Eagles founder and songwriter Glenn Frey has died. He was 67 years old. According to a post on his website, Frey “succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia.”
Frey formed Eagles in 1971 with drummer Don Henley, guitarist Bernie Leadon and bassist Randy Meisner, first performing as Linda Ronstadt’s backing band. Joe Walsh would later join the band in 1975, replacing Leadon, and Timothy Schmidt joined in 1977, replacing Meisner. The band became country-rock superstars, thanks to hits such as “Hotel California,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Take It Easy.” Their Greatest Hits 1971-195 compilation was the best selling album of the 20th Century.
After Eagles disbanded in 1980, Frey embarked on a solo career, and scored hits of his own with “The Heat Is On” and “You Belong to the City.” The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Frey’s bandmate, Don Henley, has shared a message on his Facebook account in tribute to the late musician:
“He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed. But, 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. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved his wife and kids more than anything. We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year “History of the Eagles Tour” to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone. I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet. It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some.”
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.