With the death of co-founder Glenn Frey in January, fans of The Eagles understandably wondered if the band might still have a future. There have been a handful of personnel changes since the band’s inception in 1971, but Frey and fellow co-founder Don Henley have always been the chief songwriting and vocal forces behind the band, and to continue without him would undeniably signal the start of a new, uncertain era in the Eagles’ history.
It now appears that that new era will never arrive. Henley, in a sprawling new interview with the Washington Post, has made it official: The Eagles are no more.
Related: Glenn Frey dies at 67
“I don’t see how we could go out and play without the guy who started the band,” Henley told writer Geoff Edgers. Frey’s death, from complications of rheumatoid arthritis and colitis, effectively put a definitive halt to any plans the band might have had for continuing on. “It would just seem like greed or something,” Henley told the newspaper. “It would seem like a desperate thing.”
This Sunday, Dec. 4, the Eagles are set to receive the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C., a prestigious award given to artists who have contributed significantly to American culture. Pianist Martha Argerich, actor Al Pacino, gospel and blues singer Mavis Staples and singer James Taylor are also set to receive the award. The three surviving members of the final lineup of the Eagles—Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit—will be on hand to accept their awards, with Frey’s widow, Cindy, receiving his.
The Eagles were originally supposed to receive the Kennedy Center Honors in 2015 but Frey’s accelerating illness caused them to put off their acceptance with hopes of his recovery. However, Frey’s condition worsened and he caught pneumonia and was placed into an induced coma. He never came out of it, passing on Jan. 18.
At this year’s Grammy awards ceremony, Jackson Browne performed “Take it Easy.” Henley, Walsh and Schmit performed soon after that at a private memorial event, with Deacon Frey, Glenn’s son, sitting in. There was some talk earlier this year that the group might continue on with Deacon replacing his father, but Henley’s announcement effectively ends those rumors.