EA­GLES SINGER, SONG­WRITER DEAD AT 67

The mu­si­cian had bat­tled arthri­tis, ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis and pneu­mo­nia.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Hil­lel Italie

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

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