Sometimes you hear news that just… floors you. So it was today when I heard of Glenn Frey’s death. He was just 67 years old, meaning he was 12 when I was born. In a way, we grew up together. Glenn and the boys sang, I grooved and tried to sing along. Just like millions of other Eagles fans worldwide. Simply hearing this band play was in itself, a Peaceful Easy Feelin’. The Detroit boy with a country rocker’s voice has moved on without us.
I don’t usually cry when a favorite artist dies. It’s life, I remind myself. It’s supposed to happen. Today, I did though. Another time, I was 10, and Satchmo had left us. Then John Lennon was brutally ripped away, followed by George Harrison. Each of these deaths deeply impacted me. The music they gave us resonates in my soul. It’s part of my DNA.
Although I didn’t know Glenn personally, it seems he knew me. He had to… his music spoke to my own feelings so well it was eerie. We all know how certain songs take us back in time, to the period during which it penetrated our souls. Certain life events seem inextricably entwined with the music of that time, and hearing the very first note instantly takes you back to that moment when all you cared about was the music. When that favorite song came on, nothing else mattered. Whether you sang, thumped out a beat on the car’s wheel, or grooved on your air guitar, the song was it. You were in it, and it in you.
Glenn’s voice was the authoritative, identity-clad voice of the Eagles. Sure, Don Henley was the other half of this songwriting duo, but Glenn was the man. The two men fed off each other, and created some great tunes together. Glenn’s voice was masculine, yet velvety smooth, uncontrollably cool. It may be trendy to hate the Eagles, but in the 70s they were the sound.
My best buddy and I cranked up the stereo, turned on the amps my brother’s band used to practice with, and pretended to sign along with Frey and The Eagles — Lyin’ Eyes. I sang to his sister, on whom I had major designs. My charms didn’t seem to work on her, but signing into that microphone, I could close my eyes and imagine differently. I hoped she would melt when I echoed Glenn the best I could singing New Kid in Town, but we never truly connected.
As I enjoy my 22nd year married to Stacey Eagles tunes even find a way of saying how I feel about her in my life as well. I may be an Ol’ 55, but she keeps me young and updates my music library with new tunes by artists likely inspired by the artists I grew up with.
The music world lost a legend today. The Eagles sold zillions of albums, and their music remains a large part of our popular culture. But today, the Eagles died. Without Glenn Frey, these birds can no longer soar.
One night long ago, us almost-men teen fellers partied the night away out in the Arizona desert. As I drove slowly home, Tequila Sunrise came on the radio. No voice introduction to preface the tune, just the music. It finished just as the dawn gave way to daylight. A rare moment instead of what could have just been another party with the boys, and this song topped it off. Later when I became a dad, Glenn’s cover of Sea Cruise was good reason to dance wildly about the living room with my toddler Anna laughing joyously in my arms.
Thanks Glenn. It’s hard to say good bye. Peace be with you, and I hope you bring your favorite guitar with you on this tour.