Holy shit!

Variety has reported that Glenn Frey has died. I know everybody has to die sometime, but this has been a particularly brutal string.

“ Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! “

- “Hotel California”, Glen Frey/Don Henley/Don Felder

We’re all thinking it. Of course we’re all too decent to say it.

Rest In Peace Glenn Frey. You were my 12th or 13th favorite Eagle right behind Harold Carmichael, and way behind Joe Walsh & Sam the Eagle from the Muppets. You did have the distinction of penning one of the more incredible songs I’ve ever heard. Not only did you have the balls to record it, you sang it with a straight face and even made it into a music video: “Sexy Girl.” Any record exec not completed fried by cocaine would have had a good laugh, 

"Fucking hilarious Glen. Now play the real lead single!" 

This song is like a shampoo jingle some washed up ad man might come up with on the way to a pitch meeting, only to drive himself off a cliff, when he realizes what a complete failure and lie his entire life has been. But you! You not only sang the phrase "Sexy Girl” 34 times in less than three minutes, you actually heightened the sense of useless soul crushing absurdity by adding an earth shattering intensifier. The object of your protagonist’s desire so transcends all comprehension and description that she is transformed from mere “sexy girl” into a (dramatic pause) “VERY sexy girl.” Fucking wow, man! 

Jarring in it’s simple comedic genius, it’s like a parody of a parody, but without a punch line. A harrowing existential nightmare, swimming in the reflection of a burned out California dream. A fantasy where women are reduced not to just sex objects, but one dimensional harmless melodies hummed by 12 yr old boys. 

Well played Mr. Frey. You were a man who got more from your talent than… probably anyone who’s ever existed. You were not only great. You were VERY VERY great. And now you are gone and the world weeps.

One Of These Nights
  • One Of These Nights
  • The Eagles
  • One Of These Nights

Oh, you’re too cool for The Eagles? Say what? You’ve heard “Desperado” so many times you wanna blow your brains out? It’s dad rock? They’re lame? Whatever man, FUCK YOU. “One of These Nights” is amazing and is without question their best single.

“One of These Nights” is one of those songs where you can hear each little piece of the puzzle coming together to form something great. It starts off with that sweet bass lick, some light drums, and a guitar doing a glissando up the neck and then hitting a quick chord on the and of four. At this point, it’s already building the tension for something to come so well, but then in come two distorted guitars in harmony with each other and that’s when it really starts to get good.

The song is much more soulful and influenced by R&B than most everything else the band produced. The groove is incredible. Everything fits in a nice little pocket where each instrument is doing something different but completely important to the overall sound of the record. Don Henley’s voice is great on this one, but what really turns this song from a good song into a great song is the three-part harmony vocals during the chorus. They are so incredibly tight that it echoes that same nimble feel from the harmonized lead guitar lines heard throughout the tune. And I can’t say enough about those harmonized lead guitar lines either. They’re right there filling the spaces between vocals lines during the chorus and each one is well constructed, slightly different, and compelling.

The repeated coda version of the chorus really kills it. Henley gets to riff on the lead vocal part while those harmonized background vocals just keep blowing your mind with how high they go. If there’s any song by The Eagles that I’ll be listening to as an old man with the highest regard, this is the one.

Help Me
  • Help Me
  • Joni Mitchell
  • Court and Spark

The first song that comes to mind when I think of Joni Mitchell is HELP ME. Maybe because it received so much airplay in the mid 70s when I was growing up–it is, after all, the artist’s only top 10 hit (how is that possible?), peaking at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I remember being so intrigued by the music–its unpredictable melody and rhythm–and how the lack of an obvious pattern actually made me want to hear more. It wasn’t quite folk-rock; I couldn’t put my finger on it, and that added to the song’s curious charm. Later of course I discovered that HELP ME was part of Mitchell’s initial flirtation with jazz, and that no less than Tom Scott’s L.A. Express, a band that was at the forefront of jazz fusion, had backed the artist up in the song. Fascinating, I thought.

The lyrics, incidentally, are about Glen Frey of The Eagles, whom Mitchell once dated. But that piece of trivia speaks to me less.