Musician Glenn Frey died this week at age 67. With his band, the Eagles, he helped craft a country-rock sound that defined 1970s pop music in California. But there was a West Texas connection to this iconic West Coast band.
Artist Boyd Elder is from the town of Valentine, Texas, where he still lives. But he was in Hawaii when he learned of Glenn Frey’s death. “Glenn and I go back like 40 years.”
One of the Eagles’ first live shows was at Elder’s art opening in Venice, California, “And they only knew like seven songs. They played seven songs, take a break, and then play seven songs again.”
The Eagles had some of the best-selling albums of their time. And it was Elder who painted their album covers. “Without Glenn and his appreciation of my art and my appreciation of his, there wouldn’t be those millions and millions of album covers.”
Elder introduced Frey to his first wife. Frey asked Elder to bring him one of the works of album cover art when they came to Texas in July 1975. “I never will forget delivering the album art to Glen when the Eagles opened for the Rolling Stones at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.”
In tributes this week, Frey was described as a musical perfectionist. Elder agreed. “Well, yeah, I mean, there’s times I wouldn’t even go to rehearsal, because it was just over-and-over-and-over until they got it right. That’s one thing about them. You could listen to their music – on the radio or on your stereo or in your car – and then you could go see them play, and you couldn’t tell the difference between the two. That’s how good they were.”
But even offstage, Frey wanted to get things right. “Glenn was an incredible card player, too. We used to be on the bus, we had this thing, it’s kind of like Texas Hold ‘Em, but the thing was, Glenn always won. And we called it ‘Eagle Poker’.”