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; Remembering "Eagles" Legend Glenn Frey; The Person Who Changed Anderson Cooper's Life. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 19, 2016 - 08:30   ET



[08:31:59] MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, here are the five things to know for your NEW DAY.

At number one, Donald Trump courting voters at three events in Iowa today after bumbling a Bible verse before an evangelical crowd Monday. Ted Cruz also on the stump with six stops on a New Hampshire bus tour.

Democrats, meanwhile, are trying to emphasize their differences with 13 days to go until the Iowa caucuses. Hillary Clinton says she understands the challenges of being president. Bernie Sanders nots his support in the polls is proof voters want change.

Emotional reunions of three Americans freed in that Iranian prisoner swap reunite with their loved ones in Germany. All three receiving physical and psychological treatment now.

Michigan's governor calling the tainted water crisis in Flint a disaster, admitting it could be his Hurricane Katrina. He is expected to present solutions in his State of the State address tonight.

And Texas prosecutors are working to make a lasting impression on so- called affluenza teen Ethan Couch. They are going to ask a judge to certify Couch as an adult today and stiffen the probation conditions of his deadly drunk driving conviction.

You can get more on the five things by visiting

So this morning all of us have been remembering the great Glenn Frey, a founding member of The Eagles. Remembering the music legend's great accomplishments. On Monday, the 67-year-old died of health complications.

Joining us now to talk about the impact that he had on music, we're joined by fellow rock and roll icon and former lead singer of KISS, the one and only Gene Simmons.

Gene, I've had a chance to talk to you several times before and I know you're a joyful, fun-loving man, but I see that this has shaken you quite a lot. Tell us about your recollections of this man. What - how do you remember Glenn?

GENE SIMMONS, LEAD SINGER, "KISS": You know he's a - he's a musical icon. Clearly The Eagles have, you know, influenced or made everybody's lives so much happier with their just great songs, beautiful harmonies and so on and so forth. But he was always an easy- going guy who always stuck his hand out and had no problem saying hello to anybody. We were at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and unassuming, unabashed, he just came over and hugged me and the guys in the band and just said, hey, isn't it a great day and so on.

And, you know, amid this horrible, you know, political climate and all the chaos that's going on around the world, this hit me really badly. You know, there's shock - there's been enough misery going on the last few days and I'm here just to add my testimonial to what an amazing, amazing band The Eagles have been. And for me, Glenn Frey, especially in "Lyin' Eyes" and "New Kid in Town," it just - it's just devastating. I - it just hits you. And as - you know, there doesn't seem to be any justice when you can think of all kind of bad guys running around doing harm to people. "The Eagles" have done nothing but made everybody's lives brighter. You know, when you're in your car and you're driving down the highway to nowhere and "Hotel California" comes on and "New Kid in Town," you just, you know, it makes life better. I don't know how to say this any more profoundly.

[08:35:17] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Gene, it's so interesting to hear you talk about this, this morning because, you know, KISS and The Eagles were different genres, you know? I mean was there - were there a time - in some ways, KISS was sort of the anti-Eagles in that, you know, you guys were in your leather pants and your platform shoes and, you know, you were all the sort of theatrics, and The Eagles are just this bare bones, paired down band. And did you sort of stop at -

SIMMONS: But the honest -

CAMEROTA: Yes, go ahead.

SIMMONS: Well, the honesty of anything and everything and anyone you meet is be true to your school, be true to who you are.

PEREIRA: That's right.

SIMMONS: Look over to who else - who else is running the race, but don't look over your shoulder and try to mimic anybody. We - we were - we have been and continue to be ourselves. I don't know why it says former there. But that's OK. It's not about me here. The Eagles never bothered to be followers or fashion. The Eagles, especially Glenn, you know, he started off as a long haired kind of guy and just decided, you know what, I'm done, I'm me. The honesty and integrity and the musical depth, those songs bridged not only people but musical genres. You can't find a country artist anywhere that doesn't point to The Eagles with great admiration. They bridged. They made people's lives better. And I don't - I don't want to, you know, wax too poetic for too long because it tends to come off on TV like it's about me. It ain't. This is a sad day for family and friends and everybody. The Eagles, I hope, will not stop. I hope that the legend of Glenn Frey continues and I hope The Eagles continue to play those great songs and continue in Glenn's memory and play "Lyin' Eyes" again, please.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know - I think they will. I mean they're going to play Eagles music forever, to be sure. The Eagles had a nine year run and then they broke up and then they got back together like 12, 14 years after that. You know, you've been in a bad for a long time that's had ups and downs, people coming and going. How hard is it or how hard was it do you think for Glenn Frey, for Don Henley to put past difficulties behind them and get back together and start making music again?

