NEW YORK — Glenn Frey, co-founder of the Eagles and one of pop’s most successful songwriters, passed away two years ago but his family is keeping his legacy alive in a resilient way.
Deacon Frey, his 24-year-old son, is on road with the Eagles in his father’s shoes, and Taylor Frey, Glenn Frey’s daughter, is working as a road manager on the tour. The band returns to Chicago (they were here in March) for a show at the United Center on Oct. 15, with a lineup that features (in addition to Taylor Frey), Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit and Vince Gill.
Cindy Frey, his widow and executor of his estate, admits the first few shows of the tour, which starts up again Thursday in Vancouver, Canada, were tough.
“It’s hard to get beyond the sad part of, the longing of missing Glenn. But in a deep sort of weird way, it’s a way of healing and living through grief for our family Frey said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“It’s a family reunion for all of us and we’re all doing it together. I don’t know that there’d be anything else we could do that’d make us move through our grief in this way. As painful as it is at times, it’s also deeply healing and comforting. It sort of makes us feel closer.”
“Like, somehow we’re holding him even closer in some sort of strange weird way,” she continued.
Glenn Frey died in 2016 at the age of 67. Cindy Frey said she wants people to remember the diversity of her husband’s sound — including his work with the Eagles, solo music and his love for multiple genres, including R&B and soul.
The box set “Above the Clouds: The Collection” is to be released Friday and showcases the many sides of the musician. Over three CDs and a DVD, the set includes his hit songs, classic songs he covered and the pre-Eagles music he wrote with JD Souther.
“I think that he was really brave as a solo artist. I don’t think the record companies always thought his choices were always the things that were going to sell the most records, but he wanted to make records that meant something to him; that he could tell a story about himself. I think this sort of tells that story,” Cindy Frey said. “He really was a great student of many, many different kinds of music. Good music doesn’t have any sort of boundaries or limits.”
Frey formed the Eagles in Los Angeles in the early 1970s with Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. They mastered the mix of rock ‘n’ roll and country music, and the band’s hits — including “Hotel California” and “Take It Easy,” both co-written by Frey — became part of the soundtrack of that decade. They broke up in 1980, coming back together 14 years later with Frey and Henley being the only remaining original members.
They are among the best-selling bands of all-time: The compilation album, “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975),” has sold 29 million units in the United States, while “Hotel California” has sold 16 million units. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and received the Kennedy Center Honor in 2016.
Deacon Frey said filling in for his father on the road is both “really scary and really exciting.”
“Well I definitely practice more than I have for other shows I’ve done… It definitely takes more work. It’s definitely a larger scale operation and the standard is a lot higher for performance,” said Deacon, who plays the guitar and sings as well.
For Cindy Frey, watching her son onstage, like she once watched her husband, is “emotional in so many ways.”
“As a mother, I couldn’t be more proud of Deacon and his performance and his talent,” she said. “I know that his dad would be as proud of him as I am. I think it’s a wonderful thing — not just for our family — but for the fans to be able to see the music continue on and have another generation, another iteration of what it means. It’s incredible.”
MESFIN FEKADU, AP Music Writer