I love music, and when I was finishing up high school, the Eagles were just beginning to really catch fire.
In 1975, when I was a junior at Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach, California, the Eagles were starting to redefine the “California sound” that the Beach Boys had created. While the Beach Boys were pure, dizzily happy pop, the Eagles brought a sound that merged country with rock, delighting and alienating equal numbers of fans of both genres.
But that “country-rock” sound endured, and the Eagles became huge. Now, as we learned earlier this week, one of the architects of that sound is gone. Glenn Frey died from complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia. He was 67.
Back in ’75, the Eagles scored their first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart with “Best of My Love.” The next year, they released the song with which they would become most synonymous: “Hotel California.”
My love affair with wine was still 10 years in the future, so I had no idea those two songs would one day fit into my extremely broad definition of “wine songs.” (For me, a “wine song” is any tune that mentions wine in any way.)
The key lyrics from “Best of My Love”:
Beautiful faces and loud, empty places
Look at the way that we live
Wastin’ our time on cheap talk and wine
Left us so little to give
The key lyrics from “Hotel California”:
So I called up the Captain,
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine”
I love the Eagles and their music so much that I’ve been willing to overlook the technical inaccuracy in “Hotel California.” The “Captain” apparently did not recognize that wine is not a spirit. A spirit is a distilled liquor such as brandy, whiskey, gin or rum.
I’m especially willing to overlook it now… now that Glenn Frey is gone. Rest in peace, Mr. Frey. And thanks for all the great music.