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Bowie and Frey: Two Titans of Rock Who Left Their Marks on Many

January 31, 2016

The beginning of the New Year saw the loss of two of rock and roll’s most influential and enduring artists. On January 10, David Bowie passed away at 69 after a battle with cancer and on January 18, Glenn Frey, lead guitarist of the Eagles, died at 67 of complications from various illnesses. Both those closest to the rock stars as well as their legions of fans left many moving tributes to the men, their contributions, and their lasting effect on those who knew and loved them.

Whether it was through bouquets of flowers left near their homes or posts on social media, the outpouring of grief and support was tremendous. Sharing these special memories and tributes – whether the person who died was world famous or not – is important in celebrating the life of the individuals and providing comfort to family, friends and fans.

David Bowie

BowieBowie was a chameleon-like artist on the cutting edge of the entertainment industry who was constantly changing his musical genre, his persona and his style. Bowie celebrated his 69th birthday on January 8 with the release of his 25th album, Blackstar. Two days later, he died peacefully surrounded by his family following an eighteen-month battle with cancer, according to his Facebook page.

Bowie’s accomplishments were abundant and varied, including ten Grammy nominations with a Grammy win in 1985 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006; a Golden Globe Award in 1983 for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture; a GQ award in 2000 for Most Stylish Man of the Year, and many, many more. Bowie made contributions to music, film, live theater and fashion. His parting gift to fans was a video titled “Lazarus” that was released just days before his death in which he seemed to foreshadow his own demise.

Glenn Frey

FreyFrey, a founding member and guitarist of the Eagles, was also a solo star in his own right. On January 18, Frey died at 67 from complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis and pneumonia, according to the Eagle’s website. Frey’s health issues became apparent when the Eagles deferred participation in the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors ceremony in November due to Frey’s health.

Frey was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 as a member of the Eagles and won six Grammy Awards, including record of the year for Hotel California, which hit No. 1 in 1977. Frey co-wrote and sang on most of the Eagles hits before the group disbanded in 1980. Frey then made his mark as a solo artist and many of his best-known songs were written for movies and television. Frey reunited with the Eagles in 1994 and was making music until the end. The band finished the final leg of their two-year History of the Eagles tour just last summer.

Moving Tributes

In the wake of their deaths, the loved ones and fans of Bowie and Frey left many moving tributes that were broadcast to the world through social media, websites and other online venues. Bowie’s wife, the former fashion model Iman, left uplifting posts on Twitter and Frey’s bandmate Don Henley released a moving message about their relationship posted on the Billboard website. Many other music industry notables and entertainment stars Tweeted their condolences and loss as well.

Tributes to Bowie

A sold-out tribute concert to Bowie at Carnegie Hall on March 31, announced just hours before his death, has now become a memorial concert. The concert’s website posted the following message: “The unexpected death of David Bowie has made this tribute to him into a memorial concert. While the series has had the surprise appearances and performances of the honoree several times in the past, this one will certainly become a poignant honor of his music by his friends, peers, and fans. We are all deeply saddened at this news, the timing of our public on-sale date is bizarre in its timing, and the show is taking on many more emotions. RIP David and may gods love be with you…”

Many of Bowie’s famous family, friends and devoted fans took to social media to share their grief over the loss of one of entertainment’s most iconic figures. Bowie’s wife, model Iman, shared an inspirational Tweet the day before he died that read: “Sometimes you will never know the true value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” The day following his death, Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones posted a grainy black and white photo from his childhood showing an infant Jones atop Bowie’s shoulders.

At the news of Bowie’s death, Ricky Gervais, who had just completed hosting the Golden Globes, shared his grief just hours after the show with a tweet that read: “I just lost a hero. RIP David Bowie.” News of Bowie’s death quickly spread, and the DJ at Fox’s official Golden Globes after-party made an homage to the artist by playing Bowie’s “Fame.”

In his grief, Kanye West tweeted: “David Bowie was one of my most important inspirations, so fearless, so creative, he gave us magic for a lifetime.”

Praises for Frey

A large memorial party in Los Angeles in being planned to honor the musician, according to Frey’s long-time agent, Irving Azoff, as reported on AOL’s The Wrap.

Azoff told The Wrap, “I wouldn’t have been the success that I’ve been without Glenn Frey teaching me, leading me and supporting me for over 40 years … He was a passionate family man, a great father, a great humanitarian, and he’s gone way too soon.”

Henley, Frey’s former bandmate and close friend, released a moving statement that read: “He was like a brother to me; we were family, and like most families, there was some dysfunction. But, the bond we forged 45 years ago was never broken, even during the 14 years that the Eagles were dissolved. We were two young men who made the pilgrimage to Los Angeles with the same dream: to make our mark in the music industry — and with perseverance, a deep love of music, our alliance with other great musicians and our manager, Irving Azoff, we built something that has lasted longer than anyone could have dreamed. But, Glenn was the one who started it all. He was the spark plug, the man with the plan. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of popular music and a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. He was funny, bullheaded, mercurial, generous, deeply talented and driven. He loved is wife and kids more than anything. We are all in a state of shock, disbelief and profound sorrow. We brought our two-year ‘History of the Eagles Tour’ to a triumphant close at the end of July and now he is gone. I’m not sure I believe in fate, but I know that crossing paths with Glenn Lewis Frey in 1970 changed my life forever, and it eventually had an impact on the lives of millions of other people all over the planet. It will be very strange going forward in a world without him in it. But, I will be grateful, every day, that he was in my life. Rest in peace, my brother. You did what you set out to do, and then some.”

Online Memorials and Tributes

Online outlets provide modern platforms for posting condolences, memories and photos. Along with social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, today’s funeral homes offer online guest books where friends and family can leave messages of condolence and even upload photographs, whether or not they are able to attend funeral or memorial services.

While fame may visit a few, the end of life is a reality for all. The importance of memorials and tributes is as powerful for the everyday person as it is for a rock star. Personalized memorials and funeral services are healing for all those left behind who feel comforted when their loved ones and heroes of all shapes and sizes are truly remembered and celebrated.

Bowie photo credit:  [email protected]

Frey photo credit:  Steve Alexander


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