Monday, January 18, 2016
Glenn Frey RIP
The news came through tonight that Glen Frey had passed away at age 67...
and a little bit of my heart broke.
Sitting at the dinner table, my 10-year-old daughter saw the tear in my eye as I managed to swallow the lump in my throat and pass the salt. She asked me what was wrong, but it was hard to explain it to her. It was hard to explain it to any of them.
The deaths of David Bowie last week, and Glen Frey this week have just been a little bit hard to take. Those guys were some of the musicians that wrote the great tunes of the 70s and 80s - tunes that made up the soundtrack of my adolescence and youth. When I think of falling in love, driving down the highway, singing in the farm kitchen, kissing Mr. Pete on the back steps, or doing any of the things that made up my teenage/young adult years, their songs are in my head going with those memories.
I enjoyed Bowie, but to me as the farmer's granddaughter from Michigan, Glen Frey and the Eagles were the stuff of day dreams and long sighs. Especially Glen who looked friendly, approachable and sang as if he knew a thing about young love and the drama of romance.
At 17, I remember looking forward to a good Eagle's ballad at our school dances as an excuse to slow dance with my sweetheart - being close to him in a socially acceptable way that could only happen during a slow dance at a high school gym.
When I tried to explain this to my kids, they all looked at me as if I were describing an obscure inter-species mating ritual from another planet.
I tried to explain, "This was music to fall in love by! Make out music!! Slow dancing and kisses goodnight!"
Blank expressions. Granted, some of those kids are too young and innocent to know anything about that. But the older ones kind of just shrugged. When you live in a hookup culture, I guess the idea of romance or dancing to a beautiful ballad seems archaic and outdated. They probably think that there should just be an app for that.
My son the musician told me that kids don't slow dance anymore. A tune that isn't beating hard is an excuse to get a cigarette. In fact, he demonstrated how he could keep the beat to "I Can't Tell You Why" and smoke at the same time. And when I tearfully asked my him if he thought maybe his band could cover one of these old tunes for me for Mother's Day, he basically said he'd rather die.
Melodies, rich harmonies, moving lyrics coming from guys who looked like the guys you went to school with - only older and a little edgier. Beautiful. Magical. Soulful. Heartbreaking.
I guess what I'm also grieving is not only the passing of the stars from my youth, but the era they represent - and the reminder that the era I'm remembering was a long time ago, and that another more personal era will also end someday.
In the meantime - they don't write them like this any more.