Tuesday, October 21, 2014

An Emotional Look at Glen Campbell’s Alzheimer’s Battle

As music legend Glen Campbell enters the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease, his family is giving the world a rare glimpse inside his battle with the disease.  This fall, country music’s legendary rhinestone cowboy will take his last bow in a raw, warm, emotional, and at times harrowing documentary simply titled, Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me / directed by James Keach (producer of “Walk the Line”).

In 2011, when Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he joined forces with his family to fight the biggest battle of his life. Glen and his wife of 32 years, Kim Woolen, made history by going public with the diagnosis – the first time a major American celebrity would share this experience with the world. The Campbell family then embarked on a short “Goodbye Tour,” but the three-week engagement turned into an emotional and triumphant 151-show nationwide tour de force documented the entire way.

This epic human drama about the undying bond between Glen and Kim, and their unwavering caring for each other, chronicles a story of love, resilience and the power of song.

Glen Campbell and his wife of 32 years, Kim Woolen // Photo Credit: The Daily News Online
When asked early on {in the filming} – which he was stage 2 in the disease at that time–  how he’s handling his diagnosis, I couldn’t help but smile at his answer...  “I have cried.  And I have laughed.  Laughing is a hell of a lot better!”
But as time passes and the disease progresses to stage four, the pressure of performing takes its toll — His frustration and confusion sometimes spills over into angry rants. As well as emotional conversations that no one can watch without shedding a tear…
Glen: “With Alzheimer’s, I think that’s probably one of the worse things. That people have that. What an incredible blessing that would be if we could get people to understand that and help the people who are/do have Alzheimer’s.”
Reporter:  “Glen … that came from your heart, didn’t it?  Do you ever get the blues, Glen?”
Glen: “Yeah. I do.”  And then he cried.

 The documentary is raw. They didn’t cut out the truth.  They kept the hard times.  The worst times.  The evil side the disease has.  They wanted people to see the effects the disease carries.  And they also take it to Capital Hill.
With Daughter Ashley at his side, the dueling duo make a touching appeal before a Congressional committee for more funding to fight the disease, which is growing exponentially.

Clinton, who is onboard with Congress spending billions on biomedical research says of Glen’s Goodbye Tour: “[He] says, here I am. Here’s what’s happening to me. I’m going out with a smile on my face and a song in my heart and I’m sharing this with you so you will know. So you will know.” “And that is his enduring legacy more than anything”.  The courage he's demonstrating by letting the world see what it is to live with Alzheimer's disease.

GLEN CAMPBELL…I’LL BE ME is the true tale of how America’s greatest country star would not give up his music or his family, against all odds.

It is repeated over and over how according to experts on Alzheimer’s … it is music that has helped Glen stay as strong as he can for as long as he can.  Often people questioned how a man can walk onstage, play for an hour-and-a-half the most amazing concert he’s ever put on, but then not know how to find the bathroom in his own home.  He understands music.  But now, at late-stage 6 Alzheimers – everything else is gone.  He doesn’t know what conversations are about anymore.

The film features those who know and love Glen, including Bruce Springsteen, Bill Clinton, The Edge, Paul McCartney, Jay Leno, Vince Gill, Jimmy Webb, Blake Shelton, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Steve Martin, Chad Smith and Taylor Swift among many others. Rare vintage footage and extraordinary new performances of Glen’s most beloved hits immerse this moving cinematic account in the overwhelming talent of this humble family man. With joy and a tireless sense of humor, Glen and his family live each moment in the present while preparing for the future, all while playing their music to sold out venues on a star spangled voyage spanning the country from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl.

My favorite quote from Glen – which explains how he’s handled his diagnosis the entire time…
Interviewer:  “How’s the Alzheimer’s coming along Glen?”
Glen:  “Oh, it’s fine, yeah.  I gave ‘em a left hook.  [I just can’t remember anything]”

When on stage, Glen often patted the back of his neck - a strange sight explained by Kim Woolen. It happens when the crowd cheers him, the hairs back there stand up and tingle. It gives him goosebumps.  It shows just how much he’s feeling the crowd.  It’s a feeling that might stir up in you after watching this emotional, yet rewarding documentary.

The documentary ends with Glen recording his final song heartbreakingly titled, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.” The ballad's devastating lyrics detail Campbell's struggle with the illness along with personal home video and performance footage from throughout Campbell's life. The result is a truly poignant experience.  "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" was penned specifically for the upcoming documentary, which opens in New York and Nashville on October 24th.  A nationwide release is to follow in more than 50 cities in the coming months.

I could go on and on about Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.  But I have to stop.  This has already turned into the longest blog post I’ve ever written and I still don’t feel like I’ve tugged on your heartstrings enough to persuade you into watching this film.  As a blogger, I am blessed to be able to review products before they are released.  And I am often compensated to review those products which would hopefully, in turn, get you to buy that product.  But this one is different.
While Glen Campbell may not know or realize who he is now … I just want to say that I am a bigger fan now than I was before.  And you will be too after watching the film. You'll laugh. You'll get angry. You'll cry a lot. And you'll sing along. And then you'll pray. You'll pray for the rhinestone cowboy and his beautiful family.

To show my love and appreciation for Glen Campbell,  I (along with my friends at Propeller Consulting) are going to give away one blessed reader of my blog a 5-song EP soundtrack from the film.
All you have to do is comment below what your favorite Glen Campbell song is.  If you can narrow it down to just one.

Good luck.  And God Bless.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

1 comment:

  1. Can you Fool...Love this song...not a chart topper but touches me every time I hear it.