Glenn Frey grew up in Detroit. He even played guitar and sang backing vocals on one of hometown pal Bob Seger's first big hits, “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man.” But he made his name as one of the kings of Los Angeles’ ‘70s rock scene with the Eagles – a scene that couldn’t have been further away from the blue-collar, working-class roots of his upbringing. He adapted quickly and almost effortlessly, writing some of the band’s most popular and – surprisingly, given his Midwestern roots – country-leaning songs, including “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Lyin’ Eyes.” Don Henley gave the group its sour bite; Frey provided the sweet twang, as you’ll see in our list of the Top 10 Glenn Frey Eagles Songs.
"Out of Control" From: 'Desperado' (1973)
One of Frey’s toughest rockers, “Out of Control” gives Desperado – a loosely tied-together concept album about the Old West filled with mostly acoustic country ballads – some edge. It’s an odd fit on the LP, but it proved that Frey wasn’t just the laid-back country softie his critics claimed. Frey also supplies the song’s stinging lead guitar.
"Lyin' Eyes"From: 'One of These Nights' (1975)
Don Henley co-wrote “Lyin’ Eyes,” but this is pretty much Frey’s song, from the acoustic rhythm that drives it to his barroom vocal. It made it to No. 2 on the pop chart (following two No. 1s by the band, “Best of My Love” and “One of These Nights”). More importantly, it was the Eagles’ first, and biggest, country hit, making it to No. 8.
"After the Thrill is Gone"From: 'One of These Nights' (1975)
By 1975, Eagles albums were pretty much divided into Frey songs, Don Henley songs and a couple songs by the other guys. (Frey’s only solo vocal contribution to the One of These Nights album was the hit “Lyin’ Eyes.”) This is one of the last songs on which Frey and Henley share lead vocals; they also co-wrote this great underrated ballad.
"Peaceful Easy Feeling"From: 'Eagles' (1972)
The Eagles’ self-titled 1972 debut reflected the young group’s democracy: Each of the four members sang lead vocals on two songs, with Frey and Randy Meisner both getting three. Frey didn’t write “Peaceful Easy Feeling” (frequent songwriting partner Jack Tempchin did), but he might as well have. The Top 25 hit defined him as the group’s most traditional country member.
"New Kid in Town"From: 'Hotel California' (1976)
Not only is Hotel California the Eagles’ masterpiece, it’s their bleakest, druggiest and most L.A. album. It’s also mostly Don Henley’s album (he sings five of the record’s nine songs). Frey helped write many of the numbers, but “New Kid in Town” is the only one on which he sings lead. It’s also the only song on the LP that recalls the band’s country-rock beginnings.
"James Dean"From: 'On the Border' (1974)
With songwriting help from Henley, Jackson Browne and frequent collaborator J. D. Souther, Frey composes a hard-rocking tribute to '50s movie star James Dean, who is hailed as a "lowdown rebel if there ever was one."
"Tequila Sunrise"From: 'Desperado' (1973)
Not so much a celebration of the popular '70s cocktail of the same name as an account of the morning-after effects of a long night of drinking, "Tequila Sunrise" features one of the best examples of Frey's smooth, deceptively easy vocal style.
"Heartache Tonight"From: 'The Long Run' (1979)
This song is ostensibly about the winners and losers of a particular summer evening's romantic games. But in retrospect it's hard not to read the "Somebody's gonna hurt someone / Somebody's gonna come undone" chorus as a warning about the Eagles growing interpersonal issues and imminent breakup.
"Already Gone"From: 'On the Border' (1974)
The opening track of the Eagles' third studio album finds them leaving their country influences behind in favor of a more aggressive rock sound. It also finds Frey breaking a nasty surprise to the woman who was planning to dump him: He's already out the door.
"Take it Easy"From: 'Eagles' (1972)
The Eagles' debut single found Frey taking over an unfinished Jackson Browne song, notably adding the "It's a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowing down to take a look at me" line. The result was a perfect introduction to the band's pioneering blend of country and rock.