Frey performing with the Eagles in 2008.
|Birth name||Glenn Lewis Frey|
November 6, 1948 |
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Genres||Rock, pop rock, soft rock|
|Occupations||Musician, songwriter, producer, actor, painter|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, keyboards, piano, organ, harmonium, bass guitar, drums, synthesizer, horn, clavinet, harmonica|
|Associated acts||Eagles, J. D. Souther, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt|
Glenn Lewis Frey (pronounced Fry; born November 6, 1948) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer and actor, best known as a founding member of the Eagles. Frey played guitar with the Eagles as well as piano and keyboards and sang lead vocals on many Eagles hits such as "Take It Easy", "Peaceful Easy Feeling", "Tequila Sunrise", "Already Gone", "Lyin' Eyes", "New Kid in Town", and "Heartache Tonight".
After the breakup of the Eagles in 1980, Frey embarked on a moderately successful solo career. He released his debut album, No Fun Aloud in 1982 and went on to record Top 40 hits "The One You Love", "Smuggler's Blues", "Sexy Girl", "The Heat Is On", "You Belong to the City", "True Love", "Soul Searchin'", and "Livin' Right".
As a member of the Eagles, Frey won six Grammy Awards, and five American Music Awards. The Eagles have sold over 120 million albums worldwide and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, the first year they were nominated. As a solo artist and with the Eagles combined, Frey has released 24 Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
Frey was born in Detroit, Michigan. Growing up in Royal Oak, Michigan, he studied the keyboards with concert pianist John Harrison and became part of the mid-1960s Detroit rock scene. One of his earliest bands was called the Subterraneans, named after Jack Kerouac's novel, and included fellow Dondero High School Class of '66 students Doug Edwards (later replaced by Lenny Mintz) on drums, Doug Gunsch and Bill Barnes on guitar and Jeff Hodge on bass.
After graduating from high school in 1966, Frey played for a while with the local band The Four of Us, modeled after The Byrds. In 1967 he formed the Mushrooms with Jeff Burrows, Bill Barnes, Doug Gunch and Larry Mintz. The group scored a coup in getting Bob Seger to write their first single and made television appearances to promote it. In the later part of 1967, Frey pulled together another band called Heavy Metal Kids with Jeff Burrows, Jeff Alborell, Paul Kelcourse and Lance Dickerson.
His first professional recording experience, at age 19, was performing acoustic guitar and background vocals on Bob Seger's single, "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man" in 1968. Frey has said that Seger strongly encouraged and influenced him to focus on writing his own original songs. Frey and Seger remained good friends and occasional songwriting partners in later years.
Frey then moved to Los Angeles to follow his then-girlfriend, Joan Sliwin, who was an aspiring singer. He was introduced to J. D. Souther by Sliwin's sister, Alexandra Sliwin of Honey Ltd., a friend from his Detroit days and Souther's girlfriend at the time. Frey debuted as a recorded songwriter while fronting Longbranch Pennywhistle, a duo with Souther, in 1969. Frey wrote the songs "Run, Boy, Run" and "Rebecca" and co-wrote "Bring Back Funky Women" with Souther for the album Longbranch Pennywhistle. Frey also met Jackson Browne during this period. The three musicians lived in the same apartment building for a short time, and Frey later said that he learned a lot about songwriting from hearing Browne work on songs in the apartment below.
Tenure with the Eagles
Frey met drummer Don Henley in 1970. When Linda Ronstadt needed a backup band for a single gig, she hired Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon on the advice of her boyfriend J.D. Souther. Frey and Henley later joined Linda Ronstadt's backup band for her summer tour in 1971. After the tour, Frey, Henley, Meisner and Leadon, along with Don Felder, formed the Eagles, with Frey playing the guitar and keyboards and Henley playing drums. The band went on to become one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time. Frey wrote or co-wrote (often with Henley) many of the group's songs, and sang the lead vocals on a number of Eagles hits including "Take It Easy", "Peaceful Easy Feeling", "Already Gone", "Tequila Sunrise", "Lyin' Eyes", "New Kid in Town", "Heartache Tonight", and "How Long".
The Eagles broke up in 1980 and reunited in 1994, when they released a new album titled Hell Freezes Over. The album had live tracks and four new songs. The Hell Freezes Over Tour followed. In 2012 on the Tavis Smiley Show, Frey told Smiley, "When the Eagles broke up, people used to ask me and Don, "When are the Eagles getting back together?' We used to answer, 'When Hell freezes over.' We thought it was a pretty good joke. People have the misconception that we were fighting a lot. It is not true. We had a lot of fun. We had a lot more fun than I think people realize."
