glenn frey

Glenn Frey had a career-long partnership with both Don Henley and “Old Black,” the Gibson Les Paul Junior he favored onstage and in the studio, shown here with Frey on the Eagles’ 2008 tour supporting The Long Road Out of Eden.
Photo by Eleanor Reiche / Frank White Photo Agency

The singer/guitarist’s performances defined the sound of the band’s early, career-making hits.

Glenn Frey, whose ringing acoustic guitar and songwriting helped define the laid-back country-rock sound of the Eagles at the inception of their career, died on Monday, January 18, due to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia. He was 67.

Frey’s voice and strumming propelled the hits that established the band in the early 1970s, including “Take It Easy,” “Already Gone,” and “Lyin’ Eyes.” Later, he was the lead singer on “New Kid in Town” from the band’s classic album Hotel California (1976), as well as “Heartache Tonight” from The Long Run (1979)—both No. 1 hits. Following the Eagles initial breakup in 1980, after Frey and guitarist Don Felder nearly came to blows onstage while playing a benefit for California Senator Alan Cranston, Frey launched a successful solo career that generated a string of Top 40 smashes—“Smuggler’s Blues,” The Heat Is On,” and “You Belong to the City” among them. He also made occasional forays into acting, including an episode of the ’80s TV series Miami Vice that was based on “Smuggler’s Blues.”

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