Glenn Frey, Eagles Founder, Dead at 67

Glenn Frey, bandleader of the Eagles, has died.


Glenn Frey, bandleader of the Eagles, has died.  The statement from the band’s website:

It Is With The Heaviest of Hearts That We Announce…the passing of our comrade, Eagles founder, Glenn Frey, in New York City on Monday, January 18th, 2016.

Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia.

The Frey family would like to thank everyone who joined Glenn to fight this fight and hoped and prayed for his recovery.

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.

Cindy Frey | Taylor Frey | Deacon Frey | Otis Frey|
Don Henley | Joe Walsh | Timothy B. Schmit | Bernie Leadon | Irving Azoff

I hadn’t realized Frey was ill, having missed the news back in November that the group had postponed their Kennedy Center Honors appearance:

The Eagles have postponed their appearance at the Kennedy Center Honors, scheduled for December 6th, after Glenn Frey was forced to miss the ceremony due to health issues. In a statement, the band announced that the guitarist “has had a recurrence of previous intestinal issues, which will require major surgery and a lengthy recovery period.” Instead of being feted at the 2015 ceremony, the Eagles’ Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh will instead receive the Kennedy Center Honors in 2016.

The Eagles were at their height when I was in junior high and forming my own tastes. They were among my favorites, notwithstanding a persistent meme that the band was terrible. The long “History of the Eagles” documentary is quite good and available for streaming on Netflix.

It’s amazing to me how long ago the late 1970s were, much less that it’s now been over 2o years since the band’s reunion with the “Hell Freezes Over” tour. Which means that the band has been back together longer than they were separated. Quite a bit longer, in fact.


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. C. Clavin says:

    Alan Rickman, Bowie, and Frey makes 3.
    The Eagles, JD Souther, Jackson Browne, Emmy Lou Harris, Rondstadt…
    the California country- rock scene was really something at the time.
    May he RIP

  2. Mr. Prosser says:

    No more “runnin’ down the road.” Take it easy.

  3. Hal_10000 says:

    Is it too late to return 2016 to the store?

  4. Guarneri says:

    Unfortunate, as is the passing of anyone. Some of the iconic old rockers are starting to fall away. One wonders just what kind of Superman genes Keith Richards possesses.

  5. appleannie says:

    This is turning out to be one heck of a bad start to the year.

  6. Franklin says:

    I liked the Eagles. I know some didn’t, or protested against their excesses or whatever (like any good rock band was immune from *that*). It was just a bunch of talented guys making music.

  7. Ron Beasley says:

    We watched my Hell Freezes Over DVD in memory Of Frey. Few know that he co-wrote several songs with J.D. Souther that became classics.

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    @Franklin: I liked them too. Many of my rock friends from the 70s thought they were too country but at the time I was also listening to Willie Nelson before he became popular among that crowd.

  9. Pch101 says:


    Critics are fond of castigating stadium rock and prog rock bands, believing that rock music is supposed to be raucous and rebellious; heavy production or technical skill is only acceptable when the music is odd or exotic, i.e. David Bowie or David Byrne.

    Well, to hell with those critics. Frey-Henley-Souther wrote some great pop music together and the musicianship was solid. Although I always preferred the songs with Henley on lead vocal and didn’t care for Frey’s solo work, the Eagles wouldn’t have been the Eagles without Frey.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: He can’t die. Neither heaven nor hell want him.

  11. James Joyner says:

    @Pch101: I particularly loved this Frey observation in the documentary: “If you look at my vocal participation over the course of the ’70s, I sang less and less. It was intentional. We had Don Henley.”

  12. sam says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Many of my rock friends from the 70s thought they were too country

    Y’all ever notice how much some modern C&W sounds and looks like a lot of 70s rock? I’d bet that that’s why a lot of kids like it.

    On the Eagles and country, see Travis Tritt and The Eagles, Take It Easy. (Sweet shot of Glenn looking back at the camera.) Tritt did a whole album of Eagles songs, Common Thread.

    But, hell, isn’t that what rock and roll began as: a synthesis of country and R&B?

    RIP Glenn.

  13. Kylopod says:

    But, hell, isn’t that what rock and roll began as: a synthesis of country and R&B?

    Only if you date rock and roll to the mid-’50s, when rockabilly emerged. And then you have to wonder why you have a word suggesting a fusion of rock and country (or “hillbilly music”). The fact is that rock and roll grew out of R&B, period, and only after it was an established genre did it start to be fused with country. There was a strong racial component to this, as the rockabilly artists were all white. (Black rockers like Chuck Berry were never defined as rockabilly even when they did countryish records like “Maybelline.”)

  14. sam says:


    Well, I’m 75 and that’s not my memory of what happened. In those days, as you may know, R&B was called “race music”, and was pretty much confined. It broke out of the musical ghetto it had been consigned to and became a force of its won when white musicians began to incorporate its tropes.

  15. Pch101 says:


    The first rock ‘n’ roll record was arguably Bill Haley’s 1952 version of “Rock the Joint.” (“Rock Around the Clock,” which came out two years later and put Haley on the map, bears a striking resemblance to it.) Haley was playing country and swing before he transitioned to what we call rockabilly.

    Rock is a derivation of bebop (which came out of swing) and rockabilly (which is derived from country) as well as white guys riffing off of blues (which had been labeled as “race records” or R&B, and was not yet crossover music.) Rock n roll is a melding of the three main popular musical genres of the time, not just one of them, but with smaller combos than were typical during the swing/ big band era.

  16. Pch101 says:

    @James Joyner:

    Glenn Frey had a solid singing voice. It’s just that he ended up doing the lead on a lot of the cheesier material such as “Chug All Night” and “Already Gone,” while Don Henley ended up with the better songs such as “The Last Resort” (which was lyrically heavy-handed but musically very well put together.)

    But Frey was in fine form in this video: This is evidence that the Eagles were a talented band — unlike many rock acts, they were tight and in tune on stage, and didn’t need Autotune in order to hit a note properly. Not many bands have been blessed with multiple songwriters and good vocal harmonies as were the Eagles.

  17. Paul Hooson says:

    I’ve been battling Rheumatoid Arthritis as well for many years, narrowing surviving death from pneumonia once before myself. Joint deterioration is what most people think about with this disease, which is annoying enough, but it’s the deterioration of the eyes, heart and lungs are far more serious complications of the illness where many sufferers only live to be an average age of 59 to 69. As the lungs and heart deteriorate, exposure to cigarette smoke, the common cold and the flu become increasingly dangerous to deadly for some sufferers where pneumonia and death could result.

  18. Kylopod says:

    @sam: My post came out more garbled than I intended, but the point I was making was this: rock and roll had existed as a self-conscious genre for a while before musicians began mixing it with country. This is implied in the very term rockabilly, which is a portmanteau of rock and hillbilly.

    In those days, as you may know, R&B was called “race music”, and was pretty much confined. It broke out of the musical ghetto it had been consigned to and became a force of its won when white musicians began to incorporate its tropes.

    True enough, but it was a more gradual process than you’re implying. Most of the music to first be called “rock and roll” was by black musicians. Pch101 mentions Bill Haley’s “Rock the Joint” (1952) as arguably the first rock and roll record, but I think “Rocket 88” (1951) is a stronger candidate.