SO it’s adios to Glen Campbell, whose songs were the soundtrack for many a summer holiday.

“Play the cowboy one, Dad,” my cousin’s little girl used to say during their annual road trip to Cornwall, accompanied by Glen and his guitar en route.

News of the country legend’s death this week was met by an outpouring of affection, with many tributes coming from those who, like me, grew up listening to his songs in the back of a car. Whenever I hear Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy and Wichita Lineman, I'm sitting on the back seat of our little car, piled up with cases and sleeping bags on long hot journeys through France. Those hauntingly beautiful songs - played on a leatherette-covered cassette player, balanced on the dashboard - became synonymous with family camping trips.

Tributes to the nine-times Grammy winner suggest that many people have similar memories of his music. Dads, in particular, have long been Glen Campbell fans. “Nine Stone Cowboy” sang mine, to my mother’s acute embarrassment, when her plodding pony trek around a Scottish campsite was accompanied by a loudspeaker blasting out Campbell’s country classic.

What is particularly sad about his death is that it was from Alzheimer’s Disease. A gifted singer and musician - “he could play anything”, said Dolly Parton in a heartfelt tribute yesterday - he was diagnosed with the disease in 2011 and gave fans a moving finale on his Goodbye Tour. He faced this condition, unrelenting in its cruelty, with dignity, and a guitar in his hand. His final album was simply titled Adios.

How poignant that he suffered from a condition that strips the memory, yet his music evokes so many precious memories. What a legacy he leaves in those lovely, timeless songs, which bring a tear to the eye or get the feet tapping in just a few chords.

There is nothing so powerful as music in taking us to moments in our past. When my mother was lost in the dark world of dementia, the one thing she still gained pleasure from was music. I’d put on a CD of a musical or a singer she liked and her face lit up. Even when she lost her sight, and could no longer speak, she'd smile and try to sing whenever music stirred her soul. She'd sung in choirs and on the stage - music was a big part of her life.

I once went to a music-themed memory group, attended by people with dementia, and was very moved by the effects of a sing-along. Smiles broke out on faces as people joined in with familiar, jaunty songs. "I sang this at school," one old lady whispered to me.

The Alzheimer's Society's Singing for the Brain service uses singing to bring people together in a friendly, stimulating environment. Through singing, people with dementia can express themselves and socialise, and the gatherings also involve vocal warm-ups and breathing exercises. It's an excellent project.

Some songs take us to happy places. Some are so painful we can't bear to hear them. Songs remind us of first dances, school discos, teenage crushes, best friends, break-ups, holidays, having babies, leaving home, going home, celebrations, finest hours and final hours. My "Desert Island Discs" reflect various stages in my life, from the Kate Bush tracks I played as a girl in my bedroom to the New Order song I danced to at university, to the West Side Story number that makes me think of my mum.

Life is messy and unpredictable, but music is a constant companion. Just as Glen was, singing about Galveston in our little car on holiday.

* WHENEVER I see someone with a sleek, well cut bob I get hair envy. The bob has long been a classic style; in the 1920s it symbolised independence, in the 60s Vidal Sassoon devised the geometric cut sported by Mary Quant and Twiggy, the Noughties gave us Victoria Beckham's choppy 'Pob' and today it's the signature style of the likes of Taylor Swift and Anna Wintour.

My first styled haircut was a 'Purdey' from The New Avengers. Bobs are fab, but high maintenance. You can be just a wonky fringe away from Joanna Lumley... or Joan of Arc.

* I READ this week about a couple celebrating their 75th wedding anniversary, who claim their long, happy marriage is down to never having an argument.

As a young reporter on a weekly newspaper, I covered Golden Wedding anniversaries and whenever I asked about the secret to 50 years of wedded bliss, the response would often be: "We never go to bed on a cross word".

My late parents, who would have celebrated their 52nd anniversary this week, laughed together often, hugged each other often and, although they bickered occasionally like most couples, any cross words were soon forgotten.

They were lucky to find that kind of love, but their care and respect for each other was just as important over their 49 years of married life.