Glenn Lewis Frey (/fraɪ/; November 6, 1948 – January 18, 2016) was an American singer, songwriter, actor and founding member of the rock band the Eagles. Frey was the lead singer and frontman for the Eagles, roles he came to share with fellow member Don Henley, with whom he wrote most of the Eagles' material. Frey played guitar and keyboards as well as singing lead vocals on songs such as "Take It Easy", "Peaceful Easy Feeling", "Tequila Sunrise", "Already Gone", "James Dean", "Lyin' Eyes", "New Kid in Town", and "Heartache Tonight".
After the breakup of the Eagles in 1980, Frey embarked on a 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 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, the first year they were nominated. Consolidating his solo recordings and those with the Eagles, Frey had 24 Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100.
Frey performing with the Eagles in 2008
Glenn Lewis Frey
November 6, 1948
|Died||January 18, 2016 (aged 67)|
(m. 1983; div. 1988)
Cindy Millican (m. 1990)
Frey was born in Detroit, Michigan. Growing up in Royal Oak, Michigan, he studied piano at age five, later switched to guitar, 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 classmates Doug Edwards (later replaced by Lenny Mintz) on drums, Doug Gunsch and Bill Barnes on guitar and Jeff Hodge on bass.
Immediately after graduating from Dondero in 1966, he was invited to join The Four of Us, a local band led by Gary Burrows who had seen him performing with the Subterraneans. Frey also attended Oakland Community College while in the band, and he learned to sing harmonies performing with The Four of Us. In 1967, he formed the Mushrooms with Gary Burrows' brother Jeff, Bill Barnes, Doug Gunch, and Larry Mintz. That year Frey also met Bob Seger, who helped Frey get a management and recording contract with a label formed by Seger's management team, Hideout Records. Seger also wrote and produced the band's first single, "Such a Lovely Child", and the band made television appearances to promote it. Frey had intended to join Seger's group but his mother blocked that course of action for smoking cannabis with Seger. In the later part of 1967, Frey also pulled together another band called Heavy Metal Kids with Jeff Burrows (piano), Jeff Alborell (bass), Paul Kelcourse (lead guitar) and Lance Dickerson (drums).
In 1968, at age 19, Frey played the acoustic guitar and performed background vocals on Seger's single, "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man". Frey has said that Seger strongly encouraged and influenced him to focus on writing original songs. They remained good friends and occasional songwriting partners in later years, and Frey would also sing on Seger's songs such as "Fire Lake" and "Against the Wind".
In Detroit, Frey also met and dated Joan Sliwin of the local female group The Mama Cats, which became Honey Ltd. after the group moved to California in 1968. Frey went to Los Angeles hoping to reconnect with his girlfriend, and he was introduced to J. D. Souther by her sister, Alexandra Sliwin, who was with Souther at the time. Frey returned to Detroit after three weeks, but then went back again to Los Angeles to form a duo with Souther called Longbranch Pennywhistle. They were signed to Amos Records and released an eponymous album in 1969, which contains songs he wrote such as "Run, Boy, Run" and "Rebecca", and "Bring Back Funky Women" he co-wrote with Souther. 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.
Frey met drummer Don Henley in 1970. They were signed to the same label, Amos Records, at that time and both spent time at the Troubadour. When Linda Ronstadt needed a backup band for an upcoming tour, her manager John Boylan hired Frey because he needed someone who could play rhythm guitar and sing. Don Henley was approached by Frey to join Ronstadt. Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon were also hired, although as the backing band personnel changed through the tour, the four had only played once together at a gig at Disneyland. Frey and Henley decided to form a band together while on the tour, and they were joined by Meisner on bass and Leadon on guitar, banjo, steel guitar, mandolin and dobro, forming the Eagles, with Frey playing guitar and keyboards and Henley playing drums. The band went on to become one of the world's best-selling groups 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 around 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." At their first live concert of 1994, Frey told the crowd, "For the record, we never broke up. We just took a 14-year vacation."
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 documentary won an Emmy Award in 2013 for Outstanding Sound Mixing For Nonfiction Programming. An accompanying two-year History of the Eagles world tour ended on July 29, 2015 at Bossier City, Louisiana, a concert which would be Frey's final public appearance with the band.
After the Eagles disbanded, Frey achieved solo success in the 1980s, especially with two No. 2 hits. In 1984, he recorded in collaboration with Harold Faltermeyer the worldwide hit, "The Heat Is On", the main theme from the Eddie Murphy action comedy film Beverly Hills Cop; then, Frey performed "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 contribution to the soundtrack, "Smuggler's Blues", hit No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. 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".
