This Flashback Friday is tinged with a bit of sadness. If you haven’t been hiding under a rock this month, you know that several musicians—some famous, some not quite as well known—have passed away, seemingly at least one a week. Natalie Cole and David Bowie are just two of the better known artists that have left us, but we’ve also lost Lemmy of Motorhead as well as blues and soul singer Otis Clay, and this week Glenn Frey of the Eagles and Mic Gillette of Tower of Power. For this week’s edition of double-F, I wanted to list some of my favorite songs by the Eagles and Tower of Power.
Glenn Frey, along with Don Henley, came to be associated as the heart and soul of the Eagles. Through six albums in the 1970s, during which the group became one of the biggest in rock music, the two either wrote or sung some of the band’s most memorable songs. Though it seems now that you either loved or hated the Eagles when they were in their heyday (and even now), it’s difficult not to be impressed by songs that take root in your mind and stay there. Growing up, hearing the Eagles on local radio was as natural as breathing, so a lot of these songs have been in my consciousness for years. Of course, that makes it hard to limit my picks to a top 5. In no particular order, my top 5 is:
- Hotel California
- Lyin’ Eyes
- I Can’t Tell You Why
- One Of These Nights
- Take It To The Limit
Two special honorable mentions go to “Take It Easy,” “New Kid In Town” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” Rest easy Mr. Frey; your rock-n-roll legacy is guaranteed.
In an age where many R&B bands had killer horn sections, few were as celebrated as the horns from Tower of Power. Mic Gillette, a founding member of TOP, played trumpet for the band during its glory years. While the horns featured prominently in most of Tower of Power’s hits, it’s hard to separate the band from Lenny Williams, who sang lead for three years and on the band’s biggest hits. Even so, it was that horn section that drove many of those tunes, even if Williams out front sparkled brightly. However, one of my favorite Tower of Power songs did not feature Williams—it was sung by Rick Stevens, though I have no idea where he came from or where he went afterward. And it is that song I will list first in my TOP top 5 (again in no particular order):
- You’re Still A Young Man
- What Is Hip?
- So Very Hard To Go
- Willing To Learn
- Squib Cakes
Relax in paradise, Mr. Gillette. I’m sure there’s a horn section looking for a trumpet to join in the funky fun.