As I strolled down the street of my apartment this past weekend, a conversation caught my ear: Two friends talking outside a local cafe; one who I could faintly hear saying to other “so far, 2016 sucks!”. I thought to myself, upon looking back over these past 3 weeks, “you got that right!”.
Over the last 3 weeks, a dark shadow has cast itself over the entertainment world. A great sense of loss has swept over everyone who is passionate about music and the arts. The industry has been shaken to the core by the loss of several key figures.
While the film industry has had a blow of its own with the sudden death of Harry Potter star Alan Rickman, the music industry has been dealt a very raw hand with the late December 2015 deaths of Motorhead frontman, Lemmy and the Unforgettable Natalie Cole, while up until yesterday, January has seen the fall of irreplaceable music icon David Bowie and Celine Dion has saw the passing of both her husband and brother within days of each other. A blanket of grief has been cast over the music world and no matter who you talk to, everyone has felt the impact on some level.
Today, on January 18th 2016 (U.S time), the world lost another superstar: Glenn Frey, and for this editor, it was the biggest blow of them all.
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As a music fan from a very young age, the fantastical and almost mythical world of the musician was always a fascinating one to me. I would grow up listening to artists from around the world and admire their awe-inspiring talents at telling stories through song and watch their live performances or music videos on TV with a star-struck look painted on my face as I rushed to the TV set to press record on the VHS player. My teenage years were spent listening to music on my walkman or portable CD player and those records and musicians helped me through my fair share of troubles growing up. They also helped shape me into the person I am today.
One of my biggest ‘obsessions’ during my teenage years was American band the Eagles. While the band’s keys success was witnessed throughout the 70’s with hits like Take It Easy, Life In The Fast Lane, Take It To The Limit, Desperado, Tequila Sunrise and Hotel California, well before I was born, their staple remained in the history books throughout a lengthy hiatus of 14 years between their break-up of 1980 and reformation in 1994; the year I was fully introduced to Glenn and co. During that time, each of the band members pursued or continued releasing solo records with Frey finding success with hits like The Heat Is On, You Belong To The City and Part of Me, Part of You which featured on the soundtrack for Thelma & Louise in 1991.
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The first time I saw the band was at an outdoor stadium connected to a popular swimming complex, QEII stadium, in Christchurch, New Zealand on 26th November 1995 as part of the bands Hell Freezes Over World Tour. On a night that involved standing for hours on end and being drenched by torrential rain, the five piece American super-band – then consisting of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B Schmit, Joe Walsh and Don Felder – delivered one of the most iconic sets that I have ever witnessed at a live show throughout my 34 years. From that day, my life had taken a turn in a direction that would be encompassed by all things musical. They were my first live music experience and the show left a mark on me that will remain for the rest of my life.
There aren’t too many bands like the Eagles left in the world. There is a lot to be said about longevity, and The Eagles – despite the issues that caused their 14 year break up and the departure of key members Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner and Don Felder throughout their almost half a century long career – were one of the torchbearers of longevity and one that seemed to show no signs of slowing down any time soon. The bands recent History of the Eagles tour, which saw in 142 dates around the world, displayed a close-knit band on top form as they took fans through dozens of songs spanning the bands many years together; songs taken from each of the groups records; from 1972’s The Eagles through to 2007’s Long Road Out Of Eden.
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The last few weeks have been exceptionally tough for music fans around the world and for those who drew personal influence from and who held particular personal admiration for those fallen; we’ve been given a bit of a rough deal. Music and those who create music are responsible for imprinting something pretty special on music fans and on the world and so when we lose someone like Frey; the world feels it.
Today, I lost one of the most important musical figures in my life; someone who contributed greatly to the person I am today; someone who helped me get through some pretty dark patches in my life; someone who helped me discover and helped nurture my appreciation for music and someone who helped inspire me to pursue work in music and ultimately create Renowned For Sound, a venture that would lead me to an opportunity to sit down with Glenn on 22nd June 2012 to talk about his album After Hours. Following our one-on-one chat I was able to talk to Glenn on a personal level. We had a laugh about the torrential rain at the Hell Freezes Over show I attended in Christchurch – a show he remembered vividly as being one of the most chaotic of the Hell Freezes Over tour due to the horrendous weather. I also had the opportunity to tell him how his music changed my life and how it had helped me develop my strong views and appreciation for music before having him sign a copy of Hotel California for me. Being in the presence of someone so great and so gifted and so down to earth has to be one of the greatest gifts that a fan of any artist can receive and I am so thankful to have been gifted with such an experience.
Of all of my experiences in the music industry, I have and will most probably always regard the 30 minutes I spent with Glenn as the most memorable and inspiring 30 minutes of my life and one that played a role in creating Renowned For Sound and continuing in the music industry in whatever role or capacity that I can and for that I am truly thankful and will forever be grateful for the music and the memories that Glenn Frey offered to my life.
R.I.P Glenn Frey
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What are your best memories of Glenn Fry? What’s your favourite Glenn Fry song? Share your memories with us but making a comment on the post….