Top 10 Glenn Frey Lead Vocals With Eagles and Solo

Glenn Frey
Glenn Frey. Photo by Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey died at age 67 on January 18, 2016. These are the best songs of his legacy as a lead vocalist of The Eagles as well as his solo career.

of 10

Eagles - "Take It Easy" (1972)

Eagles Take It Easy
Eagles - "Take It Easy". Courtesy Asylum Records

For most fans of 70s pop, their first introduction to the Eagles was the voice of Glenn Frey detailing his problems with women on "Take It Easy." He had, "seven women on my mind, four that want to own me, two that want to stone me, one says she's a friend of mine." He co-wrote the song with Jackson Browne and it was released as the first single by the Eagles in May 1972. Rolling Stone gave it high praise as, "the best sounding rock single to come out so far this year," and it hit #12 on the pop chart in the US kicking off the band's chart success. Eventually, "Take It Easy" would become one of the band's signature songs. To commemorate its mention in the song, Winslow, Arizona has erected a bronze statue known as the "Take It Easy" statue.

Eagles producer Glyn Johns experimented with the recording of "Take It Easy." He had lead guitarist Bernie Leadon play a banjo part that gave the song a distinctive sound. He also had key harmony vocals shift from Randy Meisner to Don Henley in the middle of a verse. "Take It Easy" was included on the Eagles' self-titled debut album. The album was a solid success peaking at #22 on the album chart.

of 10

Eagles - "Peaceful Easy Feeling" (1972)

Eagles Self-Titled Album Cover. Courtesy Asylum

"Peaceful Easy Feeling" marked the beginning of a long association between songwriter Jack Tempchin and Glenn Frey. Jack Tempchin wrote the song in a period during which he was performing at local coffee shops around San Diego. Later when he had moved to Los Angeles, Glenn Frey heard "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and asked if he could record it with his new band the Eagles. It became the third hit single for the Eagles peaking at #22 pop and #20 adult contemporary. Jack Tempchin would later co-write the Eagles' "Already Gone" and co-write a number of Glenn Frey's solo hits.

"Peaceful Easy Feeling" was the third hit single from the Eagles' self-titled debut album. The collection included songs with four different lead vocalists. Don Henley sang lead on two, Randy Meisner on three, Bernie Leadon on two, and Glenn Frey on three. Producer Glyn Johns concentrated on the blend of the vocals to help make an uneasy peace between Bernie Leadon's desire to make the Eagles a country band and Glenn Frey's wish for it to be a rock and roll band.

of 10

Eagles - "Tequila Sunrise" (1973)

Eagles Desperado
Eagles - Desperado. Courtesy Asylum

"Tequila Sunrise" was one of the first songs that Glenn Frey co-wrote with fellow Eagles member Don Henley. It was part of the western theme of the band's second album Desperado. The tequila sunrise cocktail was very popular at the time, but the song alters the meaning of the phrase referring to drinking tequila straight as the sun comes up. Glenn Frey stated that the song was one of his favorites. It was released as the lead single from Desperado and failed to have major chart impact climbing only to #64 on the pop chart and #26 on the adult contemporary chart, but it has grown to be a favorite of the band's work over time.

The Desperado album, the second studio work by the Eagles, was put together with a serious intent of making it a concept record. The members of the group are dressed up as outlaws on the album cover. It was the first album in which the songwriting of Glenn Frey and Don Henley began to dominate the band. They were involved in writing eight of the eleven songs in the collection. Without a major pop hit, the album was a commercial disappointment reaching only #41 on the album chart.

of 10

Eagles - "Lyin' Eyes" (1975)

Eagles Lyin' Eyes
Eagles - "Lyin' Eyes". Courtesy Asylum

As the second single from the album One of These Nights, "Lyin' Eyes" continued the Eagles' hot streak of singles that began with "Best Of My Love" from the On the Border album. "Lyin' Eyes" reached #2 and was kept from the top by Elton John's "Island Girl." Peaking at #8 on the country chart, it was the Eagles only top 40 country hit for over 30 years. The song intimately details the mixed emotions of a woman who is cheating on her husband. Glenn Frey's warm vocals help moderate the tone keeping the song from sounding bitter or scolding. The Eagles won their first Grammy Award for "Lyin' Eyes" taking home Best Pop Vocal Performance By a Duo, Group or Chorus. It was also nominated for Record of the Year.

