'Spark plug' who started Eagles Obituary

Bandmate Don Henley and local singers pay tribute to Glenn Frey, who died on Monday aged 67

Singer, musician and songwriter Glenn Frey, best known as a founding member of one of America's most popular rock bands, the Eagles, has died. He was 67.

The band, famous for classic rock hits such as Hotel California (1977) and Desperado (1973), released a statement of his death on Monday through their website and Facebook page.

"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," it says.

Frey had suffered from intestinal problems in recent years. Late last year, the Eagles, who have sold 100 million records worldwide, postponed their Kennedy Center Honors ceremony due to his ill health.

Frey and fellow lead singer Don Henley are founders and the longest-serving members of the Eagles, which formed in 1970. Besides singing, playing the guitar, piano and keyboards, Frey was also one of the band's main songwriters.


  • 1948: Frey is born in Detroit, United States.

    1970:He meets fellow singer, drummer and songwriter Don Henley. Together with bass player Randy Meisner and multi-instrumentalist Bernie Leadon, they form a band to backup rock singer Linda Ronstadt and strike out on their own to become the Eagles.

    1975: Eagles win their first Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance By A Duo, Group Or Chorus for the song Lyin’ Eyes from their fourth album,One Of These Nights.

    1976:The band release their fifth album, Hotel California. The title track remains the band’s signature tune to this day.

    1980: Eagles break up due to tensions between Frey and the rest of the band members.

    1984: Frey releases the single, The Heat Is On, for the soundtrack of popular cop comedy Beverly Hills Cop. It becomes his first solo hit and peaks at No. 2 in the US charts. Later in the year, he  another single that also peaks at No. 2, You Belong To The City, for cop television show Miami Vice’s soundtrack album.

    1986: In his first film role, Frey plays a plumber who saves his friend from a drug lord in the action movie, Let’s Get Harry.

    1994: Eagles reunite with Frey, Henley, Joe Walsh,Don Felder, and Timothy B. Schmit in the line-up and release the live album, Hell Freezes Over. It peaks at No. 1 in the US charts and sells six million copies. They embark on the two-year-long Hell Freezes Over tour, one of the most successful tours in music history.

    1998: Eagles are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

    1999: Eagles get the Best Selling Album Of The Century award from The Recording Industry Association Of America for Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975).

    The compilation album, released in 1976, has sold 29 million copies in the US alone.

    2015: Because of Frey’s poor health , the Eagles postpone their Kennedy Center Honors ceremony.

    2016: Frey dies of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia in New York City at the age of 67.

    Eagles Selected Discography

    1972: Eagles

    1976: Hotel California

    1976: Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)

    1982: Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2

    1994: Hell Freezes Over

    2007: Long Road Out Of Eden

    Solo Selected Discography

    1982:No Fun Aloud

    1984:The Allnighter

    2012: After Hours

With a sound that merges rock and country, the California-based band released their debut album in 1972 and went on to become one of the world's best-selling music acts based on album sales and live tours.

Their 1976 compilation album, Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), is recognised by the Recording Industry Association Of America as the biggest-selling album release in the United States in the 20th century and has sold 29 million copies there. The band's most popular studio album and their fifth release, Hotel California, sold more than 32 million albums worldwide.

They have won six Grammys, including Record Of The Year for Hotel California in 1977 and Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals for How Long in 2008. In 1998, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The band split in 1980 due to conflicts among the members. Frey went on to a fairly successful solo career that included two No. 2 hits, The Heat Is On, the theme song for cop movie Beverly Hills Cop, and You Belong To The City, from cop television show Miami Vice. Both were released in 1984.

The Eagles made a comeback in 1994 and went on to release more successful albums and tour globally. The first album and tour after the reunion was called Hell Freezes Over, a tongue-in-cheek reference to a Henley quote that the band would reunite only "when hell freezes over". Their seventh and final studio album, Long Road Out Of Eden, was released in 2007.

The band's final global tour, dubbed History Of The Eagles - Live In Concert, spanned two years and ended with their final show together in Louisiana last July. They performed at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in 2004 and 2011.

Frey also dabbled in acting and had a starring role in the 1986 action movie, Let's Get Harry.

His death comes just more than a week after English singer David Bowie died of cancer at the age of 69, another music star who first rose to prominence in the 1970s.

Henley paid tribute to his late band member in a statement, crediting Frey as "the one who started it all", "the spark plug, the man with the plan".

He added: "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."

Veteran home-grown singer and club DJ Jerry Fernandez, 65, says Frey's songs, whether with the Eagles or on his own, were immensely popular in clubs here in the mid-1970s and 1980s.

"Every other DJ set that I did, or whenever I performed with my band, someone would request an Eagles song, whether it's Hotel California, New Kid In Town, Tequila Sunrise or any of their other songs. There were also a lot of requests in the 1980s for his solo songs such as The Heat Is On."

The lead singer of one of Singapore's most prominent club bands, Jive Talkin', Raffy Aspier, 59, has had the same experience: "Most nights, someone would ask for an Eagles song," he says.

"I never get tired of singing them because they are so melodic."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 20, 2016, with the headline ''Spark plug' who started Eagles Obituary'. Print Edition | Subscribe