SIMMONS: Well, look, marriage is difficult. Cain and Able didn't get along so well. And families are difficult. Eagles and fame and money and power can seduce anybody in a very much avalian (ph) way. The fact that any band has been able to survive and stay together and continue to make great music and get up on stage together and hold each other and bow together is a great testament, maybe that it's more than about you. Maybe it's about this thing that happens. The magic between band and fans. And you have to realize that it ain't just music. The Eagles are a soundtrack to many people's lives.

PEREIRA: That's right.

SIMMONS: Do you remember that time when he heard that thing? You know, it's more than music. It really is. Which is why when somebody like Glenn Frey passes on, it is so sad because there's so many bad people in the world who continue on and somebody, you know, a very tragic what happened here. I don't want to move on too long because I'm getting a little (INAUDIBLE).

PEREIRA: I can tell. I can tell this is hard on you. Gene, thanks so much for sharing your recollections of Glenn Frey and for sort of giving us some context to all of this. You're right, we lost a good one. Thanks for joining us today on NEW DAY.

You can get in on the conversation by telling us what your favorite Eagles song is. We all have our favorites here. You can tweet us at NEW DAY or post your comments on

CAMEROTA: But, you know, he's so right, particularly, as I said, for me, "New Kid in Town" transports me to a time. Like I hear it and I'm trans -

PEREIRA: Yes, that's the thing about music, right?

CAMEROTA: I like time travel right back to being that new girl at the school.

PEREIRA: Yes. Takes you back instantly.

BERMAN: For me it's "Life in the Fast Lane."

CAMEROTA: Well, obviously.

BERMAN: I'm talking about yesterday.

PEREIRA: It was quite a day yesterday.


CAMEROTA: CNN is peeling back the curtain this week and introducing you to these special someones who helped us along our lives. You're going to meet the people who changed, and the person who changed Anderson Cooper's life - who's that - when we come right back.


[08:43:17] PEREIRA: So all week, CNN anchors and correspondents are sharing these stories of our personal heroes, our mentors, the people who changed our lives. This Sunday, Anderson Cooper and I are going to co-host a special called "The Person Who Changed My Life." Yesterday I had the chance to tell my story. Guess whose turn it is today? Anderson Cooper here to share his.

Good morning.


Yes, so when they approached me about doing this, I don't know, I didn't really know exactly who to do and then I realized, you know, that a person can change your life in many different ways. Sometimes by, you know, what they do while they're here, and then also by leaving, by their absence. So I decided to talk about my dad and how he changed my life. So take a look.


A. COOPER (voice-over): I was ten years old when my father died. And even though I didn't know him for very long, he changed my life in ways that no one else has. My dad's name was Wyatt Cooper. He was just 50 when he died. I used to think that was old, but now that I'm 48, 50 seems pretty young.

I recently found a scrapbook my dad kept when he was a boy. Gum wrappers and old newspaper articles. The flatsem (ph) and jetsem (ph) of small town life in the 1930s. My dad had always been interested in movies. His scrapbook is filled with pictures of actors and ticket stubs for films he went to see as a child. He went to UCLA and worked as an actor for years, mostly on stage and television. That's him in a cheesy movie with Mario Lanza (ph) called "The Seven Hills of Rome."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck tonight. It's going to be a sell-out. I'll be out front leading the cheering section.


[08:45:01] A. COOPER: He also wrote screen plays and magazine articles, but when he married my mom in 1963, he moved to New York. When my brother and I were born, we became the center of his world. I know he considered us his greatest achievements.

WYATT COOPER, FATHER OF ANDERSON COOPER (voice-over): I -- all my life wanted very much to have children and quite specially, I wanted to have sons, so I think I could reverse the roles and they become the recipients of the kind of fathering that I had wanted and hoped for. A. COOPER: I've always looked a lot like my dad and that is one of the

reasons I think I felt so connected to him. And there was something about the way he talked with me, even when I was very little that made a huge impact. He was always open and honest with my brother and me and he really listened to what we had to say.

He gave me the sense that I had value, that my ideas mattered. That instilled in me a confidence I don't think I would have otherwise had.

W. COOPER: We talk a great deal about moral and character values. But also they ask me questions like Anderson, my young son asks how much does a stunt man make, because that is what he would like to be now. And he can't make up his mind whether he wants to be a stunt man or a policeman.

A. COOPER: My brother and I were included on nearly everything he and my mom did. When people came to dinner we sat at the table and we were part of the conversation.

That is me welcoming Charlie Chaplin to our house when I was just five years old.

