I watched the film I’ll Be Me on Netflix last night. It was filmed in 2011 and 2012 as Glen Campbell set out on an official farewell tour. Unlike many famous musicians who play the farewell card only to return a few years later, this was a true goodbye. In June 2011, Campbell announced that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He released his final studio album, the mesmerizing Ghost On The Canvas in August of 2011. The tour began in late 2011 and ended on November 30, 2012 when it became apparent that Campbell’s condition had deteriorated to the point where he could no longer tour.
For me, Glen Campbell had always been defined by his massive hit, Rhinestone Cowboy. Watching this film really changed that. It reminded me that he had been putting out hit songs for decades. It reminded me that he was an incredible musician who was part of the Wrecking Crew. It reminded me that he had even been in the Beach Boys for a while. Campbell was a musician, pop star actor, and TV star. He was a complicated individual who struggled with worldly vices, damaged his relationships, but still managed to hang on tight to his faith in spite of all his failures.
It was painful to watch three of his children play in the band with him and realize that they were saying goodbye to their Dad. They embraced the joy and the pain of the situation and it was powerful to watch. It was sad to watch this unbelievably talented individual slowly fade away. The film ends with Campbell recording his very last song ever. Surviving members of the Wrecking Crew are brought in and Campbell, using cue cards, struggles to put down his final vocal take. I’ll end this post with that song. I’ll do my best to hold back the tears this time.
Grace and peace.