Glenn Frey died yesterday. To say that he was a consummate musician is such a ridiculous understatement. I always loved the Eagles and we used to perform quite a bit of their material when I was playing. In October of 1994 they put together their “Hell Freezes Over Tour. I was stunned at their musicianship even after a 14 year hiatus. I would break down every time I heard Henley sing “The Heart of the Matter.”
Glenn’s vocal chops and guitar playing were beautiful. He even played piano on Desperado. He was a task master and most assuredly, ran that band. Both he and Henley had such a high tolerance for repetition it would drive everyone around them to the brink. They were perfectionists.
The pressure of “The Long Run” is what broke the band up for the most part. On a 60 Minutes interview they showed the band in the “Circle of Fear” where they had to sit in a small circle with acoustic guitars and listen to see who didn’t know their parts. Glenn said, “we do it because there’s nowhere to hide.” They ran it like a business.
On the Eagles documentary, Glenn tells the story of living upstairs from Jackson Browne, who was huge back then when the Eagles were just getting started.
Glenn said,”Every morning I would hear the teapot whistle and in a few minutes I would hear Jackson start working on a piece of music on the piano. He would get one section the way he liked it and then add the next piece. He did this over and over all day long. I said to myself, that’s his secret, that’s how he does it, elbow grease. It’s elbow grease.”
A good lesson for all of us.