Monday evening I read on Twitter that Glenn Frey passed away; one of the founding members of The Eagles. Having grown up with their music it makes me sad to realise I’ll never see them live again. But also blessed to have actually caught them live two times in the last couple of years. The Eagles have changed my musical life.
The first time I consciously listened to them was when I was at my uncle and aunt’s house for a birthday. I’m not sure what year it was, but since my uncle wanted to show off his dvd surround system — which at the time was quite special — it must have been a while ago. He played the Hell Freezes Over live show from 1994. I’ve always loved to see people play live music, but when I heard Don Felder going into that extended intro to Hotel California I was sold.
As fate would have it, this weekend I played a few songs from The Eagles again while visiting my old home. I guess they give me a peaceful easy feeling. Ha, in particular I enjoyed listening to I Can’t Tell You Why, which is sung by bassist Timothy B. Schmidt. It has always been one of my favorite songs because of its smooth soulful vibe.
I especially loved the long outro with the guitar solo on the live version. During that outro I used to always focus on the bass and guitar parts. To me those parts made it so beautiful. The smooth straightforward bassline combined with the slow guitar licks. Only when I played the song again on Monday I knew I missed out on something all the previous times I listened to it.
From seeing the live version I knew Glenn Frey played the rhodes on the song. And it’s that sound makes it different from all the other Eagles tracks. During that outro it’s probably not the part that you’ll focus most on. But now I have, I can’t not focus on it anymore. It connects the guitar with the bass so brilliantly. It has become my all-time favorite part.
Getting that Bm
So yeah, I can’t express my fondness for The Eagles enough. It’s the band that I learned to play guitar from. The songs that Glenn Frey wrote. I remember that one of the most challenging songs for me back then was Lying Eyes; probably the first song I took on after learning most of the basic chords on guitar.
The verses of Lying Eyes are quite simple for a beginning guitarist. It’s just basic chords plus a Gmaj7, which is a very nice sounding and rewarding chord to learn. The trouble started when I moved on to the chorus. The chord changes started to come at me a bit faster and then I met my beginning fingers’ worst nightmare: the B minor.
Now I can’t imagine ever having had problems playing a B minor, but back then… It felt like my fingers had to go into impossible positions to try and get that transition from the E minor into the A minor. When I finally got it, I probably reached one of my biggest guitar milestones. Because once you get that first barre chord, you can start to play all the way up the neck. And that’s the moment you get really hooked on the guitar.
So thank you Glenn Frey.