Take It Easy, Mr. Frey

tequila sunrise

It’s another tequila sunrise
Starin’ slowly ‘cross the sky
Said goodbye

This is a strange one to write, in part because it requires a confession and a fear that I’m being hypocritical trying to tackle a Glenn Frey remembrance.

Don’t get me wrong. I liked the Eagles, respected Robert Hilburn’s assessment of their talent, and loved Hotel California. But, the band’s arrival on the scene in the mid-seventies reminds me of what happened to rock after SUN’s early days; after the first British Invasion succumbed to disco; and then after punk and grunge got swallowed by the commercial crap that dominates today’s radio.

At the very least, the singer-songwriter/urban country trend of which the Eagles and Frey were a part possessed significantly more substance than the Connie Francis, Bobby Vee, Richard Chamberlain pabulum that supplanted Presley, Lewis, and the early SUN recording artists on my local radio station. But, I digress from that confession.

I know a then-eleven-year-old boy, who bought and loved 45s by Francis, Vee, and, oh, god, Chamberlain after listening to the first two on Spokane’s KNEW AM (later dubbed KGRB) and watching the latter on Dr. Kildare. Yes, he pretends otherwise, but he’s been known to get sucked in by some of that mushy shit that haunts the airwaves.

So, was I sucked in by the Eagles, too? Would it be hypocritical to dis Frey or the band? You can go to Chris Willman’s article in Billboard for that (http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/6851078/eagles-hatred-explainer-defense-glenn-frey). Instead, I’ll fess to my admiration of Frey’s work and quote my favorite rock writer, Hilburn, the long-time LA Times critic whom Willman references in his article:

(The Eagles are the) most consistent makers of quality hits of any American band since Creedence Clearwater Revival … (Hotel California) chronicled the attitudes of a generation trapped between the fading idealism of the ’60s and the encroaching greed of the ’80s … (After moving to L.A. from Texas and Detroit, Frey and Don Henley) wrote about the state of the American Dream, using their experiences in rock to convey the innocence, temptations and disillusionment of that pursuit.”

I won’t be drinking a Tequila Sunrise tonight or checking into Hotel California One of These Nights, but I’ll admit to Peaceful, Easy Feeling(s) for Mr. Frey. RIP.

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