Eagles founder and front man Glenn Frey died Monday evening, Jan. 18, from complications after a recent operation.
Born in 1948 in Detroit, Michigan, the legendary rocker wrote or co-wrote many of the ’70’s hit machine’s songs, singing lead on most of the band’s most popular tunes. A solo career followed the break-up of the band in the early ’80s, and Frey dabbled in acting with a recurring role on “Wiseguy” and guest appearance on “Miami Vice,” among others.
With the Eagles, he won 6 Grammys and 5 American Music Awards and was inducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Take It Easy—Frey met bandmates Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon when Linda Ronstadt was searching for a backup band for a single gig in 1970. They subsequently toured with the ’70’s pop singer on her 1971 tour and soon thereafter, formed the Eagles. Written with fellow rock legend, Jacskon Browne, this was the band’s initial release and first hit single, peaking at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Best of My Love—After a relatively disappointing follow-up album, Desperado, the band finally scored its first #1 single with this tune, which appeared on their third album, On the Border, despite internal strife with their producer, Glyn Johns. The band felt Johns overemphasized the country aspect of their sound and they wanted to head in a more “rock” direction. Johns was fired and replaced halfway through the album’s creation with Bill Szymczyk, who brought in the “fifth Eagle,” hard-edge rock guitarist Don. Felder. Sung by Henley, this song was ironically one of only two that Johns produced before his dismissal.
Lyin’ Eyes—Released in 1975, the Eagles fourth album, One of These Nights, featured three top-ten singles, including their second #1, the title track. The record was the group’s first to top the charts, selling 4 million copies, and transformed the band into international superstars. It was also the last to feature Bernie Leadon who left the band during the album’s tour, replaced with Joe Walsh. Written by Frey and Henley, this popular weeper, with Frey on lead vocals, hit #2 and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
Hotel California—Released in late 1976, the Eagles fifth album, which shared its name with this track, was a mammoth, selling more than 16 million copies in the U.S. alone. Spending 8 weeks atop the charts, the record scored two #1 singles—both co-written by Frey—“New Kid in Town” and this signature song, which won the Grammy for Record of the Year.
The Heat Is On—This stand-out from the motion picture soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop was the highest charting tune not only of Frey’s solo career, but also the best-charting song of any Eagles member’s during their prospective solo stints. The 1984 song—written by Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey—hit #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100, bested by REO Speedwagon’s “Can’t Fight This Feeling.”
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