Last night I was a happy (wo)man, but the way I feel right now…
It’s still 2020.
But in a few days, just a few more days, it will be 2021.
I never believed when I was writing my last Music Monday article of 2019, or even my first Throwback Thursday of 2020, that this year would be what it was. I started off the year excited about a new job opportunity, followed by breaking the land speed record back to the job I’d been doing for almost ten years when a “career change” turned out to be a bad decision. Exactly two months later, I was told not to come to work because our state’s governor shut down businesses to do something called “flattening the curve.” Nine months later, I’m still waiting for that curve to be flattened, and my office to open back up. There’s been bright spots (learning how to craft and make cool creations, and going back to dance class for the first time in six years), and some rough patches (my best friend’s sudden death), but in the end, I have my health, my husband, my furbabies, and my family. And that is the most important thing. Eventually, I will be able to go back to work, but until that happens, I’ll enjoy every moment.
A few weeks ago, when I was looking around for a “New Year’s” song, I reminded myself that Chicago only did so many songs about New Year’s Eve (one of them was an original song!), and I used Kenny G’s incredible version of the “traditional” New Year’s song that was all over the local lite rock station to close out 1999 as my close out to 2019. I figured why not go with something…unconventional?
Leave it to the 1970s, and the classic rock group The Eagles, to fill that criteria nicely.
And knowing the year it has been, why not go unconventional?
“Funky New Year” is a 1978 (released November 27th of that year) single written by the powerhouse team of Don Henley and Glenn Frey, they of “Desperado,” that equal parts beautiful and depressing story of a cowboy who needs to give up his lonely life and “let somebody love him.” I’m not gonna lie, that song gives me the worst goosebumps, shudders, and “oh wow” reactions. I have a co-worker who says it is the worst karaoke song, and I could see the reason (picture drunk, sad, and holding a microphone), but for me, it is beautiful. Yes, it is depressing (beautifully depressing, or depressingly beautiful?), but such a great song.
The Henley-Frey collab was not all that new or novel to the group’s offerings (it was more of a standard), and while this one never saw an actual album release, it was included as the B-side of the more traditional “Please Come Home For Christmas,” (the Eagles’ version was the first Christmas song to crack the Top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100 since Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Paper” in 1963), and released prior to 1979’s The Long Run release, a “tide the fans over,” if you will.
Hey, if Hall and Oates can do this with their versions of “Jingle Bell Rock,” so can The Eagles!
“Funky New Year” sounds like the musical representation of too much New Year’s spirit and celebration, and the dreadful hangover that comes after too much spirit and celebration, set to an Eagles song. It is everything you’d expect from their music, and a New Year’s party featuring their music.
Henley and Frey really knew how to capture the spirit, didn’t they?
Following the release of this two-part Christmas/New Year’s harmony, The Long Run was released in September 1979 (“Funky New Year” was released during the time this album was being recorded), and featured three single releases for the group – “Heartache Tonight” (I love this song, especially the Michael Buble cover!), “The Long Run” (a classic!), “I Can’t Tell You Why,” (oooohhhh, another one of those slow Eagles songs!), all Henley-Frey collaborations. Sadly, it would be the group’s last studio album before they disbanded in 1980. They would reunite in 1994, and pick up on the second leg of their incredible legacy, that unfortunately would end with Glenn Frey’s death in 2016. The group did, however, come off a brief hiatus, and have toured several times since, with their most recent tour a six-city, two month tour in early 2020.
Maybe 2021 will be a “Funky New Year” for the Eagles.
Have a great Monday, and enjoy the music!