Thank you for making me happy for so much of my life, David Bowie and Glenn Frey

I took my time thinking what I wanted to say about the passing of David Bowie.

So many folks jumped right in to give this master musician his just due.

From "CBS Sunday Morinin" on my wide-screen.

From “CBS Sunday Morning” on my wide-screen.

He deserved every word, photograph, screen roll.

I wanted to get it right.

The man born 10 years before me held my attention from the time I first heard Space Oddity when I was not yet a teenager until the sad day I heard he passed away from cancer at the age of 69.

David Bowie the artist broke ground. He sang of the lonely spaceman looking back at Earth when Man was staring down space and figuring out how far to take that mystery. He took on a new persona and sang about Spiders from Mars. He dared to duet with John Lennon in a song about Fame. He put on his red shoes and danced the blues after John Travolta put on a suit and danced disco.

And yet …

David Bowie the man knew how to avoid the glare of celebrity, didn’t he? Did you know he was born with the name Davy Jones?

The artist worked until the end, acting and writing and putting out new music.

The man left behind his wife Iman, his son Duncan Jones and daughter Alexandria, and his step-daughter Zulekha Haywood.

The musician left behind for the world 26 albums.

Rest in peace, David Bowie.

Glenn Frey, soaring Eagle. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Glenn Frey, soaring Eagle. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

And then when I was putting the finishing touches to my Bowie tribute together in my head, I heard the news that Glenn Frey had passed away at the age of 67, from the complications of an assortment of illnesses.

Frey got together at the start of the 1970s with Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon to back up Linda Rondstadt.

They knew they had something.

After one show as Rondstadt’s band, they broke off to start the Eagles and make history.

Frey played guitar and sang, a major player with drummer-singer Henley in the group that would define the bridge between country and rock and folk and go on to sell more records and concert tickets than any other American band. Ever. (Their greatest hits topped only by Michael Jackson and Thriller.) Their songs Hotel California, Peaceful, Easy Feeling and Take It Easy are part of the fabric of our country. Of my soul, too.

Hell, folks my age and even generations younger loved the band so much — add guitarist Joe Walsh on for good measure after the fact — that after a split and halt, they made them reunite and tour some more and put out a live album that made fun of their disagreements and that fact with the title Hell Freezes Over.

Rest in peace, Glenn Frey.

How did you react when you heard the news of David Bowie’s passing? Glenn Frey’s? Are you more of a Bowie or Eagles fan, and why?

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59 thoughts on “Thank you for making me happy for so much of my life, David Bowie and Glenn Frey

  1. David Bowie, The Eagles and then Glen Frey and Don Henley all made music that take me back to seminal times in my life. We were so lucky to see The Eagles perform in Cape Town and with Joe Walsh. What a show – and with an audience that spanned the generations. Thank you for this tribute.

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    • You indeed were fortunate to see that Eagles show in Cape Town, Fiona! With my many concerts over the years, I never saw all the Eagles together, unfortunately. I did see Henley and Walsh on there own. I did see David Bowie. But not the Eagles. I’ll always regret that even more with the passing of Glenn Frey. And you’re welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I would have hocked the house to see David Bowie!

        I nearly did to see Rodriguez and it was worth it. But then he’s a bit of a cult figure here. Perhaps you saw the documentary “Searching for Sugarman”? Another musician whose music defined my youth, and which I now really only understand as a “mature” adult. Sigh.

        Back to The Eagles: they played all their own stuff and also did the most fantastic medley of the Frey and Henley’s solo music accompanied by the most amazing video medley. And Walsh, well, you can imagine.

        A show never to be forgotten.

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      • It’s OK when we realize new things about our favorite artists as we get older, Fiona, I think. I’ve heard lots about ‘Searching for Sugarman,’ and now after your mention I again remind myself to see it. Thanks for The Eagles show wrapup. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m more into the Eagles bro Mark, but also like Bowie. Losing them both so close together just seems like my world is still rocking, or is still rocked, or maybe I just want to throw a rock at something. There are only so many people left in my life, and one of them is gone now. I got the call on Monday about her, and I’m so angry about that. They are all younger than I, and have no right to go before I do, leaving me behind to continue in living on.
    Guess I could rant and rave for hours here but it doesn’t do any good, and my hour on the computer for today is now officially up. Later brother.

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      • Real cute brother, cute. I’m still more like an Eagle so you just Sting like a bee all you want. David Bowie is much missed though, and always will be.
        And thanks, I’ll rant frequently then, although most of the ranting stuff has become so commonplace now it’s hardly worth the effort. Now I’ve used most of my illegal second hour, so see ya on the flip side.

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  3. Well…Bowie was a colorful artist-strange to a degree musically?! Eagles love them as my parents do. I often hear their songs on the Oldies (My favorite!). Sorry for so many-Natalie Cole, then Bowie, Celine Dion’s spouse Rene then her brother Daniel (within two days of one another), then Glenn Frey. May they all RIP. Gatorette.

