Glenn Frey was an asshole. A big one. He fired original guitarist Bernie Leadon over an argument about the Eagle’s direction early on (Bernie also poured a beer over Glenn’s head in that argument and told Glenn to “chill out, I’m going surfing”). Frey replaced Leadon with Joe Walsh. Frey fired bassist and vocal Randy Meisner due to his stage fright resulting in Randy refusing to sing TAKE IT TO THE LIMIT during encores. Frey replaced him with Timothy B. Schmidt.
Don Henley would say that Glenn Frey was an asshole, but to be fair, Frey would say the same thing about Henley. They are both right. In 2001 Frey, with Henley, fired the last original member, Don Felder, over a payment dispute. Felder wanted to be paid as much as Frey and Henley. Frey’s response: songwriting power.
Felder sued the band over the rights to HOTEL CALIFORNIA. The case was settled out of court, and Felder disgraced himself, and would never be invited to perform with the band again. Bernie Leadon performed with the during their last tour, and Randy Meisner declined due to health reasons.
Glenn Frey was an asshole, but more importantly he was a genius. He held himself and the rest of the Eagles to the highest of standards. Don Henley was absolutely right in his wonderful statement in the wake of Frey’s passing. He said that Frey started it all, he was the spark plug, and he led the band through its turbulent span.
When Frey and Henley broke the band in two, Henley went on to an amazing solo career. Frey’s career was as different from Henley’s as it could possibly get. Frey wanted to be a rock star, and in the 1980’s, he was.
His over-the-top, borderline obnoxious Billboard hits are fantastic and have become seminal 80’s songs. THE HEAT IS ON was prominently featured in BEVERLY HILLS COP. YOU BELONG TO THE CITY and SMUGGLERS BLUES were featured in MIAMI VICE. The latter was used in an episode of the same name wherein Frey guest starred as Jimmy Cole, the antihero, guitar playing smuggler who teams up with Crockett and Tubbs.
After his brief acting stint, Frey and Henley got the band back together and went on the Hell Freezes Over tour in the early 90’s. Since then, Frey has secured the Eagles legacy, not only in American rock, but rock in general.
Glenn Frey was not only the frontman and leader of the Eagles, but he was the one to champion and enshrine them. Glenn Frey was an asshole and a genius, and the world is a much better place because he was here for such a short period of time.