Glenn Frey: How his band, The Eagles, defined a musical decade

Eagles co-founder and guitarist Glenn Frey died on Jan. 18. The band's greatest hits compilation is still one of the bestselling albums of all time and a recent tour showed a continuing demand for the group.

Benoit Tessier/Reuters
Glenn Frey performs at a concert in Monaco in 2011.

Glenn Frey, guitarist for the Eagles, has died.

Frey, along with drummer and singer Don Henley, was one of the founding members of the popular band. The group released such songs as “Life in the Fast Lane,” “Hotel California,” and “Take It Easy.” 

The band released a self-titled work, their first studio album, in 1972 and broke up in 1980 after releasing several others. However, they would go on to release “Long Road Out of Eden,” their most recent work, in 2007. 

Frey also released a few solo albums during the time the band was apart, including 1984’s “The Allnighter,” which included the hit single “Smuggler’s Blues.”

Demand for the band hardly declined over the years – the Eagles’ 2014 tour became the fourth-highest-grossing tour of the year, according to Forbes.

The band is remembered for their influence on the country rock genre and for their status as one of the most popular bands of the last four decades. The Eagles sold more albums during the 1970s than any other group, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album is famously the bestselling of all time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, but the Eagles’ “Their Greatest Hits: 1971-1975” is currently not far behind “Thriller,” with “Thriller” having passed 30 million copies sold in the US and the Eagles having sold 29 million as of last month. 

The Eagles had a profound influence on the music of their time and on artists who came after. Singer Sheryl Crow wrote of the band for Rolling Stone, “The Eagles forever changed country and rock, but I just think of what they did as being great American music. It's amazing how one band could take all those influences – country and rock, of course, but also soul, R&B and folk – and still sound so distinctive… Don Henley and Glenn Frey turned into one of rock's all-time great songwriting teams.”

Los Angeles Times writer Randy Lewis wrote that the band’s songs were “hits that came to define a quintessential Southern California pop sound in the 1970s.”

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