Just as we mourn the loss in the music industry of David Bowie this past week, death has struck again on another legendary musician. Glenn Frey, known best for his contributions as vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist for the one of the most successful bands of all time, the Eagles, has said goodbye to the world due to complications following intestinal surgery.
Glenn Frey founded the Eagles in 1971 with Don Henley, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon and ignited a glowing flame in the music industry that is still felt to this day. Throughout the bands span, the Eagles also have featured Timothy Schmit, Joe Walsh, and Don Felder. Frey and the Eagles went on to claim six Grammy’s, five AMA’s, and sell over 150 million records worldwide. Frey’s voice is heard most prominently on “Take it Easy,” “Already Gone,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Tequilla Sunrise,” and is listed as a co-writer for the majority of the Eagles’ widely celebrated tracks. He also led a successful solo career, which spawned after the Eagles 1980 breakup, which boasted songs such as “The One You Love,” “The Heat Is On,” and “You Belong to the City.”
As Frey and the Eagles reunited in 1994, it reminded us just how special the Los Angeles based band was. The Eagles’ tenure demonstrates how they spoke to the generation of the past and still continue to speak to old souls like myself today. It brings us all to a time where the Billboard Hot 100 actually meant something and the musical harmonies produced by bands like the Eagles were felt upon indescribably, before the information age struck. The Eagles toured all the way through the summer of 2015, which marked the long lasting journey that Frey and the band instilled and survived.
The 1960’s belonged to none other than the Beatles. The way I see it, the 1970s were owned by the Eagles. It’s hard to think that a band together for less than 10 years (the Beatles) completely revolutionized and continue to dominate the music industry. The Eagles nearly followed that route in their initial breakup in 1980, but the old friends reunited as the band has played from 1994 to the present. In just that short time in the 70s, the Eagles put out tunes that would last a lifetime.
And who was at the head of it all throughout their history?
Songs like “Take it Easy” and “Lyin’ Eyes” (both co-written and vocalized by Frey) put out incredible California vibe which are both combined of laid back guitarist rhythms mixed with a beautifully simplistic lyrical melodies. On the other hand, songs like “Desperado” and “Hotel California” (also co-written by Frey) offer story-telling musical masterpieces which describe the tolls that being a rock star can take on one, while also placing celebrated piano accompaniments (Desperado) and a distinct guitar rhythm that will travel across decades (Hotel California).
These, among many other Eagles songs, were some of the most pivotal songs of the 1970s. These were the songs people were talking about. How I only wish I could travel to 1976 on the release day of “Hotel California.”
As news of this tragic event came to my attention late yesterday afternoon, I felt it was only right that before I could publish anything, I would get my newly acquired turntable out to gather some thoughts. I listened to both “Their Greatest Hits: 1971-1975” and “Hotel California” in their respective entirety, and I was reminded once again why music is such a powerful thing. It’s what everyone looks for when they listen to their music of preference. People want something that’s going to take them somewhere, whether it’s to another time, place, dream, or even relate you to some sense of reality. That’s what the Eagles have done for me, and will continue to do.
And I know I’m not only speaking for myself when I say that. It’s an incredibly sad few weeks for the world of music. David Bowie was the story last week, now we are all feeling the emptiness that Glenn Frey’s absence brings upon us.
What I can say is thank you, Mr. Frey. Thank you to you and all of your colleagues over the years who have touched upon so many. What I, and many others can do, is celebrate your life and everything you’ve done.
People come and go, but the music lasts forever. That’s not going to change.