Glenn Frey, a founding member and guitarist of the Eagles, has died. The band confirmed the news on Monday (Jan. 18) with a statement on its website.
“Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia,” read the statement. “Words can neither describe our sorrow, nor our love and respect for all that he has given to us, his family, the music community & millions of fans worldwide.”
Frey had been battling intestinal issues that caused the band to postpone its Kennedy Center Honors award. A statement from the band said then the recurring problem would require “major surgery and a lengthy recovery period.”
Eagles drummer and vocalist Don Henley issued the following statement:
“He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed. But, 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. He loved is wife and kids more than anything. We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year ‘History of the Eagles Tour’ to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone. I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet. It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some.”
(Article from Billboard New York)
Frey, as a soloist & with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band he co-created, was a force on Billboard’s charts in five decades.
For nearly half a century (The Eagles first reached a Billboard chart when “Take It Easy” entered the Hot 100 dated June 3, 1972, at No. 79), Frey’s compositions and/or vocals made a made a major impact on Billboard’s rankings, thanks to his influential and trademark blend of melodic pop, rock and country. (The Eagles’ breezy harmonies, rounded out by co-founder Don Henley, among others, helped pave the way for acts currently making Billboard’s country charts home like Rascal Flatts and Dan + Shay.) The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
On the Hot 100, Frey made five visits to No. 1, all with classic Eagles singles: “Best of My Love,” “One of these Nights” (both in 1975), “New Kid in Town,” “Hotel California” (both in 1977) and “Heartache Tonight” (1979). (Frey sang lead on “Kid” and “Heartache.”) The band scored 10 Hot 100 top 10s and 21 Hot 100 hits overall.
Frey also landed 12 solo Hot 100 hits, including the No. 2-peaking “The Heat Is On” and “You Belong to the City,” both in 1985 (during the Eagles’ 1980-94 hiatus). “Heat” was released from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, which topped the Billboard 200 for two weeks, while “City” and (No. 12-peaking Hot 100 hit) “Smuggler’s Blues” are from the Miami Vice TV soundtrack, which led the Billboard 200 for 11 weeks. Frey famously guested on Miami Vice, as Jimmy Cole.
Frey and the Eagles likewise were a force on the Billboard 200, where they notched six No. 1 albums as a band, including their last, 2007’s Long Road Out of Eden. The Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, which topped the chart for five weeks in 1976, is the second-best-selling album all-time, according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America (RIAA), with sales of 29 million; only Michael Jackson’s Thriller (30 million) is certified as having sold more.
Frey placed four solo sets on the Billboard 200: No Fun Aloud (No. 32, 1982), The Allnighter (No. 22 1985), Soul Searching (No. 36, 1988) and, most recently, After Hours(No. 116, 2012).
When Billboard presented our “Greatest of All Time” charts last year, the Eagles ranked as the No. 19 Billboard 200 artist (and No. 62 Hot 100 act).
The Eagles also found success on Billboard’s country charts, with “Lyin’ Eyes” crossing to a No. 8 peak on Hot Country Songs in 1975, a month after the song hit No. 2 on the Hot 100. As recently as 2007-08, the band reached the Hot Country Songs chart’s top 40, with “How Long” (No. 23) and “Busy Being Fabulous” (No. 28). Plus, both of the group’s Top Country Albums entries were top 10s: Hotel California (No. 10, 1977) andLong Road Out of Eden (No. 1, for seven weeks, 2007-08).
Also notably, the covers set Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles ruled Top Country Albums for 13 weeks (and hit No. 3 on the Billboard 200) in 1993-94. Among the remakes on the LP: Travis Tritt’s faithful version of “Take It Easy,” which became a No. 21 hit on Hot Country Songs. Beyond the album’s chart impact, it helped lead to the Eagles’ second chapter: after its acrimonious split in 1980, the group appeared in the video for Tritt’s cover, helping forge the Eagles’ 1994 reunion album and tour, both self-effacingly titled Hell Freezes Over.