When you grow up secure in the love of a parent it gives you a foundation that can carry you through all sorts of events in your life. That feeling of security and confidence, I still carry that with me today.

When someone dies you think you will never forget anything about them, but over time memories fade. I can't remember what my dad smelled like or the sound he made when he came through the front door. But there are things I'll never forget. Laying with my head on his stomach as we watch TV together. I remember the rise and fall of his breath. The beat of his heart. I remember him typing on his old typewriter late into the night. And I remember that feeling of having a father and of being loved and feeling safe.

A person can change your life by the things they say and do and what they teach you, but they can also change your life by leaving, by their absence, and my dad's death changed me in ways that I'm just now starting to understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All over the world, and now we are a minute away from 1978 and the giant ball has begun its descent.

A. COOPER: I remember New Year's Eve 1977. We watched the ball drop in Times Square on television. My dad was in the hospital. I knew he was really sick. I was really scared what the new year would bring.

He died just five days later, January 5th, while undergoing a heart operation. I'm not sure I understood the finality of his death at the time, but I began to retreat into myself. I became less outgoing, more introverted. I also became much more independent.

(on camera): Hi, I'm Anderson Cooper and this is a special edition of Channel 1 for Wednesday, May 11.

(voice-over): I began working to earn money, I began learning and earnest how to take care of myself.

Loss changes you. Particularly when you lose a parent at a young age. The world suddenly seems a much different place. More dangerous. The person I was before my father's death, the person I was meant to be was far more open, more interesting than the person I've become. I wish it wasn't so. But the self reliance I learned has also served me well. I often wonder what my father would think of me, what he would say to me, what advice he would give. I close my eyes and try to imagine him watching me on television or calling me on the phone to discuss a story I've written. I know he would be proud, but I wish I could hear him tell me so.

W. COOPER: My relationships with my sons is quite extraordinary and I think extraordinarily close. And we understand each other in the most extraordinary kind of way.

A. COOPER: I heard his voice for the first time since I was 10 years old when a 1975 radio interview he gave was restored by the Clock Tower Radio and put on their website.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wyatt Cooper, families, a memoir and a celebration.

A. COOPER: Though I wish he'd been able to hold on just a little bit longer, I do feel lucky I had my dad for as long as I did. His death changed me, but his life changed me more. For that, I'm forever grateful.

[08:50:07] W. COOPER: My feelings about what I want my sons to be, I certainly want them to be -- let's say a better man than I.

My sons are very aware that I have certain expectations of them and that is that they will behave with honor and with dignity.


PEREIRA: Anderson, I think anybody that's experienced loss will be very moved by this. And we all have and all will. Very brave of you to tell that story. Beautifully, beautifully produced. I have to ask. I was watching your face hearing your dad's voice. Can you tell us what was going through your mind?

A. COOPER: Yeah. I mean, it was just very strange. You know, you think when somebody dies that you will always remember everything about them, but his voice sounded nothing like I remembered. And I don't know if it was distortion of an old radio interview or -- and my mom as well. My mom was -- My mom actually e-mailed and she was like was that his voice? Because in her mind's eye, that wasn't his voice either. So it was really interesting.

BERMAN: I got to say, the words he was speaking, too, he was talking about fatherhood. He was talking about his relationship with you. I got -- you know, I have two boys who are nine years old and that is the stage of life, roughly, you know, where you lost him and to hear his words there are inspiring. I think every father would want to have a relationship with his kids like he had with you. A. COOPER: Well, I mean, I always -- One of the things I always

remember is that -- and even now to this day -- I always kind of imagine there was a letter that he had written that was somewhere out there that would kind of come to me at key moments in my life, when I turned 18 or 21 or whatever or graduated college. And this memoir he wrote really is, in many ways, that letter. And so I read it again. And so there's a lot of very personal stuff in it sort of directed toward me. So it's to have that, to hear his voice talk about me was really cool.

CAMEROTA: Also, what a beautiful treasure trove of photographs.

A. COOPER: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

CAMEROTA: Those are incredible, to look at you young --

A. COOPER: My dad's got a lot of pictures.

CAMEROTA: And to look at your father.

A. COOPER: My also -- dad took a lot of pictures of us. So he was a very good photographer.

PEREIRA: Yeah, he was.

A. COOPER: Yeah.

PEREIRA: Well, this is very impactful. We all, I think, have been moved by the opportunity CNN's given to us. But I think we're moved each time we see one of our colleagues' stories. We see you in a new light.

A. COOPER: Yeah.

PEREIRA: Absolutely. Well thanks for sharing that with us.

A. COOPER: Sure.

BERMAN: Any reluctance? Were you reluctant at all to do it?

