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Jimmy Webb on Glen Campbell: 'The American Beatle, the secret link between so many artists and records'

Jimmy Webb remembered his friend and collaborator Glen Campbell in a new editorial. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Jimmy Webb remembered his friend and collaborator Glen Campbell in a new editorial. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

On Tuesday night, Variety published a stirring editorial from a heartbroken Jimmy Webb, who remembered his friend and frequent collaborator Glen Campbell, just hours after the latter's death was announced.

Webb, who penned many of Campbell's classic hits, including "Wichita Lineman," "Galveston" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," shared just a few of his many memories about his friend, whom he called "my big brother, my protector, my co-culprit, my John crying in the wilderness."

"Let the world note that a great American influence on pop music, the American Beatle, the secret link between so many artists and records that we can only marvel, has passed and cannot be replaced," Webb wrote, calling Campbell's death both an inevitable certainty and a sudden catastrophe. 

Webb wrote that Campbell's love was deep and mercurial and his friendship tenacious.

"Just thinking back I believe suddenly that the 'raison d’etre' for every Glen Campbell show was to bring every suffering soul within the sound of his voice up a peg or two," Webb said.

He concluded by asking fans to show sympathy for Campbell's family and Webb's own children, who considered the lost legend as a "wondrous uncle."

Webb said it was difficult to write through his grief. "It’s like waking up in the morning in some Kafkaesque novella and finding that half of you is missing."

But he made a simple promise regarding Campbell's legacy.

"This I can promise," Webb wrote. "While I can play a piano he will never be forgotten."

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