In 2013, the two-part documentary History of the Eagles, directed by Alison Ellwood and co-produced by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney, was aired on Showtime. The authorised documentary caused a stir among fans, since it reportedly "shines a surprisingly harsh light on Glenn Frey and Don Henley, the group's chief songwriters and self-appointed leaders," and includes footage demonstrating that "Frey and Henley [were] dictators who berate their bandmates." The band's former guitarist Don Felder later criticized the film, saying "I didn't think it was really an accurate documentary", though this appears to be in reference to what the film either omitted or glossed over more than any personal issue.
After the Eagles disbanded, Frey achieved solo success in the 1980s, especially with two No. 2 hits: the soundtrack songs "The Heat Is On" (from Beverly Hills Cop) and "You Belong to the City" (from the television series Miami Vice, the soundtrack of which stayed on top of the U.S. album charts for 11 weeks in 1985). His other contributions to the soundtrack, "Smuggler's Blues", hit No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Frey also contributed the song "Flip City" to the Ghostbusters II soundtrack, and "Part of Me, Part of You" to the soundtrack for Thelma & Louise. During his solo career, Frey had 12 charting songs in the U.S. Top 100. Eleven of those were written with Jack Tempchin who also wrote "Peaceful Easy Feeling".
On May 8, 2012, he released his first solo album in 20 years, After Hours, featuring covers of pop standards from the 1940s-1960s.
As an actor on television, Frey guest starred on Miami Vice in the first season episode titled "Smuggler's Blues", inspired by his hit song of the same name, and had a starring role in the "Dead Dog Arc" of Wiseguy. He was also the star of South of Sunset, which was canceled after one episode. In the late 1990s, he guest-starred on Nash Bridges as a policeman whose teenage daughter had run amok and gone on a crime spree with her sociopathic boyfriend. In 2002, he appeared on HBO's Arli$$, playing a political candidate who double-crosses Arliss and must pay a high price for it.
Frey's first foray into film was his starring role in Let's Get Harry, a 1986 film about a group of plumbers who travel to Colombia to rescue a friend from a drug lord. Frey's next film appearance was a smaller role in Cameron Crowe's third film, Jerry Maguire. Frey played the frugal general manager of the Arizona Cardinals football team who, in the film's climax, finally agrees to pay Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s character, wide receiver Rod Tidwell, a large professional contract.
Frey appeared in or wrote music for a few advertising campaigns in the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s. His first appearance as an actor in a commercial was for Pepsi with Miami Vice star Don Johnson. Another notable commercial campaign was the "Hard Rock in the 70s, Rock Hard in the 80s" gym campaign of 1988, which featured a photograph of a newly physically toned Frey contrasted with the famous Hotel California insert photograph. He even did a picture spread in Rolling Stone modeling ski wear, and a spread in Penthouse modeling sweaters.
Besides these appearances, Frey also contributed music for several commercials, with his jingle for Canada Dry ginger ale evolving into the obscure Japanese Strange Weather bonus track "Ain't It Love".
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications
|1982||No Fun Aloud
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|1993||Glenn Frey Live
|2000||20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|US||US Main||US AC||CAN||CAN AC||UK||AUS||NZ|
|1982||"I Found Somebody"||31||57||27||—||—||—||93||—||No Fun Aloud|
|"The One You Love"||15||—||2||12||—||—||50||36|
|"Don't Give Up"||—||25||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1983||"All Those Lies"||41||—||28||—||—||—||—||—|
|1984||"Sexy Girl"||20||—||23||48||13||—||76||—||The Allnighter|
|"The Heat Is On"||2||4||—||8||—||12||2||22||Beverly Hills Cop (soundtrack)|
|1985||"Smuggler's Blues"||12||13||—||37||—||22||—||—||The Allnighter / Miami Vice (soundtrack)|
|"You Belong to the City"||2||1||2||6||2||—||20||46||Miami Vice (soundtrack)|
|1988||"True Love"||13||15||2||2||—||—||49||—||Soul Searchin'|
|1991||"Part of Me, Part of You"||55||9||7||9||8||—||—||—||Strange Weather|
|1992||"I've Got Mine"||91||—||12||18||—||—||—||—|
|"River of Dreams"||—||—||27||57||34||—||—||—|
|1993||"Love in the 21st Century"||112||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1995||"This Way to Happiness"||—||—||—||54||—||—||—||—||Solo Collection|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
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