So far, it’s been a really rough 2016 for rock music.
Glenn Frey, one of the founding members of the Eagles, arguably one of the most successful rock bands of the 1970s (and beyond), died Monday. He was 67.
“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our comrade, Eagles founder, Glenn Frey, in New York City on Monday, January 18th, 2016,” read a statement from the band on its website. “Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. Words can neither describe our sorrow, nor our love and respect for all that he has given to us, his family, the music community and millions of fans worldwide.”
The Eagles are, at the moment, on a hiatus as Texas native Don Henley tours behind his most recent solo album, Cass County. (It’s unclear as of this writing what Frey’s death means for the future of the band, but it’s difficult to imagine the Eagles continuing without one of its founding members.)
The Dallas-based Henley released a poignant statement shortly following the news of Frey’s death.
In part, Henley said, “Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit.” (You can read the full statement on Entertainment Weekly’s website.)
The Eagles had wrapped its global, two-year “History of the Eagles” tour in mid-2015, which stopped through Dallas twice for a total of three shows at American Airlines Center, the last of which was in February 2014.
Of the first stop, in Oct. 2013, I wrote in my review: “All of the Eagles are now in their mid-to-late 60s, and time is beginning to take its toll. Those once bold voices, locked in gorgeous union, now struggle to scale the same heights as before. Granted, no one enjoys contemplating mortality — of the literal or artistic variety — but knowing, as has been hinted in interviews, this could be the band’s final hurrah cast a poignant shadow over even the bumpiest moments.
“Given a choice, everyone would like to write their own version of history, and define their time on Earth. Watching the Eagles attempt just such a feat Friday was a stark reminder that, sometimes, such an undertaking is far easier said than done.”
Here’s a taste of Frey’s signature songcraft, in the form of the Eagles’ debut single, Take It Easy, a tune he co-wrote with Jackson Browne.