Oscars 2015: Glen Campbell Song Captures His Life with Alzheimer’s

"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" expresses with brutal honesty what Alzheimer's does to those who have it.

By Published on February 19, 2015

This is what lingers with actor and filmmaker James Keach from Glen Campbell’s final recording session in 2013, capturing the song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.”

“I had my cameras in there,” Keach said. “Sometimes Glen would stop and say, ‘I’m so sorry. I can’t remember.’ The interesting thing to me is that sometimes he would forget the words, but he never forgot the music. He would always hit the notes.”

Likewise, he wouldn’t always recall that he wrote the song with Julian Raymond. “He’d get through a whole sentence, and he’d say, ‘That’s really good. I like that song.’ And we’d tell him, ‘You wrote it.’ And he’d say, ‘Well, it’s really good!’ It was beautiful to watch.”

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” which Campbell wrote with producer and co-writer Raymond, just took the Grammy Award for country song and is in the running for an Academy Award for original song for its use in Keach’s documentary “Glen Campbell โ€ฆ I’ll Be Me,” which was shot largely during Campbell’s 2012-13 “Goodbye Tour” after his diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease.

The song expresses with brutal honesty what Alzheimer’s does to those who have it, and to those who love and live with them.

You’re the last person I will love

You’re the last face I will recall

And best of all, I’m not gonna miss you

“It’s the real deal, it’s not an actor playing a part,” said Keach, who directed “I’ll Be Me” and co-produced it with Trevor Albert. “Glen is singing the song from the point of view of a man who is going through this, and those are his words saying goodbye. It’s very, very moving in that sense.”

Among those rooting for Campbell come Sunday night is Elton John, who recently said of “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”: “This is not only the best song nominated; it’s one of the most beautiful songs of all time.”

Raymond crafted the lyrics in collaboration with Campbell, after working with him for the last half-dozen years as he slipped deep into the throes of a disease that affects an estimated 5 million Americans age 65 and older, a number that is expected to increase dramatically as the baby boom generation ages.

Read the article “Oscars 2015: Glen Campbell Song Captures His Life with Alzheimer’s” on latimes.com.

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