Frey was the first choice to record "Shakedown", the theme for the film Beverly Hills Cop II. Frey did not like the lyrics and then came down with laryngitis, so the song was given to Bob Seger. After the song went to number one, Frey called to congratulate Seger, saying "At least we kept the money in Michigan!"
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. In 2005, he appeared on B.B. King & Friends: 80 on the track "Drivin' Wheel".
In 2009, Glenn Frey was voted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.
On May 8, 2012, he released his first solo album in 20 years, After Hours, featuring covers of pop standards from the 1940s to the 1960s.
As a television actor, Frey guest starred on Miami Vice in the first-season episode "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 Arliss, 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 (1996). 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 was married twice. From 1983 to 1988, he was married to artist Janie Beggs. He married dancer and choreographer Cindy Millican in 1990. They had three children: a daughter Taylor, and two sons Deacon and Otis, and remained together until his death. Deacon Frey, since his father's death, has toured with the surviving Eagles.
From about 2000, Frey had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, which affected various joints of his body. The medication that he was prescribed to control the disease eventually led to colitis and pneumonia, and in November 2015, the Eagles announced that they were postponing their appearance at the Kennedy Center Honors as Frey required surgery for intestinal problems and a lengthy recovery period. Following surgery, he was placed in a medically-induced coma at Columbia University Medical Center. Frey died there on January 18, 2016 at the age of 67 from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia, while recovering from gastrointestinal tract surgery. Medications for rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis can compromise the immune system's ability to fight off pneumonia. In January, 2018, Frey's wife filed a suit against Mount Sinai Hospital and gastroenterologist Steven Itzkowitz for the wrongful death of Frey.
Frey was publicly mourned by his friends, fellow musicians and bandmates including Don Henley, Randy Meisner, J. D. Souther, Jack Tempchin, Irving Azoff, Linda Ronstadt, Don Felder, and Bob Seger. At the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, the remaining members of the Eagles and Jackson Browne performed "Take It Easy" in his honor. A life-sized statue of Frey was unveiled at the Standin' on the Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona, on September 24, 2016, to honor his songwriting contributions to "Take It Easy", made famous by the Eagles as their first single in 1972. The road that runs next to the high school he attended now bears his name.
|Year||Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|1982||No Fun Aloud||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|1993||Glenn Frey Live||
|Year||Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|2000||20th Century Masters –
The Millennium Collection
|2018||Above the Clouds: The Collection||
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1982||"I Found Somebody"||31||57||27||—||—||—||93||—||No Fun Aloud|
|"The One You Love"||15||—||2||12||2||—||50||36|
|"Don't Give Up"||—||25||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1983||"All Those Lies"||41||—||28||—||—||—||—||—|
|1984||"Sexy Girl"||20||—||23||48||12||81||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||94||20||46||Miami Vice (soundtrack)|
|1988||"True Love"||13||15||2||2||—||84||49||—||Soul Searchin'|
|1989||"Flip City"||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||Ghostbusters II (soundtrack)|
|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"||—A||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|1995||"This Way to Happiness"||—||—||—||54||—||—||—||—||Solo Collection|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
Takamine Guitars manufactures a Glenn Frey signature acoustic-electric guitar, the EF360GF. It is designed to replicate the Takamine Frey used for his live and studio applications. In the 1970s, Frey used Martin acoustic guitars in both six- and 12-string versions.
Frey played assorted electric guitars over the years, namely Fender Telecaster, Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG, Gibson ES-330, Epiphone Casino and Rickenbacker 230, but the electric guitar that is most associated with him was his black Gibson Les Paul Junior, nicknamed Old Black.
"Best of My Love" is a song written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and J. D. Souther. It was originally recorded by the Eagles (with Henley singing lead vocals), and included on their 1974 album On the Border. The song was released as the third single from the album, and it became the band's first Billboard Hot 100 number 1 single in March 1975. The song also topped the easy listening (adult contemporary) chart for one week a month earlier. Billboard ranked it as the number 12 song for 1975.Desperado (Eagles song)
"Desperado" is a song by the American rock band Eagles. It was written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley and appeared on the 1973 album Desperado as well as numerous compilation albums. Although the song was never released as a single, it is one of the group's best known songs and ranked No. 494 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".Glenn Frey (American football)
Glenn Joseph Frey (March 6, 1912 – January 5, 1980) was an American football quarterback and running back in the National Football League. He played for the Philadelphia Eagles. He played college football for the Temple Owls.Heartache Tonight
"Heartache Tonight" is a song written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bob Seger and J. D. Souther, and recorded by the Eagles. The track was included on their album The Long Run and released as a single in 1979. It reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in November of that year and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America representing one million copies sold. It was the Eagles' final chart-topping song on the Hot 100.
