I am a quite a music nerd. My tastes and interests cross several genres and artists, but my first real fandom started with The Eagles. I was just learning to play guitar, and just about every song that got airplay by them I was aching to learn. While just about every other budding guitarist wanted to throw down on “Stairway to Heaven”, I was all about “Hotel California.” And if you talk about the Eagles, it starts with the late Glenn Frey.
Sadly, I never got to meet him in person. I was fortunate enough to see the Eagles perform in Lake Tahoe under the stars in 2005. And it was awesome. One thing I noticed almost immediately was Glenn Frey’s exuberance during the whole show. Don Henly was spot on but SO SERIOUS about it. Joe Walsh was crazy and frenetic, but he seemed a little edgy. He had given up drinking a couple of years ago so that might have explained his mood. Tim Smith played well and just seemed glad to be there. But not Mr. Frey. He was dancing around and putting his full self into every song, whether he was featured or just playing his part in the background. He was caught up in the pure joy of great music, and that energy seemed to glow from his face.
Over the years, both with the Eagles and his solo projects, Glenn Frey made you feel a song. “Peaceful Easy Feeling” was one that exemplified that. His vocals brought you there, to that emotional place. The contrasting “Heartache Tonight”, with a grittier sound but still musically solid, also brought the situation to a personal level. Genre didn’t hold him back either. “You Belong To The City” was a new sound, yet Glenn painted the picture all the same.
Glenn Frey also had a hand in the lyrics of many of the Eagles biggest hits as well, and I remember the feeling I got the first time I heard the words “Your prison is walking through this world all alone” in “Desperado.” It may sound trite, but that sentence was a life changer for me. Things seemed pretty dark and bleak at that point in my life, but hearing that made me realize no one could get me out of there but me. I had imprisoned myself.
It is sad that Glenn Frey is gone. So many musicians credit either him directly or the Eagles for getting them where they are, across several styles of music. The Eagles influenced me to try my hand, and I made a few bucks playing and singing. Nothing major, mind you, but even that small bit would not have happened without the Eagles. And the Eagles would not have happened without Glenn Frey. So thank you, Glenn, for helping a very awkward kid find his way in the world. And so many millions of others as well. To paraphrase, there is a hole in the world now that you are gone.