Mary Campbell, music writer for the AP, dies at 78
FILE - This 1988 file photo shows former AP music writer Mary Campbell in New York. Mary Campbell, who covered music and theater for four decades at The Associated Press, has died, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. She was 78 (AP Photo/File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Mary Campbell, whose childhood affection for the big bands and opera she heard on her radio set the stage for four decades as a music writer for The Associated Press, died Friday. She was 78.
Campbell died in Bloomington, Ind., according to her sister, Ruth Miller.
From symphony to rock 'n' roll, from Duke Ellington to Beverly Sills to the Dixie Chicks, Campbell covered the entertainment scene, earning respect from the artists she wrote about and devotion from the public who followed her profiles and reviews.
"Mary Campbell is a most admired reporter, not only because she writes so well but also because she knows an interesting story when she hears about it," celebrated conductor-tenor Placido Domingo once said.
At a party for the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary in the 1990s, Mary Travers politely greeted the many luminaries in attendance but spent much of the evening huddled in a corner with Campbell, catching up with her old friend.
"It will be hard to think of The Associated Press without Mary Campbell on its staff," said crooner Tony Bennett upon her retirement in 2000.
Many of her readers likely agreed.
In one of her final articles, she interviewed Joe Cocker and asked the veteran rocker, "Do you still make jerky movements onstage?"
Yes, replied Cocker, "playing an imaginary piano and air guitar. That was the frustration of not being able to play, really."
FILE - In this June 1968 file photo, AP Newsfeatures editor Mary Campbell, poses in New York. Mary Campbell, who covered music and theater for four decades at The Associated Press, has died, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. She was 78 (AP Photo/Bob Wands, File)
Campbell couldn't play a musical instrument, either, nor could she carry a tune. It didn't matter to her. She loved her role as a member of the audience, reporting on music for other music lovers.
"I write for an ordinary person like me," she told writer Tad Bartimus in an interview in 2000. "I'm not trying to be erudite. I'm trying to be enthusiastic and clear. I always feel like the person I'm writing for would be just as touched by the music or the play as I am if they were standing in my shoes."