The recording received a 1979 Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The song originated from an electric jam session between Glenn Frey and J. D. Souther who would visit Frey's home in Los Angeles whenever he was in town on tour. Frey and Souther wrote the first verse while listening to Sam Cooke songs. In the heat of jamming, Frey called Bob Seger on the phone and sang him the verse. Seger then blurted out the chorus. According to Frey, "J.D. [Souther], Don and I finished that song up. No heavy lyrics - the song is more of a romp - and that's what it was intended to be."
The song was covered by country music singer John Anderson on the tribute album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles and was also covered by Michael Bublé on his album Crazy Love.Hole in the World
"Hole in the World" is a song by the Eagles, written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, released in 2003.
This is the first Eagles recording without guitarist Don Felder since 1974, and it was released as a DVD single with some bonus tracks: the "Hole in the World" Stereo Mix & 5.1 Multichannel track, the video, outtakes from the video and a trailer for the DVD Farewell 1 Tour-Live from Melbourne.
"Hole in the World" appears on the 2003 compilation album The Very Best Of, as well the DVD (only in the first edition). It was also included as a bonus track on the Deluxe Edition of the 2007 album Long Road Out of Eden.Hotel California
"Hotel California" is the title track from the Eagles' album of the same name and was released as a single in February 1977. Writing credits for the song are shared by Don Felder (music), Don Henley, and Glenn Frey (lyrics). The Eagles' original recording of the song features Henley singing the lead vocals and concludes with an extended section of electric guitar interplay between Felder and Joe Walsh.
The song is considered the most famous recording by the band, and its long guitar coda has been voted the best guitar solo of all time by readers of Guitarist in 1998. The song was awarded the Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1978. The lyrics of the song have been given various interpretations by fans and critics alike, the Eagles themselves describing the song as their "interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles". In the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, Henley said that the song was about "a journey from innocence to experience... that's all..."Since its release, "Hotel California" has been covered by a number of artists and has become a part of international popular culture. Julia Phillips proposed adapting the song into a film, but the members of the Eagles disliked the idea and it never came to fruition. Commercially, "Hotel California" reached the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the top ten of several international charts.I Can't Tell You Why
"I Can't Tell You Why" is a song by the American rock band Eagles, which appeared on their 1979 album The Long Run. The song was written by band members Timothy B. Schmit, Glenn Frey, and Don Henley. Recorded in March 1978, it was the first song finished for the album and the first Eagles song to feature Schmit on lead vocals. The studio version became a Billboard Top 10 hit in April 1980, reaching number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 3 on the Adult Contemporary chart. It is their last Top Ten hit on the Hot 100.James Dean (song)
"James Dean" is a song written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne, and J. D. Souther, and recorded by the American rock band Eagles for their 1974 album On the Border. It was the second single released from this album, reaching number 77 on the U.S. pop singles chart.The song is about American actor James Dean (1931–1955) who starred in such films as Rebel Without a Cause, Giant and East of Eden. The lyrics, "too fast to live, too young to die" refer to the life and abrupt death of Dean in a car crash in 1955. Bernie Leadon played the guitar solo.Life in the Fast Lane
"Life in the Fast Lane" is a song written by Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey and Don Henley and recorded by the American rock band the Eagles on their 1976 studio album Hotel California. It was the third single released from this album, and peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.Lyin' Eyes
"Lyin' Eyes" is a song written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey and recorded in 1975 by the American rock band the Eagles, with Frey singing lead vocals. It was the second single from their album One of These Nights, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 8 on the Billboard Country chart. It remained their only top 40 country hit until "How Long" in 2007–2008.
