Smuggler's Blues

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"Smuggler's Blues"
Glenn Frey - Smuggler's Blues.jpg
Single by Glenn Frey
from the album The Allnighter
B-side"New Love"
Format7" vinyl
GenreBlues rock
LabelMCA Records
Glenn Frey singles chronology
"The Heat Is On"
"Smuggler's Blues"
"You Belong to the City"

"Smuggler's Blues" is a song written by Glenn Frey and Jack Tempchin, and performed by Frey. It was the third and final single from Frey's second studio album, The Allnighter (1984). It followed "Sexy Girl" and "The Allnighter"; of the three, it charted highest. Its music video won Frey an MTV Video Music Award in 1985.

The 16th episode of Miami Vice is named after the song, which was incorporated into the episode.[1] Frey played an airplane pilot in the episode.[2]

Music video[edit]

The video for "Smuggler's Blues" won Frey an MTV Video Music Award in 1985, and inspired an episode of Miami Vice, in which Frey guest-starred.

In the video, Frey plays a smuggler (his then-wife Janie plays the smuggler's female accomplice). The video is like a short movie, fitting the lyrics exactly and pack danger, suspense, and intrigue into a small segment of time.

It opens with Frey in a car with his friend and male accomplice, counting money. A drug deal is about to go down. Frey appears nervous, but his friend laughs off his concerns. As he goes in the building to complete the deal, Frey stays in the car. Suddenly, he hears a gunshot. His friend comes running out, shouting that they have to get out of there right away and that something has gone wrong. As Frey peels out, two men chase them, shooting. They strike and kill Frey's friend. Frey sees that his friend is dead and barely has time to react before he has to figure out a way to escape from the two men who are now chasing him down in a car.

Knowing he has to lose them somehow, Frey pulls the car over once he is out of their sights, grabs the suitcase full of money, then makes a run for it. He escapes by going to the roof as the pair chasing him run around looking for him on the ground. He makes it safely back to his hotel, but there is not much time before they catch up. As he is talking to his female accomplice in his hotel room, one of them shows up in the lobby. Oblivious, Frey is giving out instructions - "Here's a little money now, do it just the way we planned..." After she leaves, he takes a moment to grieve - "I'm sorry it went down like this, but someone had to lose" - before getting ready to go himself.

Frey hurries down to the hotel's elevator bank and presses the button to go down. In the lobby, the one pursuer has pressed the button to go up. He gets into the elevator, then the video cuts back to Frey, waiting, back to the pursuer in the elevator cocking his gun, Frey again as the elevator door opens...leading the viewer to expect a confrontation, but nothing. After Frey gets into the elevator and the doors close behind him, it is revealed that there is a second elevator, with its doors opening to reveal the pursuer who has missed Frey by seconds.

Frey escapes to a gas station restroom, where he shaves and changes from his Hawaiian shirt and casual wear into a business suit. He slicks back his full, wavy hair and puts on sunglasses. As he leaves, he throws away the clothes, looking like a different person. He gets on a plane back to Miami.

Meanwhile, his accomplice is going through customs seemingly without any problems. Unfortunately, after she drives back to her place, the police catch her and take her in. She apparently rats out Frey, because in the next scene, the cops come to his home and take him in for questioning as well.

The verse matches up perfectly, as it appears Frey really is answering questions - "They move it through Miami, sell it in LA..." The interrogation scenes of he and the girl are interwoven, and it is seen that time is passing as Frey goes from being in his suit and tie, to no suit jacket, no tie, and a partially unbuttoned shirt. Finally, he is barely able to sit up straight, his hair is a mess, and he appears exhausted. However, police do not have enough evidence to hold him after a search fails to turn up anything.

Now thinking he is home-free, Frey drives down the highway but gets pulled over by what appears to be a motorcycle cop. Frey reaches for his driver's license but when he turns to the "policeman" to show it to him, he is staring into the laughing face of the pursuer whose tail he thought he had shaken... and down the barrel of his gun. The scene then fades to a presumably dead Frey slumped over the side of the car, with the car radio blaring a news announcement stating "Here are the top news stories this hour. Dade County Police are investigating the mystery shooting of a Miami businessman. At the moment, there appears to be no motive for the slaying..." as the video ends.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Glenn Frey and Jack Tempchin.

7" single
1."Smuggler's Blues"3:45
2."New Love"4:25
Total length:08:10


Chart Peak
Billboard Hot 100 12[2]
Canadian Singles Chart 37
Mainstream Rock 13
UK Singles Chart 22

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christgau, Robert (22 October 1985). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b Reiff, Corbin (19 June 2014). "30 Years Ago: Glenn Frey Releases 'The Allnighter'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Townsquare Media. Retrieved 22 September 2014.

External links[edit]