Saturday, February 06, 2016

Whatever Happened to Glenn Frey?

Some of that “observational Tourettes” I mentioned in the logline... part of a series of random thoughts I’m having on this 37th day of a not so New Year

Being the cranky adolescent malcontent I was in the 1970s at the peak of The Eagles’ popularity, I was naturally averse to the band and their music. The Eagles were among the favorites of the normies, the jocks, and all those happy people I hated because I wasn’t. Then, as now, my attitude didn’t mean beans. The Eagles were huge. Hotel California, anyone? Love it or hate it, you couldn’t get away from it if you tried, and I know. I know.

My attitude, however irrelevant, evolved over time. I really liked the songs on The Long Run. (My personal favorite, “The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks” spoke to the malcontent who currently occupies my psychic basement and won’t move out.) I was further impressed when Don Henley came out and said, “The Eagles are a ‘70s band” upon the group’s dissolution in 1979. As I’ve often said, I have utmost respect for people who call it quits and go out when they’re on top, or at least still relevant. Sure, The Eagles got back together in the mid-1990s and cashed in big-time, but so what. No one forced all those people to buy tickets. That they sold a lot of tickets speaks to the point of all this. 

Despite my aversion to country music and the early 1970s “country rock” scene that even The Eagles sought to distance themselves from mid-career/mid-decade, I would come to appreciate Desperado for its loving attention to musicianship. The Eagles, like their contemporaries Fleetwood Mac, were often derided for being “overproduced,” but the ugly, not-so-subliminal subtext of that always was, “How dare these pretty people prettier than I am make it look so darn easy as they play complex guitar and sing exquisite harmonies on these brilliant songs they wrote all by themselves? It makes my shittily written, performed, and produced shit sound shittier by comparison, and by God I am all the more real for being a shitty shit creator!”

The punk ethos especially resented the successful, and The Eagles were wildly successful. Their Greatest Hits album was once number one, and is likely still somewhere in the Top Ten for all-time biggest sellers.

It’s not like it’s all punk rockers writing on the Web, though. So where are all the breathless eulogies for Glenn Frey? He was one-half of the brain trust of one of the biggest bands of all time, at least for the entirety of the 1970s. Where are all the End of an Era ruminations regarding what’s gone, and what we’re left with?

There are plenty of people my age and older who write for Web sites, so you can’t peg this one on Those Stupid, Entitled, Fuck Them I Hate Them Millennials™. (As the father of two grown Millennials, do NOT get me started on that horseshit meme.)

Honestly, I’m not what you’d call a fan of The Eagles. As much as I appreciate who they were and what they accomplished, none of their songs are in rotation on my music player. But it is weird how Frey got swept under the cultural rug like he was no more memorable than the drummer from Mott the Hoople.

The world is a curious place circa A.D. 2016.