The Eagles received a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Group for "Lyin' Eyes", and were nominated for Record of the Year.New Kid in Town
"New Kid in Town" is a song by the Eagles from their 1976 studio album Hotel California. It was written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey and J.D. Souther. Released as the first single from the album, the song became a number-one hit in the US, and number 20 in the UK. The single version has an earlier fade-out than the album version. The song features Glenn Frey singing the lead vocals, with Don Henley singing main harmony vocals. Randy Meisner plays the guitarrón mexicano, Don Felder plays electric guitars, and Joe Walsh plays the electric piano and organ parts. The song won the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices.One of These Nights (song)
"One of These Nights" is a song written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey and recorded by the American rock band Eagles. The title track from their One of These Nights album, the song became their second single to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart after "Best of My Love" and also helped propel the album to number one. The single version was shortened from the album version of the song, removing most of the song's intro and most of its fade-out, as well. Henley is lead vocalist on the verses, while Randy Meisner sings high harmony (not lead) on the refrain. The song features a guitar solo by Don Felder that is "composed of blues-based licks and sustained string bends using an unusually meaty distortion tone."Take It Easy
"Take It Easy" is a song written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, and recorded by the Eagles with Frey singing lead vocals. It was the band's first single, released on May 1, 1972. It peaked at No. 12 on the July 22, 1972 Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also was the opening track on the band's debut album Eagles and it has become one of their signature songs, included on all of their live and compilation albums. It is listed as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.
Jackson Browne later recorded the song as the lead track on his second album, For Everyman (1973), and released it as a single as well, although it did not chart. Travis Tritt also covered the song for the 1993 Eagles' tribute album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles; the video for Tritt's version is notable for the appearance of all five members of the Eagles together again for the first time in 13 years after their break-up, and it led to the reunion of the band a few months later.Take It to the Limit (Eagles song)
"Take It to the Limit" is a song by the Eagles from their fourth album One of These Nights from which it was issued as the third single on November 15, 1975. It reached No. 4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and was also the Eagles' greatest success to that point in the UK, going to No. 12 on the charts. Billboard ranked it as the No. 25 song for 1976.The song was written by Eagles' members Randy Meisner, Don Henley and Glenn Frey. Meisner, who sang lead on it, says the song began as his solo composition. As it remained unfinished when time came for the One of These Nights album to be recorded, Henley and Frey assisted Meisner in completing it. Meisner's performance of the song was popular with the audience in Eagles' concerts, but disputes over his reluctance to perform it would also directly lead to Meisner's departure from the band.Tequila Sunrise (song)
"Tequila Sunrise" is a 1973 song written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, and recorded by the Eagles. It was the first single from the band's second album Desperado. The song peaked at number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100.
A cover version was recorded by country music singer Alan Jackson on the 1993 tribute album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles. It peaked at number 64 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.The City Is Mine
"The City Is Mine" is the second single from rapper Jay-Z's second album In My Lifetime, Vol. 1. It features vocals from Blackstreet and production from Blackstreet member Teddy Riley. Riley samples "You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else" by The Jones Girls for the song's beat, while Blackstreet interpolates "You Belong to the City" by Glenn Frey and Jack Tempchin for the song's chorus. In addition, a young Chad Hugo plays saxophone on this song. The first verse is dedicated to the memory of his friend, The Notorious B.I.G..The Heat Is On (Glenn Frey song)
"The Heat Is On" is a song written by Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey, and recorded by Glenn Frey for the American film Beverly Hills Cop (1984). The song was published as a single and as the sixth track of the album Beverly Hills Cop: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack (1984).The Long Run (song)
"The Long Run" is a song written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey and recorded by the Eagles. The sound of the song is viewed as a tribute to the Stax / Memphis rhythm and blues sound. It was the title track of their album The Long Run and was released as a single in November 1979. It reached No. 8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in early 1980. It was the second of three singles released from The Long Run album, preceded by "Heartache Tonight," which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979, and followed by "I Can't Tell You Why," which also reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, in the spring of 1980.The song was featured on the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati on the episode "The Doctor's Daughter". Specifically, Dr. Johnny Fever decides to air the recording and his programming director Andy Travis is hysterical with delight that his popular DJ is playing a hit record for once.You Belong to the City
"You Belong to the City" is a song written by former Eagles member Glenn Frey and Jack Tempchin, and recorded by Frey during his solo career. It was written specifically for the television show Miami Vice in 1985. The song peaked at number two (behind Starship's "We Built This City") on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, although it did reach the top of the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart.The song, along with Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice Theme", helped the Miami Vice soundtrack album reach the top spot of the Billboard 200 chart for 11 weeks in 1985, making it the best-selling album of the year. Frey performed this song live when touring with the Eagles until 2005. A version of the Eagles performing the song can be found on their DVD Farewell Tour I: Live from Melbourne released that year.