By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – Jan. 19, 2016) — I don’t have many memories of 1977, but I do have one that still resonates with me: hearing the song Hotel California by the rock band, The Eagles. I remember sitting in my father’s house in the desert of Tucson, Arizona, fan rolling on a hot summer day. My father had the radio on. For some reason I also remember hearing Eric Clapton’s version of I Shot The Sheriff during the same time. Two great songs.
Now like the composer of the second song, I Shot The Sheriff, Bob Marley, the lyricist of Hotel California has died. Glenn Frey passed away in New York City of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia while recovering from intestinal surgery. Frey was 67.
Glenn Frey was born on November 6th, 1948 in Detroit, Michigan. After playing in various bands in Michigan, Frey moved to California, following his girlfriend and a muse for music. In California, Frey met Don Henley (a transplant from Texas), and along with Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon, formed the folk rock band, The Eagles, in 1971. Frey played guitar and sang in the band. With Henley, Frey co-wrote many of the classic hits, including, Take It Easy, Heartache Tonight, Life in the Fast Lane, Lying Eyes, Peaceful Easy Feeling, and Hotel California (also with Don Felder), among many more. The Eagles went on to sell over 150 million records.
After the Eagles broke up in the 1980—due to internal conflict and professional differences, Frey turned to acting and a solo career. As a solo act, Frey wrote and sang the hit song, The Heat Is On (from Beverly Hills Cop), and starred in Miami Vice and several other TV shows. The Eagles reunited in 1993, releasing albums and resuming touring.
It was during one of these reunion tours that I was able to see the Frey, from all places—backstage at one of the Eagles concerts. I was honored to know Joe Walsh through an association with his children at a school in Southern California. Walsh — and his then wife, Denise –invited my oldest son, Isaiah, and myself to a concert at the Pond in Orange County, California. After watching Frey, Henley, Walsh, and Timothy Schmidt play an amazing set of music from the front row, Isaiah and I were invited backstage during the intermission.
As we drank juice made by Walsh’s sons, I looked across the hallway to see the dressing rooms of Frey and Henley. I chatted with Joe about the tour and music in general, but was never able to meet Frey or Henley, only watching the action of people coming in and out of the rooms. After Joe told me about his equipment and love of transistor radios during the break, he was called to get back on stage by the stage manager. Joe left; so did Isaiah and I, going back to watch the second half of the show. The rest of the concert was brilliant — classic Eagles.
It was the last time I was able to spend quality time with Joe Walsh, our paths taking different directions.
Yet every time I hear the opening lyrics of Hotel California, “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair, warm smell of colitis, rising up through the air,” my mind wanders back to Tucson, sitting in a room — humming along with Frey and the boys, “Welcome to Hotel California, such a lovely place, such a lovely face. Plenty of room at the Hotel California, any time of year, you can find it here.”
Though I don’t know Frey’s faith, I can only hope that the hotel of heaven finds a new friend to welcome, a very lovely place, welcoming a lovely face.
Photo captions: 1) Glen Frey. 2) Eagles in the 1970’s. 3) Glenn Frey on Miami Vice in the 1980’s. 4) Recent picture of The Eagles lineup. 5) Brian Nixon.
About the writer: BrianNixonis a writer, musician, and minister. He’s a graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA) and is a Fellow at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). To learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon.
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