Hear Glen Campbell's Heartbreaking Farewell Song 'Adios'

Ailing musician bids goodbye on his final album with a bittersweet Jimmy Webb tune

Glen Campbell recorded Jimmy Webb's "Adios" as the title track for his final album.

After Glen Campbell's 2011 Alzheimer's diagnosis, which he followed with the Goodbye Tour and the documentary film I'll Be Me chronicling both, the performer returned to the recording studio one final time to leave family, friends and fans worldwide a remarkable gift. Adiós, the final studio album from the six-time Grammy winner, spotlights some of Campbell's favorite songs, most of which he had never recorded before. But rather than a collection of mere musical afterthoughts, the LP stands among Campbell's best – heartbreaking and imbued with poignancy, but sung with the same pure, sparkling vocals that are a distinguishing hallmark. Listen to the album's title track above.  

Just as Campbell's classics "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman" and "Galveston" all sprang from the fertile mind of Jimmy Webb, four of the tracks on Adiós were penned by him as well, including the title track, which was previously a Top Ten Adult Contemporary hit for Linda Ronstadt in 1990. Campbell's history with the song went back even further, according to the songwriter.

"Glen and I used to play that song all the time," Webb tells Rolling Stone Country. "We played it in dressing rooms, hotels, we played it over at his house, we played it at my house. He always loved that song. I heard 'Adiós' this morning and my wife and I both broke down and cried all over this hotel room. It's the first time we ever heard it. Carl just did something extraordinary."

The Carl to whom Webb is referring is musician, songwriter, producer and Campbell's longtime friend Carl Jackson, who helmed the Adiós sessions at Nashville's Station West studio. A member of Campbell's band from 1972 to 1984, Jackson was an 18-year-old banjo player when he and Campbell first crossed paths.

"Glen and I have been close such a long, long time," says Jackson. "I stood right beside him on every line, printed out the lyrics in big print. Sometimes we had to do a line at a time because with Alzheimer's, his memory of the lyrics, as we saw in the tour he had to use teleprompters, that went away pretty quick. But his melodies did not go away for a long time after his ability to remember actual songs. He would even remember what keys he did them in. I can't explain it."

While "Adiós" closes the album and provides its painfully perfect title, it didn't become the title cut or centerpiece of the LP until much later in the recording process. Jackson had initially expected another of the tracks, "Arkansas Farmboy," to be the title tune since it's a song that was written – by Jackson on a flight to Australia with Campbell – about the entertainer's humble beginnings, learning "In the Pines" on a "five-dollar gee-tar," he would tell Jackson in his Southern drawl.

"This album is just kind of a gift from the gods" - Jimmy Webb

"It was just one of the four Jimmy Webb songs we picked," Jackson says of "Adiós." "I didn't give that one bit of thought when we did it. It was just one of the songs that Glen loved and that I loved. I've always been a fan of that since Linda did it. And there's not a better writer than Jimmy Webb. I tried to do a little bit different arrangement than had been done before – a little bit more rolling, finger-picking guitar stuff. Not really midtempo but a little more than the way Linda had done it. 'Adiós' fell into the perfect slot, being the song to. . . close that chapter. It was something that Glen and [his wife] Kim wanted to do and I'm honored that they put their trust in me to be able to get it done."

Other highlights on the album include the Webb tunes "Postcard From Paris," "It Won't Bring Her Back" and "Just Like Always"; Campbell's duet on "Funny How Time Slips Away" with its songwriter Willie Nelson; the touching "Am I All Alone (Or Is It Only Me)," penned by Roger Miller and featuring an intro sung by the late, legendary songwriter; and a breezy take on the Fred Neil classic "Everybody's Talkin'," popularized by Harry Nilsson, its wanderlust lyrics given added weight in light of Campbell's diagnosis.

"The whole Glen story since Alzheimer's entered the picture has been sort of startlingly unique in the fact that he continued to perform and there were a lot of unexpected things that happened," says Webb. "This album is just kind of a gift from the gods. Carl is like some kind of magical person now, in my view, because he put the album together that Glen wanted to sing. And I just feel blessed that I get to hear these songs. It's like early Christmas."

Webb's songs that he penned for Glen Campbell will no doubt be a focal point of the tribute concert to the songwriter, The Cake and the Rain, named after Webb's recently released memoir, at New York's Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, May 3rd, where Webb will be joined by Glen's daughter, Ashley Campbell, along with Dwight Yoakam, Toby Keith, Graham Nash, Hanson, Art Garfunkel, Amy Grant, Judy Collins, Michael Douglas and Johnny Rivers.

Adiós will be released June 9th and is now available for pre-order.