A. COOPER: Not really. I thought about doing my mom. I've actually shot a documentary about my mom for HBO this coming on -- in April. So I didn't want her to get annoyed that like I didn't pick her as the person who changed my life, so --


BERMAN: You had to go make a documentary in order to make mom happy.

A. COOPER: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: Oh, it's just beautiful.

PEREIRA: All right. Well later today, we want to let you know that you can watch "LEGAL VIEW" because anchor Ashleigh Banfield will be sharing her story, that will be at noon, on the person who changed her life.

And for more from our anchors, you can visit and tell us who changed your life. Tell us those stories. Tweet us using #mylifechanger.

This weekend Anderson and I will host a two hour special, "The Person Who Changed My Life," Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

BERMAN: Since we have a Anderson here, and you know he is a rock star in his own right --

A. COOPER: Well, so -- "Life in the Fast Lane," that is your song, John Berman? Because when I think of you, that's not necessarily the first song I think of.

CAMEROTA: "Lyin' Eyes" maybe a little bit more.

A. COOPER: It's always interesting to me the song that everybody picks to associate. And I love that story that Glenn Frey told in the documentary that Alex Gibney directed about how he came up with "Life in the Fast Lane." He was driving with a drug dealer at 90 miles an hour and that's what -- An Glenn Frey was like what are you doing? And the drug dealer said life in the fast lain.

PEREIRA: That's a rock star.

BERMAN: That's such a good documentary because you can see them, you know, from their nascent stages all the way -- you know how this band had their ups and downs over 30 years and you hear Frey talk about it analytically and in some ways, dispassionately. I mean he has like some bad memories of some of the guys in that band.

A. COOPER: They break up on stage. There's a scene in the documentary where they are playing and he's turning to one of his band mates -- I forgot which one --

BERMAN: Don Felder, I think.

A. COOPER: Don Felder. And he's saying like after we're done I'm gonna -- F you up -- while they're playing like, you know, it wasn't "Hotel California," but they're playing this nice, you know, melody and he's literally -- you hear on stage him doing it -- and the guy, they finished the song, Don Felder runs off the stage into a waiting limousine and drives off afraid he's going to get beat up.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh. Do you have an Eagles' anthem that is yours, like John Berman?

A. COOPER: I mean, you know, I love -- "Hotel California." That's the thing, there's just so many songs over the years and it's --

CAMEROTA: Gene Simmons.

A. COOPER: Gene Simmons was saying, you know, it really is the soundtrack to so many peoples' lives, it just feels like -- it's just incredible. And, you know, the solo career he had afterwards. I mean, just what an incredible --

BERMAN: Yeah. The heat is on.

PEREIRA: And how powerful song is, more than smell or taste or even vision, to take us back to a moment in our lives.

A. COOPER: Right. Yeah. It's happened -- I mean, so soon after David Bowie's loss. I mean, I still can't believe --

PEREIRA: It's been a week. It really has. All right, Anderson. Thanks for hanging out with us this morning.

A. COOPER: Thanks.

[08:54:50] CAMEROTA: NEW DAY will be back in a moment.


BERMAN: So only in "The Good Stuff" could Darth Vader help give one little boy a new hope. Get it? Meet Alvin Garcia Flores. A second- grader at Gateway Elementary in Nebraska. Alvin was born without a right arm. So unbeknownst to him, his principal contacted a group called Limitless Solutions where college students build 3D limbs, give them to kids in need. Now Alvin -- he's a big "Star Wars" fan like every human on earth. So when it came time to give the arm to Alvin, the school enlisted the help of someone with a well-known bionic arm, Darth Vader.

CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh.


ALVIN GARCIA FLORES, RECEIVED 3D-PRINTED PROSTHETIC ARM: Awesome. I'm going to wear it tomorrow.

LETICIA FLORES, MOTHER OF ALVIN GARCIA FLORES: I always tell you, papi, don't let anybody else tell you what you can or cannot do.


PEREIRA: That is so great.

BERMAN: So Alvin spent the day by giving Darth Vader and the Storm Troopers a tour of the school because, you know, what Storm Trooper doesn't want a tour of a Nebraska school? The kids lined the halls, though it is unclear --

PEREIRA: That is the coolest thing ever.


BERMAN: It is a great story. Good for the students, you know, who help get -- you know, make these arms. And also, I see there are a lot of kids out there and I know a lot of kids who aren't scared by Darth Vader. For them, Darth Vader is like a good guy and a hero. And that is so foreign. PEREIRA: My friend's daughter went as Darth Vader for Halloween last

year and I thought it was so great.

CAMEROTA: Great story. Thank you. All right. Time now for "NEWSROOM" with Carol Costello.