Glenn Frey – An Eagle That Will Fly Forever

Glenn Frey – An Eagle That Will Fly Forever

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Formed back in 1971, the Eagles became one of the biggest Rock-n-Roll bands of all-time. Originally founded by Drummer Don Henley and Guitarist Glenn Frey, sadly, the world has lost one-half of that duo in 2016 with the passing of Frey on January 18th. Considered by fans and his contemporaries an irreplaceable songwriter, Frey last released a studio album in 2012 with After Hours, and had been performing live solo and with the Eagles in recent years. That is why, like any death, his is untimely at sixty-seven years old from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis (inflammation in the digestive tract), and pneumonia while recouping from intestinal surgery. Now the music world mourns the lost of this Rock-n-Roll legend.

Glenn Lewis Frey was born December 6th, 1948 in Detroit, Michigan and grew up South in Royal Oaks, Michigan learning keyboards under the tutelage of famed concert pianist, John Harrison, quickly becoming a fixture in the Rock scene of Detroit. Forming the short-lived band the Subterraneans, which was named after Jack Kerouac’s novel, the band included fellow Dondero High School Class of ’66 students Doug Gunsch and Bill Barnes on guitar, Jeff Hodge on bass, and Doug Edwards on drums.

Capitol Records
Capitol Records
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Amos Records

After graduating, Frey joined another local band, the Four of Us, a Byrds-like group. Later, he moved on to form the Mushrooms with Jeff Burrows and Subterraneans mates Bill Barnes, Doug Gunch, and Larry Mintz, garnishing attention from their Bob Seger-written single, “Such a Lovely Child,” landing them TV gigs. Seger would become a mentor, occasional collaborator, and lifelong friend to Frey. Not resting on his laurels, Frey formed Heavy Metal Kids (not to be confused with the British band of the same name) with Lead Guitarist Paul Kelcourse, Pianist Steve Burrows, Bassist Jeff Alborell, and Drummer Lance Dickerson.

Moving to Los Angeles, Frey was introduced to J. D. Souther by her sister, Alexandra Sliwin of Honey Ltd. Frey began to grow as a musician/songwriter when he wrote “Run, Boy, Run” and “Rebecca,” as well as co-wrote “Bring Back Funky Women” with Souther for the 1969 self-titled Longbranch Pennywhistle album, which he fronted. Almost simultaneously, he met Jackson Browne, who lived in the same apartments as he and Souther. Through the paper-thin walls, he further learned the craft of songwriting from Browne. He and Browne would also become friends and later collaborate to write the Eagles’ hit “Take It Easy.”

Continuing to grow, it was 1970 when Linda Ronstadt needed a backup band. It was at this time, Frey joined with future Eagles mate, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon. He and Henley stayed with Ronstadt through her 1971 tour. Upon returning from the tour, Frey and Henley went on to create the Eagles with himself on guitar (specifically a Gibson Les Paul Junior he affectionately nicknamed Old Black) and keyboards, and Henley on drums. The duo, working together, joined their talents of songwriting and singing for a long list of song including “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Already Gone,” “Tequila Sunrise,” and “Lyin’ Eyes.” The diversity of the two sharing vocals prove to be successful and make the Eagles one of the most popular Rock -n-Roll bands around.

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Asylum
Asylum
Asylum

In regards to songwriting, Frey had said that he and Henley literally agonized over lyrics just to get them right. He also said he loved the camaraderie of working together with all of his bandmates. On the same note, Frey’s contemporary and collaborator Jackson Browne, when reminiscing on writing “Taking It Easy,” stated he had the beginning of the song, but without Frey finishing it, it would not be the classic it is today. In addition, Bob Seger echoed that similar sentiment by saying Frey was like a cheerleader, always encouraging as a songwriter…even after he surpassed Seger. Seger continues by saying Frey’s writing came from his soul.

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Asylum
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Asylum

As with any band that is close and stays together for years, there tends to be a love/hate relationship that develops, the Eagles was one of them. Unfortunately, after nine years, they broke up, and Frey embarked on a successful solo career which saw him collaborate with Harold Faltermeyer on 1984’s hit “The Heat is On” from Beverly Hills Cop. Scoring big again, “You Belong to the City” and “Smuggler’s Blues” were both showcased on the TV series Miami Vice, attaining hit status in the charts. Further contributing to Miami Vice, Frey guest-starred in the episode titled Smuggler’s Blues. Other notable soundtracks he lent his talents to include 1989’s Ghostbusters II and 1991’s Thelma & Louise. In all, Frey released eighteen singles such as “The One You Love,” “Sexy Girl,” “True Love,” and “Soul Searchin,” along with five studio albums including 1982’s No Fun Aloud, 1988’s Soul Searchin’, as well as his final solo album in 2012, After Hours.

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Asylum
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Universal

With it being known the Eagles would not likely get back together unless hell froze over, Frey tried out his acting chops beginning with the aforementioned Miami Vice episode, and continuing with the Wiseguy episode, “Dead Dog Arc,” South of Sunset, and in the late 1990s, a guest-starring role on Nash Bridges. Furthermore, in 2002, he appeared on HBO’s Arli$$. Frey did not stop with the small screen, with his first foray in film being his starring role in 1986’s Let’s Get Harry and his next film being 1997’s Jerry Maguire where Frey played the frugal general manager of the Arizona Cardinals football team.

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L to R: Don Johnson and Glen Frey on set of Miami Vice Smuggler’s Blues

Of course, being a Rock icon, Frey was referred to in a variety of films. There is The Dude’s famous line from 1998’s The Big Lebowski about hating The Eagles (and the irate taxi driver who defends them), all while “Peaceful Easy Feeling” plays softly in the background. Frey even served as one of the inspirations for Guitarist Russell Hammond in Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous (2000).

Although it was thought to be impossible for an Eagles reunion, following a video shoot for Travis Tritt’s cover of “Take It Easy” in 1993, Frey and Henley were brought together again. As Tritt recalls, the shoot was a success and both Frey and Henley realized they did not hate each of as they once thought. As a result, in 1994, hell froze over, and the Eagles reunited. Fittingly, they released the live album, titled  Hell Freezes Over, a record that featured a new single, “Get Over It,” along with memorable cover “Love Will Keep Us Alive,” and an unforgettable rendition of “Hotel California.” The album peaked at #1 on US Billboard 200 charts, and yielded a hit single in “Love Will Keep Us Alive,” proving the world thoroughly missed the Eagles. Fortunately, the band would remain an active entity through much of the next two decades, receiving induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and in 2007 released Long Road Out of Eden, their first full-length studio album since 1979.

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Geffen
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Polydor

Frey and the Eagles kept busy through most of the past two years on the History of the Eagles tour beginning on July 3, 2013 and concluding on July 29, 2015. A tour that had five legs, it included a total of one-hundred forty two shows, and could be viewed as a outstanding final memory of Frey. With such a rich story filled with a Rock-n-Roll journey many can only dream about, Frey will be an influence for years to come. Known to play guitar, piano, and saxophone, Frey was a multi-talented musician like no other. Having written or co-written some of the most memorable Rock songs over last forty years, he will not be forgotten for his impassioned approach. While he left the material world entirely too soon, his music will indeed live forever.

Photo credit: Lorrie Sullivan
Photo credit: Lorrie Sullivan

For more on Glenn Frey: Glennfreyafterhours.comFacebook

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Jason Rhode
[email protected]

Jason, a Horror and Children Story writer and artist specializing in alternative art, was adopted from the Bronx, NY, and currently lives in Midland, TX with his wife, Joey, and their two dogs, Chewy and Hollywood.

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