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  4. The Bowie thing slammed me – not just that we lost him – but how we lost him ~ can’t really elaborate, you’d have to visit my blog from December (not a shameless plug Mark, really isn’t) —- As a little twerp of a kid in England with arty aspirations —- When Bowie hit — it was mind-blowing for me—it was a shift in culture —- And he stayed ahead of the wave his entire life.
    Glenn Frey – God rest his soul, but doesn’t belong in the conversation as far as a giant footsteps left— he rode on the wave that others created—that is not a bad thing—-nothing bad here. We are comparing a first ballot All Star with a serviceable utility infielder as this blogger sees it.

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    • You can plug away, Wayne. No problem.

      Hey, as far as I’m concerned, perhaps if Glenn Frey was not in that original mix, there would not have ever been the Eagles. And if that would have been a shame. First-ballot Hall-of-Fame band in my book. That’s my reasoning here.

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  5. AH but you left out his time as John Merrick at the Booth Theater. I was fortunate enough to see him in Dec. of 1980 on a Christmas trip back to NYC. The guy was incredibly talented. He had a stage presence about him even on Broadway as the Elephant Man.

    The Eagles and their members; including Timothy Schmidt (formerly of Poco) who you left out; were one of the icons from our generation. Frey will be greatly missed but is greatly appreciated. As the song goes “You can check out anytime you want but you can never leave.” He may have “checked out” but his music will never leave the radio or my soul.

    Good tribute MB.

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  6. As a Brit who spent his teenage years obsessed by Bowie (an enormous poster of the Aladdin Sane album cover graced my bedroom wall for most of the seventies), I was shocked and profoundly saddened by his passing. Last weekend, I played the Ziggy Stardust album for my daughter and amazed her, and myself, that 45-years on, I could still remember every single word. That’s testimony to the man’s creative genius.

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  7. Ugh. We had had a very Bowie weekend, because Sassy didn’t know his name. We spent some time enlightening her with music she knows. “This! This is David Bowie!” We’d shown her videos and talked about references she’s familiar with — and Labyrinth, and his supermodel wife. Someone had done a gif of all his faces, as it had been his birthday, and so I showed her that, too.
    Then Monday, when I woke up, instead of normal morning chatter, it was The Mister, “David Bowie died.” I dunno, it hit me harder than I expected.

    I’m glad I already saw The Eagles in concert. End of an era.

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  8. They both made amazing contributions, but it will always be Bowie, for me, at the top of a list of exceptional artists. I was shocked at the news, especially since his illness was so very private. As was his life…dignity and grace. ❤️ The gentleman rocker.

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  9. More Bowie than Eagles. I said that while everyone on Facebook was quoting Eagles lyrics poignantly, the only Glen Frey song I could think of was “Smuggler’s Blues”. Not necessarily the most fitting tribute but I am sure he didn’t mind 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Definitely two icons, no doubt about it. My generation was introduced to Bowie via MTV with “China Girl,” “Modern Love,” etc. But the gender-bending earlier stuff always creeped me out. Not denying any talent. But The Eagles–man, that’s in my blood. Like you say. I’ve been listening to them since I was a kid. What a backdrop to summer moments. Rarely have I visited a poolhall without hitting “Lyin’ Eyes.” That’s my pool jam, whether it’s a swimming pool or billiards. And even Glenn’s solo career has a soft spot for me. “You Belong to the City,” with that mandatory awesome 80s sax, that was great. Girls like I would listen to “The One You Love” on high rotation, if a boy was playing us. Such a shame to die on the sixth floor, no? All that talent into the grave.

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  11. I wasn’t a huge fan of either. In the 70’s, when the Eagles were first big and I was more staunchly feminist than I am now (which is pretty staunch), their lives and lyrics had a rep as chauvinist (so many years later I can’t tell you why…) and I was kind of turned off. But so many of their songs became so iconic, I eventually bought a greatest hits compilation because they’d grown on me. Bowie didn’t really get on my radar too much until later. Not sure why in the era when the Grateful Dead, Moody Blues, James Taylor, Carol King, Pink Floyd, Bonnie Raitt, et al were big on my radar that my friends and I seemed to miss Bowie. Eventually, same thing, I came to realize as I listened to oldies stations that I know and like a lot of his songs. So in spite of lack of fandom, I found myself feeling really sad at the loss of both. And really sorry we won’t get to see all of the Eagles get those Kennedy Center honors.. Thanks for the tributes.

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  12. Frey and the Eagles left a huge footstep on my life. Their music was the soundtrack to my childhood, even many of my key adult events. Seems I can tie a memory to nearly every Eagles song. Just as many can say about Bowie, I know.

    Enjoyed your post, Mark, thanks!

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  13. i was very surprised by both of them. somehow, it has so much impact when it was someone who i listened to, rather than some of the older legends. it makes me realize my own mortality, i guess. i was more of an eagles fan, though really enjoyed both –

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  14. Definitely sad days for music lovers . . .
    Understand the impact they both had, but I’m a Frey/Eagles fan all the way! I have very distinct memories when I hear many of their songs (both of them). Remember Glenn Frey’s “Miami Vice” episodes, too 🙂

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