Jesus H. Christ, Now Glenn Frey Is Dead

Goddammit, stop taking all of our rock stars!

Just days after losing the universally beloved David Bowie, the rock world has been stunned again. Glenn Frey, who helped found the culture-changing Southern Cal rock giants the Eagles before moving onto a successful solo and acting career, died today at just 67 years old. Per TMZ, the cause of death was a combination of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia.

The simplest way to sum up Frey’s (and the Eagles’s) significance is by noting that the second greatest-selling album of all time is Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) with over 42 million copies sold; it was neck-and-neck with Thriller for years until Michael Jackson’s doc-aided death gave it a likely permanent lead. Their Greatest Hits is 10 fantastic songs featuring their instantly-recognizable laid-back SoCal sound, impeccable musicianship, and the general feeling of comfort one gets when they listen to the Eagles (not today, Dude). Frey helped pen seven of the 10 hits. And this was all before their biggest hit ever, “Hotel California”, the song that pushed them from the stratosphere of rock stardom into the deep space of music gods.

Essentially discovered and given gigs by ’70s titan Linda Ronstadt, Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon soon struck out on their own in 1971 and success quickly arrived with a flourish in the summer of 1972. For the next eight years, the Eagles checked off seemingly every square on the “1970s Rock Star Bingo Card”: drug addiction, infighting, excessive boozing, incredible music, band members leaving, egomania, some of the greatest song-writing in rock history, and the inevitable crash-and-burn. In 1980, the band was toast and each Eagle flew off in his own direction. (I highly recommend the “History of the Eagles” doc on Netflix for the entire fascinating history.)

Frey started his solo career and stayed relevant via tunes that tied into huge pop culture moments. “The Heat Is On” was part of the wildly popular “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack; “You Belong To The City” and “Smuggler’s Blues” were essentials on the “Miami Vice” soundtrack (yes, TV soundtracks used to be a thing and actually sold a shitload). It was also on “Miami Vice” where Frey began his acting career…in the “Smuggler’s Blues” episode. He had a small but pivotal role as Cards GM Dennis Wilburn in “Jerry Maguire”.

Like many great bands that break up, the Eagles reunited in 1994 and began touring off-and-on for the next 21 years. Fans were once again able to see and hear the melodic songsters who altered the ’70s music scene with their distinct rock/blues/country sound that influenced and inspired Lord knows how many folks.

For a long stretch, the Eagles were the kings of music. They were the soundtrack to ’70s kids in the backseat not wearing seat belts while choking on the smoke from Dad’s Winston while he cracked another road soda. Their songs are still better than 99.9% of the shit that is released nowadays because it’s timeless, beautifully written music that still, over 40 years later, provokes the same warm emotions and tender feelings. And none of that happens without the great Glenn Frey.

Farewell, my man. Thanks for the many gifts.