By Keith Sharp
This is getting morbid, another day, and another lost rock icon. First it was Joe Cocker, then Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister, then David Bowie and Celine Dion’s manager/husband Rene Angelil and now Eagles’ guitarist and co-founder Glenn Frey. Also add to this two near fatalities on the Canuck side with Glass Tiger’s Alan Frew surviving a stroke and Kim Mitchell recovering from a heart attack.
It’s sad to say it but we are getting to a stage where rock legends from the Seventies and Eighties are reaching a vulnerable age where we have to anticipate many more established stars taking their final bows in the near future.
In the case of Glenn Frey, who died Monday at the age of 67 from a combination of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, he had been ill for some time with intestinal problems which had resulted in major surgery being performed last November. It was a clear signal something was seriously wrong when The Eagles bowed out of the Kennedy Arts Centre Awards December 6th citing Frey’s failing health and these symptoms took a turn for the worst in the past couple of days.
“He was like a brother to me and like most families there were some dysfunction but the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken,” commented vocalist/drummer and co-founder Don Henley to TMZ.
Ironically, it was constant feuding between Henley and Frey which forced the Eagles to disband in 1980 following the release of six highly successful studio records and one mega greatest hits record which chalked up cumulative world sales of more than 250 million units. That split lasted 14 years in which time, both Henley and Frey produced successful solo records, Frey hitting the charts with “The Heat Is On from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack starring Eddie Murphy and two tracks; “You Belong To The City” and “Smuggler’s Blues from the Miami Vice TV show soundtrack. He also played a re-occurring role in that show and also played a cameo role in the Jerry Maguire movie as the frugal Arizona Cardinals’ football General Manager.
Henley and Frey finally patched things up in 1994 and reformed with the “Long Run” version of The Eagles which featured Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Timothy B Schmidt, launching their historic, comeback Hell Freezes Over Tour which lasted two years and supported a new album of the same name which featured a rework of some established standards as well as four new songs, two of which, “Get Over It” and “Love Will Keep Us Alive” both charted strongly.
When The Eagles announced their Toronto CNE date July 11th 1994, they caused an uproar by announcing that prime tickets for the show would cost $100. Such a price was unheard of at that time and the public outrage was so strong, the band settled on a $95 ticket. These days, such a price for a major concert appearance would be considered a steal. That show featured Frey, Henley and Joe Walsh performing some of their solo hits (Frey sang “Silent Spring” and “You Belong To The City”) and the band performing newer material as well as their classics, culminating in three encores.
The Eagles were inducted into Rock’s Hall of Fame on their first ballot in 1998 and released one more record, their 2007 two-album, `Road Out Of Eden’ which they toured globally, wrapping up their last tour in 2015, their `History of the Eagles’ tour which didn’t hit any Canadian dates, the closest being Buffalo, New York on the 18th of July, Frey’s failing health curtailing any further concert activity.
The former Detroit native, whose initial claim to fame was singing back-up vocals on Bob Seger’s “Ramblin Gamblin Man hit, headed out to Los Angeles with his then girlfriend in 1970, meeting up with J.D Souther and Jackson Browne before accepting an offer to form Linda Ronstadt’s back-up band with Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meissner, a partnership which created The Eagles.
Frey will always be remembered for singing and co-writing such Eagles’ staples as “Take It Easy”, “Lyin Eyes”, “Tequila Sunrise” and “Heartache Tonight” as well as collaborating with Henley on classics like “Hotel California” and “Best Of My Love”. He leaves a wife and three children.
And for all you former Mott The Hoople fans, original drummer Dale (Buffin) Griffin died on Sunday in London after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was also 67 years old.