Monday, January 18, 2016
My heart broke 60 minutes ago. I learned Glenn Frey had died. Glenn Frey was a founding member of the Eagles. The Eagles were one of the biggest selling music acts in recorded history. My emotional attachment to the Eagles was a long running event in my personal life.
I literally can hear his voice. His gentle, tender voice serenading me with a "Peaceful Easy Feeling," a "Tequila Sunrise,"a "New Kid in Town" and breaking out the chops with "Heartache Tonight." I flashed back to a time when I was yet to enter high school when the happy strains of "Take it Easy" belted itself from my transistor radio. The other element about the Eagles was that they were the downright hottest and best-looking group of rock stars to ever make up one band. My teen-aged girl self had mad crushes on the whole group of them.
At a certain point in life, every time an artist dies, particularly those public figures who became famous during your own coming of age period dies, you feel the stick of your own mortality poking you in the ribs. It's not the same as sadness with most of these deaths, but with an Eagle it is genuine sadness. I loved these guys.
That stick poking me in the ribs right now belongs to the cultural moments of my life. When these folks start dying, they take a part of us with them. Glenn Frey wasn't old enough to be my dad, so yes, at the moment I am thinking about the concept of death. Famous people define eras and generations. Actors, elected officials, athletes, writers, entrepreneurs, but nothing hits quite like the death of musicians/singers/songwriters. I know exactly where I was when John Lennon died. I watched television for days on end when Michael Jackson died. I will certainly remember being at home on this date for many years to come. I called my sister and then my brother. They were the only two people I called. I practically yelled into the phone - Glenn Frey is dead.
The death of a musician is notable in our lives. Their music transcends generations. We think of people when we hear a song. We think of ourselves when we hear a song. Musicians aren't like movie stars or television stars. The emotional attachment to the actors of the world isn't as powerful. Most films or episodes of television programs are seen once. Even if you really love a film, maybe you sit through it a few times, but how many freaking times do you listen to a beloved song? I've listened to the Eagles' Greatest Hits literally thousands of times.
I came of age to the music of the Eagles. I cried to their music. I crushed out on a couple of guys to their music (some of them didn't crush back, but who cares, I still have the music). The words and music he wrote comforted me and energized me as I cleaned my entire house. I listened to their music as I drove by myself from Chicago to Los Angeles to forge a career. Having them in the car with me was like having a good friend on a road trip.
Their music made a deep impact on my heart. Glenn Frey was only 67 years old. He wasn't old.
I suspect as the great classic rock stars continue on in their own aging process, our hearts will be saddened quite a bit over the next ten years or so.
These men and women were like friends. I rarely, if ever, see most of the people I grew up with or came of age with, but I'm still listening to the music of my youth. The music is a life companion. Next to faith, family and a few close friends, nothing means more.
It's gonna be a heartache tonight. Farewell Glenn Frey and thank you for every single verse and chorus you ever wrote.
Copyright The Flaming Nose 2016