In the summer of 1972, radio was still dominated by AM.
Few cars had an AM/FM radio. I can remember having an FM adapter that would pick up FM stations and send it to the AM radio on a selected spot on the dial.
The top AM rock ’n’ roll stations in this area were WQXI in Atlanta, better known as Quixie, and WRFC in Athens, which was the hot station for the University of Georgia crowd. Outside of their towns, their signals were weak and filled with static.
At night, the AM dial came alive with big 50,000-watt stations from cities such as Nashville, Chicago and New York.
WLS in Chicago had a great disc jockey named John Records Landecker. That was his real name. He was on the air at night and was heard in 38 states.
I remember in the summer of 1972, Landecker and other nighttime hosts started spinning a record that had a different sound. It was rock ’n’ roll with a hint of country.
The singer had a great voice and sung about “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.”
His name was Glenn Frey and his group, The Eagles, was making their debut.
In Monroe, Edward Peters had a store called the Music and Camera Shop. He sold musical instruments, a few cameras and film, but the centerpiece of it all was records. Bins behind the counter held 45-rpm singles arranged in order.
If you were thinking about a buying one, Mr. Peters would spin it for you on the turntable in the middle of the record display. I remember going by and picking up a copy of this new group’s song, “Take It Easy.” Later on, I went back and bought their album, one of the first albums I purchased on my own.
A couple of years ago, I happened through Winslow and found they not only had a corner, but a flatbed Ford, as described in the song.
A statue of Jackson Browne, who wrote the song along with Frey, is also there. I couldn’t help but remember the first time I heard The Eagles on a summer night in 1972.
I saw them in concert at the Omni in 1975. I remember tickets were $10, which I thought was highway robbery. Most concert tickets at the time were $6.50 to $8.50 and I begrudgingly paid this ridiculous price for a ticket.
Glenn Frey was cool. He could play the guitar like we’d never heard before.
The Eagles only released seven studio albums and had a greatest hits collection in 1975. Every record they produced was multiple platinum and I don’t think there was a bad song in the bunch.
The Eagles broke up in 1980 and Don Henley, the other front man, said they would get back together “when hell freezes over.” I’m not sure about the condition of hell, but they got back together in 1994 and the tour and live album were called “Hell Freezes Over.”
I was sad to hear Frey was not well and the band missed appearing at the Kennedy Center Honors. It was even sadder to learn Frey had left the stage of this life forever.
My thoughts went back to a hot summer night with my radio tuned to a big station up north and I heard that voice for the first time.
Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns appear on the Sunday Life page and on gainesvilletimes.com/harris.