By Brian Ives
Earlier today, the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac announced that they will co-headline twin summer festivals billed as Classic East and Classic West in July. While Fleetwood Mac still boasts their classic lineup — Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie, Lindsey Buckingham, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie — the Eagles, of course, suffered a great loss in January of 2016 when their co-founder Glenn Frey died.
The band has performed one time since his death — at last year’s GRAMMY Awards, where surviving members Don Henley, Timothy B Schmit and Joe Walsh played “Take It Easy” with Jackson Browne (Frey and Browne co-wrote the song). Don Henley told the BBC at the time, “I think that was the final farewell. I don’t think you’ll see us performing again, I think that was probably it. I think it was an appropriate farewell.”
In September of last year, though, Henley seemed to reconsider, telling the Montreal Gazette that the band might still perform, possibly with Jackson Browne, but he also had someone else in mind. “At some point in the future, we might work our way around to that. You know, Glenn has a son who can sing and play quite well. And one of the only things that would make sense to me is if it were his son,” Henley said. “With Jackson, of course, we could do ‘Take It Easy’ and a couple other things, but the only way I would consider any kind of reunion, I think, would be with Glenn’s son, Deacon.”
But in case neither of those choices work out, here are five more artists who the Eagles might want to consider.
John Mayer – John’s a busy guy, with a solo career to promote, and of course, he’s also filling in for another fallen legend, the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, in Dead and Co. But Mayer’s smooth, soulful vocals and fluid guitar playing would make him a perfect choice to be the fifth Eagle. And having seen him in Dead and Co., we know he can hold up under the pressure of filling in for an icon.
Dierks Bentley – You could argue that the Eagles are much more influential in country music these days than they are in rock, and Dierks is direct proof of that. In fact, he covered “Take It Easy” on his last tour (often joined by his opening acts, Randy Houser and Cam). And Bentley told Radio.com last year that “I think more people probably grew up listening to the Eagles than grew up listening to Hank [Williams], as far as country singers go. They’ve had a huge impact on country music, they’ve had a huge impact on artists singing country music.”
Darius Rucker – The Eagles mixed rock and country like few other bands did before them. One band that did it after them was Hootie and the Blowfish, a rock band that dominated several radio formats in the ’90s. But in 2007, frontman Darius Rucker started a new career as a country singer. Several rock stars have gone to Nashville in hopes of “going country.” It rarely works out. But Rucker’s first three singles topped the country charts, and he’s now fully accepted as a member of the community. But Rucker could definitely give an interesting spin on Frey’s classics.
Bob Seger – Seger has a long history with Frey and the Eagles; Frey and Seger are both from Detroit, and Frey played guitar and sang backing vocals on Seger’s 1968 classic “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man”; years later he sang backing vocals on “Fire Lake” and “Against the Wind.” Seger, meanwhile, co-wrote the Eagles’ “Heartache Tonight” with Frey, Henley and frequent Eagles collaborator J.D. Souther. And like Frey, Seger plays both guitar and keyboards.
Jeff Bridges – You may know him from such classic films as 1971’s The Last Picture Show or 2016’s Hell or High Water. Or you may know him for his role as “The Dude” from 1998’s The Big Lebowski. And “His Dudeness” — or “El Duderino” if you’re not into the whole brevity thing — hated the Eagles. And that kind of upset Frey. As Bridges told Radio.com in 2014, “Glenn Frey, I run into him at parties, he’ll always bust my chops and make me squirm a little bit. That was my character that hated the Eagles, not me!” Bridges has slowly been embarking on a music career of his own since releasing his debut album, Be Here Soon, in 2000. So maybe taking the stage with the Eagles would be a fitting tribute that Frey would appreciate.