the years starts playing behind Paisley as he sings. He earns himself a double “thumbs up” from Campbell for his performance, which is quite an honor, considering that CMT ranked “Galveston” eighth on its list of 100 Greatest Songs In Country Music.
When Paisley finishes his part of the medley, Gill invites Campbell on stage with them. Everyone in the room gives Campbell a standing ovation as he walks on stage with his wife Kim. Although Campbell can’t be heard over all of the applause, it’s clear that he is mouthing the words “thank you” over and over.
Paisley and Urban are shown embracing Campbell, and Gill hands him an acoustic guitar. Campbell himself is the one who gets to wrap up the medley, as he strums on the guitar Gill gave him while the crowd cheers.
In light of the recent news about Campbell’s condition, watching Gill, Urban, and Paisley honor him at the CMA Awards is even more emotional than it was at the time.
Watch the amazing all-star tribute to the “Rhinestone Cowboy,” in the video below.
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