A Tribute To A Departed Eagle

Last night Feathered Photography hit a bump in the road. Regular readers know that I’m a creature of habit and it’s my ingrained routine to select and process images for the next day’s post the evening before and then compose my text early the following morning just prior to posting. But yesterday afternoon when I learned of the death of Glenn Frey I just couldn’t keep my mind on track well enough to maintain my routine. So instead of processing images I spent my evening watching the Eagles Farewell I Tour concert from Melbourne, Australia which I have on CD.

Frey was a founding member of the Eagles, an American rock band formed way back in 1971. I’ve been a fan almost from the beginning, largely because of their country rock style, their tight harmonies, their endurance and the songwriting skills of Frey and band mate Don Henley (think “Hotel California”, “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Desperado”). For “Take it Easy” Frey wrote the catchy phrase  “it’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford / slowing down to take a look at me.” In the view of this Montana farm boy it doesn’t get much better than that.


bald eagle 3875 ron dudley1/1250, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS USM + 1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

The band members were famously contentious and the Eagles broke up on July 31, 1980 in Long Beach, California when tempers boiled over in what has been described as the “Long Night at Wrong Beach”. So I chose this Bald Eagle photo as an image to symbolize the band because of the blood on the bill and the “blown” eye (misshapen pupil). During their concert that night in Long Beach Frey and band mate Don Felder spent the entire show telling each other about the beating each planned to administer to the other backstage. At one point between songs Frey told Felder “Only three more songs until I kick your ass, pal”.

Like most families there was some dysfunction but damn, could they sing and play!



On an extended 6000 mile road trip in the early 80’s to northern British Columbia with my girlfriend (later to become my wife) I had a copy of the soundtrack of “Urban Cowboy” that included “Lyin’ Eyes” by the Eagles. I just about wore that tape out I played it so much and to this day fond memories come flooding back whenever I hear that song in particular. It combines country, pop, rock and folk music styles and tells a sad story so very, very well. It was written by Frey and Henley and recorded by the Eagles in 1975.

It’s a long song and I suspect that many readers will skip the clip and that’s ok. But if you have the time and the inclination I urge you to watch it. A young Frey sings lead vocals and it’s a great band performing a great song. Keep in mind that this is long before computer-controlled and computer-manipulated concerts. What you see and hear is real – talented musicians singing tight, wonderful harmonies and telling a compelling story.

RIP Glenn Frey.


PS – Forcing one’s musical tastes on others can be traumatic for the recipient if those tastes are not shared. It’s a little like having someone pull up next to you at a stoplight with their windows down and music blaring when you don’t appreciate the song. So if that’s the case for you here, skip the clip and I’ll get back to my regular fare tomorrow…


64 comments to A Tribute To A Departed Eagle

  • Jane Chesebrough

    Not what I expected but enjoyed the tribute. I recently saw their video on Netflix. We have lost many

  • Diane Bricmont

    What a touching tribute, Ron, and such an impressive eagle photo to accompany it. I was on a birding roadtrip yesterday to see juvenile Whooping Cranes in southern Illinois, and I just happened to listen to the two-disc Eagles greatest hits on the drive down. Lyin’ Eyes is such painful, poignant poetry. “I guess every form of refuge has its price…” A sad day indeed. Thanks for the post.

  • I enjoyed your musical interlude with its fitting photo. It was the passing of Davis Bowie last week that rocked my musical world. I empathize with what would drive a blogger to want to share the inspiration that has been lost with the passing of these icons.

  • Charlotte Norton

    Lovely tribute Ron!


  • Gary Dunning

    Howdy Ron,
    Your images and text are a consistent positive note starting my day. I’m compelled to share your efforts with family when you strike certain chords, which you did today. Our youngest daughter’s reaction:

    Today at 9:08 AM
    Well put. I like Ron, even more now.
    Thanks for sharing!

    RIP Don Felder. His music contributed to my childhood, I remember singing along with mom to any Eagle’s song that came on the radio, and to the Hell Freezes Over album, and I think Laurel had a tape that had the song Take it Easy which has always been my personal favorite eagles song.

  • Jean

    I was devastated when I heard the news. Glen was a talent for sure. I also have the Eagles CD’s. I was surprised to hear he was 69. I thought he was my age. Much younger…65 hehe…I must say he looked great for his age. What a shame he couldn’t beat his illness. At least we have his music, and the Eagles music for ever. They will always live on. Love how you used the Eagle as a tribute. Beautiful!
    Thanks Ron.

