January 2016 continued its wholesale slaughter of famous musicians and actors by claiming the Eagles’ Glen Frey. January 2016, what are you doing? January 2016, stahp.
Anyway. One of my friends posted this absolutely incredible video of a group called Cubanos Acapella singing Hotel California. And if you haven’t heard this, you need to set aside some time and a quiet space and listen. I was impressed when Jimmy and the Wazoo Peach Pitters managed to do Helter Skelter acapella,* but damn.
Took me a while to collect my jaw from the floor after that.
I have a particular fondness for this song. I have memories of my dad trying to explain it to me. I was probably about 9 or 10, and he was introducing me to his generation’s music, and we were discovering we had a mutual fondness for much of it. But of course, I was super-young, and had no idea what the 70s even were, much less what young adults had done with them, so most of this song went wooshing right over my head despite his patient explanations. And I never asked him to clear up some of the lingering mysteries for me: I had no idea why ghosts had anything to do with wine, or why a spirit might have left the hotel in 1969, never to return. Dad did a reasonable job trying to explain what “of our own device” meant, but it was still a pretty vague concept. I am only just now finding out he fibbed when he said colitas was a type of flower (buds, Dad, very funny). But we both had fun singing it together, and ultimately that was the only thing that mattered.
My dad is a huge Eagles fan, so I remember being quite excited on his behalf when they got together for their Hell Freezes Over tour. And there’s something special about seeing one of your parents’ favorite bands playing on MTV.
So, RIP Glen Frey. Thank you, Eagles, for many warm and happy memories. And thank you, Cubanos Acapella, for taking a classic rock song to a whole new level.
*Tragically, I cannot find a copy of it online, and I have lost my cassette. But you can hear their signature song here. They were enormous fun live. If they ever get together for a reunion tour, we’re all going.