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The songwriter, singer and guitarist suffered complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. Frey was reportedly being treated in New York.
“I can’t believe everything we accomplished,” says Azoff. “It was a staggering body of work and just an amazing run. I don’t think there will ever be another American band [that’s] as successful.”
Eagles’ Greatest Hits trails only Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the best-selling album of all-time — with 29 million units sold — and much of the band’s popularity can be attributed to songs Frey co-wrote with Don Henley. The 67-year-old also sang lead vocals on such classics as “Lyin‘ Eyes,” “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Already Gone” and “Tequila Sunrise.”
Describing Frey as “a great father and a great humanitarian who cared,” Azoff credits Frey for having “taught me much of what I know.” Adds Azoff: “He and Don [Henley] and [late singer-songwriter] Dan Fogelberg and I all started together. In addition to being an incredible musician, he had a great sense for the business, and a lot of that rubbed off on me.”
The Eagles wrapped its History of the Eagles tour in July on the heels of a Showtime documentary of the same name. Azoff says Frey was the “driving force” behind the movie. “He really sat down with me and planned it, plotted it and executed it.”
The film, directed by Alison Ellwood and produced by Alex Gibney, chronicles the band’s rise, inner turmoil and eventual 14-year split, which was followed by a triumphant return under the banner “Hell Freezes Over.” Azoff says, looking back, “nobody regrets” what turned into a 20-year-long victory lap. But sadly, he adds, “It doesn’t look like ‘Pigs Are Gonna Fly,’ which would have been the next one,” will come to fruition.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.
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