  • Linda Watt

    Great tribute. Thanks so much.

  • Chris Sanborn

    By far the most poignant posting I’ve seen online, Ron, since I heard this sad news yesterday, and I so appreciate your words and memories. The Eagles have been part of my life since I was barely out of high school, like my very best oldest friends. Just as you and so many of your readers have posted today, I feel a profound loss but am grateful to have had Glenn Frey’s and The Eagles’ music in my life. Mikal is right: “Birds are almost, but not quite, everything.”

    • Chris, Your words about your “relationship” with the eagles describe very well my own feelings toward the band and about our losing Glenn. Thanks for that and for the kind words in your first sentence.

  • Jo Ann Donnelly

    Ron, I had an early Dr apt this AM & saw your post about Glenn this morning. Another early bird friend also posted a special Eagle video that I’m attaching. (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x16zf3o_eagles-i-can-t-tell-you-why-original-video_music) Reading thru all the post tells me we all seem to have a common musical soul. I was living in Houston when “Urban Cowboy” came out and I listen to that music along with the Eagles and SO many of bands from the 60s, 70s and 80s. It’s amazing how music imprints memories from our lives in our minds. Don’t know if your familiar with this song by Trisha Yearwood “The Song Remembers When” describes that experience very well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17n0OoQvmyg Off to play my Eagles albums!! Loved this blog today.

  • Larry Muench

    Great photo, great band and great tribute! Brings back a lot of good memories for this old fart!

  • Mikal Deese

    Oh, yes, I dreamed the music, I performed the music, I lived the music. It’s embedded deep in our forming souls. Thank you for the posting. Birds are almost, but not quite, everything.

  • Man, that brings back memories. Good memories. Thank you, Ron.

  • Laura Culley

    Ron, you done good. I’m so blessed to be on this planet that same time as both you and the Eagles! There are other folks in my life’s playlist (I mean additional folks, not different folks) but the Eagles are a constant. I’ve been too stunned to talk about it. Thank you!

    • “I’ve been too stunned to talk about it”

      Laura, to be perfectly honest I was surprised by how hard Frey’s death hit me. Your word “stunned” describes it pretty well.

  • nikonsteve

    Yes, they were one of my all time favorites also. I guess like a few of your readers I am “old” and at this time in our lives it is kind of sad to experience the passing of people who have had such a profound affect on our lives. At least for me, music was a great influence and living through those times when music was going through such incredible changes I feel very lucky to have been there. Thank you again Ron, not only for the incredible image but also for the great words.

  • Pull up next to me with your music blaring and windows down anytime. Beautiful image.

  • Leslie Jackson

    Oh, man….I’m so glad you did this, Ron. Like you, I grew up inhaling everything Eagles…Don Henley was my imaginary boyfriend and every time I hear Ol’ 55″ I get choked up. Your tribute to them, sharing your memories is fabulous. Thank you, thank you, thank you. May I be so bold as to attach a link to the above song – probably one of my top five favorites by the Eagles. This song reminds me of you, to an extent, Ron…your deep love of being out early in the morning, alone…with all that silence and beauty….


    • Dang, too bad the link doesn’t work, Leslie – apparently they want folks to go directly to YouTube to see it so they’ve disabled playback on other websites. I’m delighted that you enjoyed the tribute.

  • Thank you, Ron. I love the Eagles. They will all pass on, but I’ll still love them and their music. Many musicians fade after death. I don’t think the Eagles will.

  • Dick Ashford

    Hi Ron,
    Here’s some irony – the Eagles are my all-time favorite band. And, I actually saw them play with Linda Ronstadt in southern CA many years ago (I am old). They define my Road Trip playlist – my road trips take me to where I’m going, but the music takes me back to where I’ve been. Well, yesterday I took a friend to the Klamath Basin to do some EAGLE watching. I did not know of Glenn’s passing. When my friend told me she and her sister were going to Arizona this spring, I immediately thought of “Well, I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona. Such a fine sight to see…” And, we were watching a Golden Eagle at the time. There was a great PBS documentary just a couple of years ago, which I highly recommend. Tells the whole story, with interviews from the Eagles, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, et al. In it, Glenn says, ” we WERE the 70’s”. I am saddened by his passing. Thanks for your tribute.
    PS speaking of tributes, there is an Eagles tribute band named “Hotel California”. They are good. My daughter took us to see them a few years ago, and I had the unique pleasure of dancing with my wife, my daughter, AND my beautiful granddaughter all in the same evening. Another Eagles memory…

    • Patty Chadwick

      “The music takes me back to where I’ve been “….How very true!!!….

