When you have the legacy of hit country music that Glen Campbell had, it takes more than one country star to tackle a tribute. That’s why at the 2016 ACM Honors, a whole team of country music’s best voices assembled to honor the artist who was the recipient of the ACM’s Career Achievement Award.
And boy, did they do it in style! Keith Urban, who often sites Glen as a major influence in his career, was joined by Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and Toby Keith for a medley of hits that included fan favorites like “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Southern Knights,” “Gentle On My Mind” and the classic “Rhinestone Cowboy.”
Now, the show actually taped a few weeks prior to the air date on the night of Sept. 9. And in typical television taping fashion, it was also shot out of order to accommodate artist’s schedules, production concerns, etc.
The Glen Campbell tribute was held for the end of the night, though. That could have been to ensure that the majority of the crowd remained in their seats since many had work and school the next day, or it could have been to let the energy and anticipation build. If it was the latter, mission accomplished. The packed Ryman Auditorium was on their feet, partially from sitting in the hard church pews all night, but mostly because it was such a great performance for such a pivotal artist in the format.
Prior to the show, Keith reminded journalists, “We always talk about pop country and what’s going on, but you look at someone like Glen Campbell and what he did with ‘The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour,’ he was light years ahead of his time.”
Indeed, he was. While the musical tribute was mostly upbeat, there was an inherent sadness as Glen, who was in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease at the time, was unable to attend the event. His children, however, joined Keith, Blake, Dierks and Toby onstage to perform with the all-star band, and it was magical.
We sadly said goodbye to Glen Campbell, country music’s ultimate Rhinestone Cowboy, on Aug. 8, 2017, at the age of 81.