Glenn Frey was described by the other members of the Eagles as the leader of the band…but when they broke up in 1980…how did he do as a solo artist?
Glenn Frey had success as a recording artist for radio, TV, and movies. His first album sounds mostly like an Eagles album, but with more saxophone and less variety.
The wordplay in his 1982 album title, No Fun Aloud, might have referred to how he felt about the Eagles at the time of their tense break up. The album produced two Top 40 hits…”I Found Somebody” (#31), & “The One You Love” (#15, and #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart). The song I thought could have dropped right into an Eagles album is “All Those Lies”. Another good album cut is “That Girl” co-written by Bob Seger.
In 1984, Frey released his second album The Allnighter. It had “Sexy Girl” (#20), cool album cut “Lover’s Moon”, and “Smuggler’s Blues” (#12)…which was about to become a television episode. But just before that, Glenn Frey recorded a big hit for the Eddie Murphy movie, Beverly Hills Cop. “The Heat Is On”, went to #2 on the Billboard singles chart.
1985 was a good year for Frey. Besides the big movie hit, one of the hottest shows on television, Miami Vice, decided to make an episode based on the lyrics of “Smuggler’s Blues”, they even had Frey guest star. That led to more acting parts, including a small role as the football team General Manager in the Tom Cruise hit “Jerry MaGuire”. Miami Vice used the Glenn Frey song, “You Belong To The City” in another episode. The single was another #2 hit for Frey, and the Miami Vice Soundtrack, (featuring both of Frey’s TV hits), was the #1 album for eleven weeks.
The hot streak cooled down for Glenn Frey by the 1988 release of his third solo album, Soul Searchin’. The album only went to #36, but he did have two more hit singles (now on the Adult Contemporary chart), “True Love” #2 and “Soul Searchin'” #5. It should be noted that Jack Tempchin, who wrote “Peaceful Easy Feeling” for the first Eagles album, co-wrote eleven of the twelve songs Glenn Frey charted as a solo artist.
Frey released album four in 1991, Strange Weather. It has some quality music, but only had two songs do fairly well on the Adult Contemporary chart…”Part Of Me, Part Of You” (#7″) and “I’ve Got Mine” (#12).
Then…The Eagles got back together.
(You can check out the article about it: Eagles…Hell Freezes Over.)
Glenn Frey and Don Henley handled the majority of the lead vocals for the Eagles, so Glenn’s strong and soulful voice is on some of the most popular songs in music history. His solo career was successful, even though it was not as stellar as his friend and Eagles co-founder, Don Henley. Like Don Henley, Glenn Frey was a multi-instrumentalist…playing guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums.
The reunited Eagles were a touring force until Frey passed away from health complications in January of 2016. While John Lennon’s tragic death in 1980 was an extreme shock, Glenn Frey’s death indicates that some of our greatest musicians are leaving us. Our generation is turning the world over to our children, just as Glenn wrote in his last song, “It’s Your World Now”. Glenn Frey would be proud that his son, Deacon, is helping the Eagles continue to tour with great success.
Update: (July 7th, 2023) The Eagles announced they are doing a final tour, from September of 2023, and likely into 2025.
(This is Part 2 about the solo Eagles. Don Henley was featured in Part 1, and Joe Walsh & Randy Meisner are featured in Part 3.)