Campbell was born in Van Nuys, California, and moved with his family to Paradise, California in 1966, where he began playing piano age 7. He took up trumpet in grammar school, then switched to bass guitar in high school and began performing around Northern California with his band "Music Company" which featured Scott Dugdale (original music composer for Astronomy: Observations and Theories) on drums and Steve Williams on keyboards. Later, Glynnis Talken, Campbell's future wife, joined the band for a television telethon performance for KHSL TV in Chico, California.
After two years studying music at California State University, Chico (CSU Chico) Campbell transferred to CSU Northridge to complete his studies and to be closer to the music industry.
Rich also composed and recorded soundtracks for industrial and educational films for Coronet Films and worked as a tech in several recording studios in Los Angeles. In 1983, Campbell became musical director for CBS Records group "The Pinups" produced by Peter Hauke, co-managed by the Holland-Dozier-Holland Group, and featuring Glynnis Talken, who he married in September of that year.
Then Campbell began touring as bass guitarist and vocalist for Natalie Cole in the mid-1980s including an appearance at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute at Wembley Stadium, along with various television and live concert performances, until 1989, when Campbell was hired to tour with rock group Three Dog Night.
Campbell toured with Three Dog Night until 1996, with sporadic performances as bassist and vocalist for The Dave Mason Band and The Edgar Winter Group. After a seven-week stint as a tour manager for the Ringo Starr All Starr Band in 1997, Campbell joined up with Chuck Negron, former lead vocalist with Three Dog Night, and toured and recorded with Negron through the rest of the nineties. Campbell appears on the CD "Chuck Negron Live In Concert", holding down multiple job titles including bass guitar, vocalist and ProTools engineer.
In 2000 Campbell began touring full time with The Dave Mason Band, contributing bass guitar, vocals, and tour management to the live album "Live At Sunrise (Dave Mason)".
In 2003, Campbell was hired to fill the bass guitar and vocalist slot for folk rock group America. Campbell appears with America on the "America Live at the Sydney Opera House" DVD released by Roadshow Entertainment and PBS's Soundstage which aired in summer of 2005. Rich Campbell also appears on America's double CD set Here & Now (America album) release on Sony subsidiary Burgundy Records and debuting in the Billboard Top 200 Album chart at #52 in January 2007. Campbell contributed bass guitar, vocals, and art direction to America Live In Concert: Wildwood Springs, and makes a cameo appearance on Jeff Larson's CD "Heart of the Valley" in 2009.
He is a member of the American Federation of Musicians, AFTRA, and a voting member of NARAS, and currently lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.