There’s arguably no other rock band with its roots as firmly in country music as the Eagles. Monday afternoon, everyone from country icons to current hitmakers felt the impact of the passing of founding member Glenn Frey. A statement posted on the band’s official website reports that “Glenn fought a courageous battle for the past several weeks but, sadly, succumbed to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia.” He was 67.
The Eagles themselves were four-time CMA Vocal Group of the Year nominees, in 1976 and 1977 and then again in 2008 and 2009, though they never won. But 1994 was the year the Eagles would leave one of their biggest marks on country music. The tribute album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles took home the CMA for Album of the Year.
Travis Tritt covered “Take It Easy,” and paved the way for the eventual reunion of the group, as Frey, Don Henley, Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit came together once again to shoot the music video for the song.
“I’m so shocked and saddened to learn that Glenn Frey has died,” Travis said on social media. “He was always so nice to me. This is devastating!” He later shared the music video he’d done with the Eagles, adding, “RIP my friend!”
Travis added in a statement: “Glenn Frey and the music he created alone and with The Eagles have been such an inspiration to me. We first met at the video shoot for my version of ‘Take It Easy’ in 1993. He always went out of his way to acknowledge and encourage me ever since. I’m a better person, better musician and a better songwriter having met him. I still can’t believe he is gone!”
“So saddened and shocked by the loss…” Brad Paisley tweeted. “Thank you for the music that paved the way for so many others.”
“His songwriting was the first to inspire me to play guitar as a boy,” “Backroad Song” hitmaker Granger Smith recalled.
“My heart is saddened by the loss of one of the greatest!! May you rest in peace…” Chase Bryant added.
Chris Young summed things up by simply saying, “So upsetting to hear about the passing of Glenn Frey.”
Though the Eagles were set to a receive a Kennedy Center Honor in 2015 for their work, they opted to forego the ceremony for a year, hoping they might all be able to accept together once Glenn was well. Miranda Lambert sang their classic “Desperado” in their absence.
Last year, Glenn’s band mate Don Henley released his first full-fledged country album, Cass County. In a statement, Henley said “It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some.”
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