Wednesday Weeper of the Week: “The Girl From Yesterday” by Eagles

It felt like a good Wednesday to rejuvenate this series, as rock fans have had plenty of cause for sadness of late. I talked about David Bowie in a post a week ago; just a few days back, Glenn Frey passed away as well. It’s ironic that the two will be linked now, because, for the most part, they occupied separate hemispheres of the rock universe: Bowie as the critically-acclaimed iconoclast who became popular almost in spite of his left-of-center artistic impulses, Frey the workmanlike striver who suffered the slings and arrows of the rock intelligentsia on his way to the top of the rock world with the band he founded.

The animosity that many rock critics had for the Eagles is well-known. I put a lot of that down to timing; had the group, with their impeccably-played and sung blend of country, rock, and soul come along  in a different era, they likely would have been celebrated by the press as much as they were revered by their fans. Instead they became the symbol for corporate rock at a time when more fashionable trends like punk railed against it.

I’m not sure how anyone could complain about the Eagles greatest hits now unless to say they’re overplayed, which is why you should seek out equally worthy, if not as omnipresent, tracks like “The Last Resort”, “My Man”, “Those Shoes”, and “Hollywood Waltz”, just to name a few. And albums like On The Border, The Long Run and, especially, Hotel California, are enjoyable as a whole even when you take out the singles. From what I’ve read, Frey and Don Henley were devoted to being huge hitmakers, studying what worked and what didn’t and meticulously crafting their songs toward maximum success. Somehow they get slagged off for doing that, when others in the rock pantheon, Lennon and McCartney for one shining example, were praised for their tireless ambition.

It’s hard to know what song to attribute to whom with the Eagles, as they’ve been more cagey than most in terms of revealing the impetus for their hits, but it’s safe to say that Frey’s had a major hand in writing some rock evergreens, he and Henley nailing the California ethos despite the fact that they were from Detroit and Texas, respectively. And his singing, understated and soulful, doesn’t get enough credit either. Plus he was in on the Miami Vice fad ahead of many of his rocker buddies, for which he’ll have a soft spot in my heart. Check his lovely lead vocal out on the late-period Eagles song “The Girl From Yesterday” below.

Glenn Frey found a place to make his stand in the music world, and his fans are infinitely thankful he did.

 

 

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