Glenn Frey was clearly ticked off.
Here it was the Eagles’ long-anticipated return to a concert stage in the Twin Cities after a 14-year hiatus and he was greeted with a headline in that morning’s Star Tribune: THE EGOS HAVE LANDED: Eagles soar above rifts for Hell Freezes Over Tour.
The story was a long interview with Don Henley, Frey’s oft-contentious co-leader of the Eagles. Henley, always the more cerebral and introspective of the two, made it clear in our interview that this was more détente than resolution.
Between songs, Frey made an allusion to the play-on-words headline and the sometimes frosty situation between him and Henley. It was no longer a peaceful, easy feeling with the Eagles. Respectful, for sure. Business-like, most definitely.
With Frey’s passing on Monday meaning that the biggest selling U.S. band in history probably won’t soar again, let’s look back at how the Eagles, for better or worse, influenced our culture and the music world.
- The Eagles were probably the first mass-appeal, arena-level shoegazing U.S. band. They were fussy perfectionists in the studio and onstage they were more concerned with precision than passionate, dynamic performances. Their appeal as perfection-seeking shoegazers was never more apparent than at the biggest one-day concert in the Twin Cities -- in 1978 at the old Met Stadium with more than 65,000 people watching the Eagles and the equally motionless Steve Miller Band and Pablo Cruise in the rain.
- The Eagles made it safe for multiple singer-songwriters to find success in the same band. Sure, Buffalo Springfield predated them but they lasted for only three albums and three years.
- The Eagles proved that a big rock band could have a singing drummer, which opened the door for Phil Collins singing in Genesis.
- Thanks to their aggressive super-manager Irving Azoff, the Eagles became the first regular touring act to charge $100 for a concert ticket. Why? Because they could – and people would pay it.
- The Eagles became probably the first enduring touring band that appealed to baby boomers and their kids.
- The Eagles became the blueprint for what country music sounded like in the 1990s and beyond. Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and countless other country stars have spoken about the influence of the Eagles. It was no small coincidence that what got the Eagles to reunite in 1994 was a tribute album to their music, “Common Thread,” featuring Nashville stars Vince Gill, Clint Black, Diamond Rio, Trisha Yearwood, Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn, among others -- a project engineered by Azoff. Travis Tritt asked the Eagles members to appear in his 1993 video for the album and that got the members talking again.