    • Wow, Dick – that performance with Ronstadt was a historic concert! Must have been 1971. If I remember correctly they only performed one concert with her and that was at Disneyland (though they did record together).

      • Dick Ashford

        Well, now I need to do some research. It was Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and some other guys backing Linda at a club. Prior to formation of the Eagles – after the band was formed, my old girl friend reminded me we had seen them back in the day…

  • Nancy Collins

    First off Ron! Great image of a flying Eagle! As for the band the “Eagles”, I saw them back in 1976 as a HS graduation gift along with my future husband. Fabulous! Can you believe before they came on stage we were entertained with Boz Scaggs and Fleetwood Mac! It was an awesome concert at Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro, MA. IMHO the Eagles both band and bird are in a class of there own!

    • “IMHO the Eagles both band and bird are in a class of there own!”

      Well said, Nancy. I once saw Kenny Rogers and the First Edition perform on the same stage as Pat Paulson (who was actually running for president at the time). That’ll date you if you can remember who Paulson was…

  • Patty Chadwick

    BOY! CAN YOU WRITE!!! Your comments have always been well-written, starting with effective, catchy, “hooks” , followed up by interesting, tighly written, interesting educational information. This tribute is no exception. I knew, and loved, the Eagle’s music (especially “Lyin Eyes, which I loved to play on the guitar), but knew little about the band and its members. Losing talent like that is very painful. I remember the funk I was in when Jim Croce died. It lasted a long time….

    • Patty Chadwick

      Just listened to the link, several times…THANK YOU!!! We not only lost a great musician, but we lost one whose music told a story, had more than one-word lyrics (endlessly repeated), tune was catchy and singable and whose words could easily be understood…a HUGE loss….

    • Dick Harlow

      I.m with you – third time listening!!

    • Thanks so much for the kind words about my writing, Patty. It’s a skill that doesn’t come easy for me so I have to work at it…

  • Arwen Lynch

    I’m with you a life and a voice that I will ever missed.

  • Jerry Ellison

    WOW! The Eagles were the best of their day and this song was my favorite too. Beautiful and thoughtful tribute…nice picture too. Damn, wouldn’t be nice to have some of the good ole days back? Never really fully appreciate some things until they are gone…Jer

  • The loss of a favorite musician – what a sad reminder to make the most of each day. Seeing clips of our favorite musicians in their heydays upon learning of their deaths really reminds me of how many years have flown… My favorite set of lyrics of the Eagles were the following:

    “And I got a peaceful, easy feeling
    And I know you won’t let me down
    ‘Cause I’m already standing on the ground.”

    Here’s to standing solid on the ground and giving thanks for it! And thank you for sharing this personal tribute.

  • Extra Credit? What? I thought it was required listening.

  • Ed MacKerrow

    Many great songs that I still listen to frequently. “The Last Resort” tells a story that resonates with me, growing up in the most beautiful foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains as a kid only to watch them destroyed…

    “Some rich man came and raped the land, nobody caught ’em,
    Put up a bunch of ugly boxes and, Jesus, people bought ’em.”.

  • Leisa

    I’m so sad today. The Eagles have been a soundtrack to my life. Thank you for sharing.

  • Gretchen Peterson

    Thanks for this, Ron.

  • Dick Harlow

    I’m with you – many of the song writers and performers I loved growing up into old age either died too early or broke up or got too old to perform!
    Sad times, especially as we age.
    But, we tough it out and continue to strive forward!

    Great Eagle pic!

    • Thank you, Dick. I agree, we’ve lost too many – especially recently. At this rate it will become “the year the music died” (with apologies to Don McLean and American Pie).

  • Judy

    Always amazing how songs/groups define times in our lives and it’s a loss when the person/group who sings them leaves us. It was a surprise and I also took a trip down memory lane.

  • Bridger

    RIP… I remember listening to the Eagles for extra credit questions in 9th Grade Biology. It is amazing how music can assist in the recall of a time/place.

    • Ha, thanks for that memory, Bridger! (for the enlightenment of others, Bridger was my student at Highland High School and I used to do some pretty “creative” things for my extra credit questions… 🙂