Glenn Frey, Eagles guitarist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, passed away Monday. He was just 67 years old. A singer, songwriter, producer and actor, but best known as a founding member of rock band the Eagles, during the seventies, Frey played guitar with the band, as well as piano and keyboards; alongside Don Henley, Frey was one of the primary singers of the Eagles, he sang lead vocals on songs such as “Take It Easy”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, “Tequila Sunrise”, “Already Gone”, “Lyin’ Eyes”, “New Kid in Town”, and “Heartache Tonight”. On January 18, 2016, Frey died at the age of 67 in New York City of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia while recovering from intestinal surgery.
The Detroit-born Frey performed with groups in the Motor City area before relocating to Los Angeles in the late Sixties. Frey would eventually meet and live with J.D. Souther — his partner in the short-lived duo Longbranch Pennywhistle — and singer-songwriter Jackson Browne. It was Souther who encouraged Linda Ronstadt, his girlfriend at the time, to hire Frey and three other artists – drummer Don Henley, bassist Randy Meisner and guitarist Bernie Leadon – to serve as her backing band during a 1971 tour. When the trek concluded, the Eagles were born. A year later, the Eagles’ inaugural lineup released their 1972 self-titled LP, featuring the Frey- and Browne-penned “Take It Easy” and the Frey-sung “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” Eagles, one of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, set the band on a trajectory toward being one of the biggest selling acts ever, a reputation cemented the following year with the arrival of Desperado. The latter album featured multiple hit singles co-written by Frey, including “Tequila Sunrise” and the title track.
Frey also had a hand in writing the Eagles’ “One of These Nights,” “Take It to The Limit” and “Lyin’ Eyes,” with the guitarist contributing lead vocals to the latter. The Eagles would reach their peak in 1976 with their landmark Hotel California, with the title track – penned by Frey, Henley and guitarist Don Felder – winning the Grammy for Record of the Year; “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane” (the latter written by Frey, Henley and Joe Walsh) would become classic rock staples. In 1979, the Eagles released The Long Run, which featured the last songs they would record together until the 1994 reunion live LP Hell Freezes Over. On Long Run, Frey provided vocals on the album’s most lasting single, “Heartache Tonight,” while also co-writing the title track and the Timothy B. Schmit-sung “I Can’t Tell You Why.” The following year, a fallout between Frey and Felder ultimately resulted in the group disbanding.
After the Eagles disbanded, Frey achieved solo success in the 1980s, especially with two No. 2 hits. In 1984, he recorded in collaboration with Harold Faltermeyer the worldwide hit, “The Heat Is On”, the main theme from the Eddie Murphy’s action comedy film Beverly Hills Cop; then, Frey performed “You Belong to the City” (from the television series Miami Vice, the soundtrack of which stayed on top of the U.S. album charts for 11 weeks in 1985). His other contribution to the soundtrack, “Smuggler’s Blues”, hit No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Frey also contributed the song “Flip City” to the Ghostbusters II soundtrack, and “Part of Me, Part of You” to the soundtrack for Thelma & Louise. During his solo career, Frey had 12 charting songs in the U.S. Top 100. Eleven of those were written with Jack Tempchin who also wrote “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. In the late 1990s, Frey founded a record company, Mission Records, with attorney Peter Lopez. Frey never released any of his own work on the label and the company has since disbanded.
The Eagles broke up around 1980 and reunited in 1994, when they released a new album titled Hell Freezes Over. The album had live tracks and four new songs. The Hell Freezes Over Tour followed. The Eagles’ album Long Road out of Eden was released in 2007, and Frey participated in the Eagles’ The Long Road out of Eden Tour (2008–2011). In 2013, the two-part documentary History of the Eagles, directed by Alison Ellwood and co-produced by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney, was aired on Showtime. The documentary won an Emmy Award in 2013 for Outstanding Sound Mixing For Nonfiction Programming. Frey is survived by his wife Cindy and children Taylor, Deacon and Otis. A memorial for Frey is currently being planned.