R.I.P. Glenn Frey, founder and lead singer of The Eagles at age 67

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    (January 18, 2016) If you lived in the 1970s, as I did, you couldn't turn on the radio without hearing the laid back So Cal sounds of that decade's biggest group, The Eagles. And for those of us from Detroit, our love of that group all began with one of our own, Glenn Frey, a man who, over a half century, created dozens of now classic pop, rock, country and soul songs. Frey first came to the attention of folks here as a teenager, when he joined the band of another local legend, Bob Seger. So it hurt a lot when I read the following posting on The Eagles website this afternoon:

    (January 18, 2016) If you lived in the 1970s, as I did, you couldn't turn on the radio without hearing the laid back So Cal sounds of that decade's biggest group, The Eagles. And for those of us from Detroit, our love of that group all began with one of our own, Glenn Frey, a man who, over a half century, created dozens of now classic pop, rock, country and soul songs. Frey first came to the attention of folks here as a teenager, when he joined the band of another local legend, Bob Seger. So it hurt a lot when I read the following posting on The Eagles website this afternoon:

    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. Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia. The Frey family would like to thank everyone who joined Glenn to fight this fight and hoped and prayed for his recovery. Words can neither describe our sorrow, nor our love and respect for all that he has given to us, his family, the music community & millions of fans worldwide.

    The Eagles were the epitome of 70s rock. And, along with Don Henley, Glenn Frey was the absolute leader of the group, both in their 70s heyday and in the reunited group that has been playing sold out performances every few years since the mid-90s.  An act that was at the top of their game for several decades, The Eagles were known for their melodic, at times defiant, and always exquisitely performed pop, rock, country and even soul music. It was tough to match their harmonies, and tougher to match their songwriting. To this day, their songs, from "One of These Nights" to "Best of My Love" to their most famous number, "Hotel California," remain staples on both rock and adult contemporary radio. Their Greatest Hits album is the second biggest selling album of all time, following Michael Jackson's Thriller, and their concerts are legendary. And even though they were a rock band, a whole generation of country music stars claim them as among the biggest influences of that genre, and soul and R&B artists routinely sing their praises.  

    Frey was heavily influenced by Detroit's 60s soul music scene, and he later returned the favor. Eagles' songs were covered by dozens of major soul music artists, and the early 80s song, "I Can't Tell You Why," became a Top 10 charting soul hit for the group -- and repeated chart success when later covered by artists such as Howard Hewett and Gerald Alston.

    Frey was Detroit-tough, a drinker and a swearer who rarely hesitated to make his opinion known. But he was also an immensely talented performer with an uncanny sense of how to turn a thought or a passing phrase into a song that would last a lifetime. Hearing him describe the inspiration for songs like "Life In The Fast Lane" or "Take It Easy" was a lesson in songwriting that was nothing less than what could be learned from Lennon & McCartney, Smokey Robinson or Bob Dylan. He was that good.

    Glenn Frey was a one of a kind artist who will be mourned by music fans around the world, including this Detroit soul music fan. Godspeed, Glenn.

    By Chris Rizik

     
     
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