EAGLES SINGER, SONGWRITER DEAD AT 67
The musician had battled arthritis, ulcerative colitis and pneumonia.
Glenn Frey, who cofounded the Eagles and with Don Henley became one of history’s most successful songwriting teams, with hits such as “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane,” has died.
new york » Glenn Frey, a rock ’ n’ roll rebel from Detroit who journeyed West, co- founded the Eagles and with Don Henley became one of history’s most successful songwriting teams with hits such as “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane,” has died.
Frey, 67, died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, the band said on its website.
He died Monday in New York. He had fought the ailments for the past several weeks, the band said.
“The Frey family would like to thank everyone who joined Glenn to fight this fight and hoped and prayed for his recovery,” a statement on the band’s website said.
Guitarist Frey and drummer Henley formed the Eagles in Los Angeles in the early 1970s, along with guitarist Bernie Leadon and bassist Randy Meisner.
Their popularity grew through much of the decade, and they embodied formany listeners the melodic Los Angeles sound despite having no native Californians in the group. Critics often dismissed them as slick and unadventurous, but their blend of mellow ballads and macho rockers gave them unusually broad appeal.
An Eagles greatest- hits collection from the mid1970s and “Hotel California,” released in 1976, have sold more than 20 million copies and are among the best- selling albums of modern times.
The impulsive Frey and more cerebral Henley shared songwriting and singing duties, with Frey’s drawling tenor featured on “Heartache Tonight,” “Already Gone” andthe group’s breakthrough hit, “Take it Easy.”
Their popularity well outlasted their breakup in 1980 and the 14- year hiatus that followed. Their records remained consistent sellers, and they were a top touring act over the last 20 years even though Frey and Henley were the only remaining original members. They were joined on stage by guitarist Joe Walsh, who replaced Leadon in the mid1970s, and bassist Timothy B. Schmit, who stepped in after Meisner quit in 1977. Guitarist Don Felder was added in 1974 but was fired in 2001 amid disputes over money.
The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and was supposed to have been honored at the Kennedy Center last month, but the appearance was postponed because of Frey’s health.
Frey also had success as a solo artist with songs including “The Heat Is On” and “You Belong to the City.”
He also appeared on episodes of “Miami Vice” and “Nash Bridges,” both featuring his friend Don Johnson, and appeared in the film “Jerry McGuire.”
Frey, known for his oversized jaw, big grin and wavy dark hair, loved music, girls and the rock ’ n’ roll life. He would meet Henley, Meisner and Leadon while all were trying to catch on in the Los Angeles music scene, and for a time the four backed Linda Ronstadt.
The bandmates harmonized memorably on stage and on record but fought often otherwise. Leadon and Meisner departed after runins with Frey, and Felder ended up in legal action with the Eagles. The band’s breakup in 1980 happened after Felder and Frey nearly came to blows after a concert in Long Beach, Calif.
Frey and Henley became estranged for years, their breach a key reason the band stayed apart in the 1980s.
Despite the occasional discord, Henley said Frey was like a brother to him.
“The bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved,” Henley said in a statement. “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.”
Glenn Frey performs live during the Eagles’ tour stop in Denver in October 2013 at the Pepsi Center. John Leyba, Denver Post file