Marty Gamblin became close friends with Glen Campbell when he managed his Nashville operations. Gamblin has numerous photos of Campbell in his home and in his office at Tyler Construction Group.  In the photo above, Campbell is pictured with Elvis Presley when the two were in Las Vegas. News of Campbell’s death last week brought back many memories for Gamblin.
Marty Gamblin became close friends with Glen Campbell when he managed his Nashville operations. Gamblin has numerous photos of Campbell in his home and in his office at Tyler Construction Group. In the photo above, Campbell is pictured with Elvis Presley when the two were in Las Vegas. News of Campbell’s death last week brought back many memories for Gamblin.
When Philadelphia’s Derek George first arrived in Nashville in 1992 to work in the country music industry at age 18, he didn’t have enough money to purchase a guitar so he borrowed one from Glen Campbell.

Neshoba County native Marty Gamblin was managing Campbell’s Nashville operations at the time and became George’s manager. Gamblin had several of Campbell’s guitars in storage at his Nashville home and loaned one to George.

Little did George know at the time that he would one day share the stage with Campbell.

News of Campbell’s death last week brought a flood of memories to both George and Gamblin of their times together. Both have numerous photos and video clips and could talk for hours vividly describing different events they shared together, both big and small.

After learning that Campbell had taken a turn for the worse in his battle with Alzheimer’s disease, Gamblin said he went to bed each night with both his work and personal cell phones nearby awaiting the news. That call came on Tuesday, Aug. 8.

“I met Glen in an elevator at the King of the Road Hotel,” he said. “I was going to the roof to listen to Ronnie Milsap. I was a fan of Glen’s since the early 1970s.”

After working in the music industry in Los Angeles, Gamblin was hired to manage Campbell’s Nashville office around 1979.

Two or three months later, Gamblin ran into Campbell at NBC where he was doing the Glen Campbell Music Show.

“He asked me, ‘What are you doing now?’” Gamblin recalled. “I said, ‘I’ve been working for you about three months.’ He said, ‘Well, that’s good. Welcome aboard!’”

Gamblin recalled how Campbell hated staying in hotels.

“He was coming in to Nashville to record and he called and asked me if my wife Cherie and I mind if he and his wife, Kim, could come and stay with us,” he said. “We were both just country boys gone on to be city boys. Glen was comfortable in our home. He would go play golf about 7:30 each morning and then come in and rest. He would go in to the studio in the afternoon and produce until about 10 at night.”

Gamblin recalled a day when he came home to find Campbell mowing his lawn.

“He had my push lawn mower cutting my yard,” he said. “He never forgot what his mother and dad taught him.”

Campbell’s was the first real concert George ever attended.

“He was the man behind my first publishing deal,” he said. “I spent hours upon hours listening to that voice and those songs.”

George recalled how the Neshoba County-based Pearl River opened for Campbell at the Grand Palace. Sitting in the dressing room, Campbell asked Bryan White and George to play one of the songs they had written. Gamblin had just signed to manage White as well.

“Bryan was selling T-shirts for us at the time,” George recalled.

He and White nervously tuned their guitars over and over until Campbell finally asked them if they were going to ever play.

Afterwards, Campbell described George as a “good and talented kid,” Gamblin said. “He liked all the Pearl River guys.”

As the years went by, George found himself on stage with Campbell on several occasions, some of which were televised.

“He was always very outreaching and went above and beyond the call of duty for me and Bryan,” he said.

They were so close that Campbell had sets of Ping golf clubs personally made for his two young friends.

“I still play with them now,” George said, noting that Campbell was living in Arizona at the time where Ping was based.  “They were purple shafts. I didn’t play with them for a while because they were graphite shafts and Bryan kept breaking his.”

Campbell was a guitar player at heart, George said, noting that he had an uncanny ear for a great song.

“He had a cartoon character kind of personality. He would light up a room and was always entertaining if it was five people or two people in the room.”

Gamblin shared that sentiment.

“If he walked in here right now, with all these pictures of him on the walls, he’d say, ‘Hello, I’m Glen. What’s your name?’ He was never presumptuous.”

Campbell was really good with “off-the-cuff” remarks, Gamblin said, recalling someone quoting him as sayings: “The difference between talent and real talent is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”

The days following Campbell death were filled with deja vu for Gamblin as he spent the next couple of days pouring through websites and social media posts shared by friends.

He and several others in the music industry watched Campbell’s “I’ll Be Me” documentary at a theater in Madison.

Many people there were surprised to see the funny side of Campbell and many asked if it was because of the Alzheimer’s.

“They were never really around him,” he said. “He had an unbelievable sense of humor.”

Gamblin said one of his biggest regrets is that people never really knew Campbell’s playing and vocal ability range.

“He was so, so good with harmony and had incredible range,” he said.

One memory that Gamblin will always hold dear to his heart was the day his son, Caleb, was born.

“We had taken Glen’s gospel CD with us in the delivery room in Nashville where he was born. The minute the doctor handed Caleb to Cherie, Glen started singing “The Greatest Gift of All.”

George said many great people gathered around to hear Campbell tell his stories and listen to his songs over the years.

“I’m sure in heaven it is no different,” he said.

“His talent was truly dipped from the hand of God.”