Glenn Frey, most famous for his work as a founding member of rock band The Eagles, has passed away at the age of 67. His band mates announced his sad death on their website and fans around the world have begun mourning this talented musician and prolific songwriter.
While members of The Eagles rotated in terms of singing the lead vocals and composing the songs they performed, Glenn Frey and Don Henley were two of the more gifted writers when it came to being able to craft a hit single. Henley has released a statement regarding his friend’s passing:
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.
Here is our list of the best songs Glenn Frey gave to the world when he was with The Eagles. Vote for your favorite in the poll below, or sound off in the Comments section.
“Desperado” was written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley for the album of the same name, released in 1973. Oddly enough, this song was not one of the singles. The ballad was used in an episode of Seinfeld to comedic effect when the boyfriend of character Elaine Benes, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, would get emotional whenever he heard the song on the radio. The song was recently performed by country artist Miranda Lambert at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors, where The Eagles were set to be honored. However, due to Glenn Frey’s illness, the band decided to postpone receiving their honor until the next year. Sadly, Glenn Frey will not be there for what is sure to be an emotional event at the 2016 Kennedy Center Honors.
Co-writer Don Henley explained that “Hotel California” was inspired by their love for the group Steely Dan. Glenn Frey and Don Felder also have songwriting credits on this monster hit from 1977. The song has several myths surrounding it, many of which have been debunked. During the documentary film released in 2013 called History of the Eagles, Henley described the tune as “A journey from innocence to experience…that’s all.”
‘Take It Easy’
The famous lyrics from “Take It Easy,” written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, include the line “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.” The actual town of Winslow has erected a statue of a guy standing on…you guessed it…a corner, paying tribute to the Eagles song. It’s now a popular tourist attraction. Browne was writing the song for his solo album and was not able to finish it, so he enlisted the help of Frey, who lived near him at the time. Frey finished some verses and performed it with The Eagles. Then the song rose to the number twelve position on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts.
Also on The Eagles’ album Desperado, “Tequila Sunrise” was co-written by Frey and Henley. Within the liner notes for the album The Very Best of the Eagles, the songwriters had this to say about their composition:
DON: I believe that was a Glenn title. I think he was ambivalent about it because he thought that it was a bit too obvious or too much of a cliché because of the drink that was so popular then. I said “No — look at it from a different point of view. You’ve been drinking straight tequila all night, and the sun is coming up!” It turned out to be a really great song. The changes that Glenn came up with for the bridge are very smart. That’s one song I don’t get tired of. “Take another shot of courage” refers to tequila — because we used to call it “instant courage.” We very much wanted to talk to the ladies, but we often didn’t have the nerve, so we’d drink a couple of shots and suddenly it was, “Howdy, ma’am.”
GLENN: I love the song. I think the goal of any songwriter is to make a song appear seamless, to never show the struggle. Nothing should sound forced. “Tequila Sunrise” was written fairly quickly, and I don’t think there’s a single chord out of place.
‘Life in the Fast Lane’
Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh joined Glenn Frey and Don Henley on writing duties for “Life in the Fast Lane” in 1976, and he continues to play the song when he’s touring solo. After the song was released, the phrase of “living life in the fast lane” entered the public lexicon, to describe someone flaunting their wealth or taking risks.
This song was released in January 1975 and was written once again by Frey and Henley. In a conversation with writer and filmmaker Cameron Crowe in 2003, Don Henley talked about the process for coming up with the music and gave Glenn most of the credit for writing it:
“Lyin’ Eyes” is one of the songs written when Glenn and I were roommates in a house we rented up in Trousdale. It was built in 1942 by the actress Dorothy Lamour. Glenn and I lived at opposite ends of the house and we actually converted a music room to a full-on recording studio. The house was located at the highest point on the hill and we had a 360-degree panorama. In the daytime, we could see snowcapped peaks to the east and the blue Pacific to the west. At night, the twinkling lights of the city below were breathtaking. The place had a couple of nicknames — “the House With the Million Dollar View” and “The Eagles’ Nest,” of course. We had some great times up there. As for “Lyin’ Eyes,” Glenn’s pretty much responsible for that track and for the title, the choruses. I helped out with the verses and perhaps with the melody. It’s really Glenn’s baby.
‘New Kid in Town’
The Eagles were aware that their success in 1976 could be fleeting, so this song was written by Henley, Frey, and J.D. Souther with the understanding that they could easily be replaced. Whether it was by a new band or a new man in their relationships, the songwriters were keeping an eye out for their possible successors.
In 1979, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, J.D. Souther, and Bob Seger composed “Heartache Tonight.” The song was a huge hit and climbed to the top spot of the Billboard Top 100 charts. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group that year.
‘Busy Being Fabulous’
The most recent Eagles song on our list, “Busy Being Fabulous” is off their 2007 album Long Road Out of Eden and is performed by Don Henley. Henley co-wrote the song with Glenn Frey, giving The Eagles another radio hit. The music video depicts a woman who is neglecting her relationship with a man while trying to schmooze her way through Los Angeles. Aside from the performance shots of the band looking very dapper in their black suits, each member plays a character within the video’s story. Glenn Frey is a bartender at a swanky party. It’s great to see the band having fun acting and playing music together.