One of These Nights was a breakthrough album for the Eagles. It was their first to reach the top 10 on the album chart and went all the way to #1 after four weeks on the chart. It included three top 10 pop hit singles and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Glenn Frey was involved in writing six of the nine songs on the album including all three of the hit singles.

of 10

Eagles - "New Kid In Town" (1976)

Eagles New Kid In Town
Eagles - "New Kid In Town". Courtesy Asylum

According to J.D. Souther, who co-wrote "New Kid In Town" with Glenn Frey and Don Henley, "We were writing about our replacements." The Eagles were at their commercial peak and musing about the next band that would ride into town and steal their thunder with the public. Released as the first single from the band's landmark Hotel California album, it was their fifth consecutive top 5 charting pop single and their third #1. It also reached #2 on the adult contemporary chart and earned the Eagles their first gold certification for single sales. The elegant arrangement won a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement for Voices.

J.D. Souther originally wrote the chorus for "New Kid In Town." The group thought it sounded like a hit, but he didn't know how to finish the song. A year later when Glenn Frey and Don Henley were working on songs for the Hotel California album, the three finished the song together. 

of 10

Eagles - "Heartache Tonight" (1979)

Eagles Heartache Tonight
Eagles - "Heartache Tonight". Courtesy Asylum

Glenn Frey digs deeper into rock territory with his lead vocal on "Heartache Tonight." The song originated with a verse that Glenn Frey and J.D. Souther wrote together. Glenn Frey then called friend Bob Seger on the phone and he contributed the chorus. Don Henley helped finish up the song and it became the band's final #1 hit single kicking off their album The Long Run. "Heartache Tonight" won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Vocal Performance By a Duo or Group.

In 1980, following the success of the album The Long Run, bad tempers between Don Felder and Glenn Frey boiled over during a concert in Long Beach, California and the group fell apart. When the group finally came back together in 1994 for the Hell Freezes Over album, Glenn Frey told a concert audience, "For the record, we never broke up, we just took a 14-year vacation."

of 10

Glenn Frey - "The One You Love" (1982)

Glenn Frey No Fun Aloud
Glenn Frey - No Fun Aloud. Courtesy Asylum

Following the Eagles' acrimonious breakup in 1980, Glenn Frey embarked on a solo career. His first album No Fun Aloud is mostly a collection of gentle love songs. He co-wrote "The One You Love" with Jack Tempchin. The recording is notable for the prominent tenor saxophones played by Ernie Watts, who toured with the Rolling Stones, and prominent session musician Jim Horn. The song peaked at #15 on the pop chart and #2 adult contemporary.

The album No Fun Aloud was received positively by most music critics. It included a song co-written by Glenn Frey's friend Bob Seger. No Fun Aloud peaked at #32 on the album chart and earned a gold certification for sales.


of 10

Glenn Frey - "The Heat Is On" (1984)

Glenn Frey The Heat Is On
Glenn Frey - "The Heat Is On". Courtesy MCA

"The Heat Is On" was one of the songs Harold Faltermeyer and Keith Forsey wrote for the soundtrack to the film Beverly Hills Cop starring Eddie Murphy. In an unusual circumstance, the record label MCA asked male rock singers on the label to audition for recording the song. Glenn Frey balked at first, but ultimately his performance was chosen and the song became a #2 charting pop hit, Glenn Frey's biggest as a solo artist.

"The Heat Is On" is arguably Glenn Frey's signature song as a solo artist. It was the first of three consecutive soundtrack pop hits. Glenn Frey's "Smuggler's Blues" reached #12 on the pop chart and it was followed by the #2 hit "You Belong To the City." They are both included on the soundtrack to the hit TV show Miami Vice.

Watch Video

of 10

Glenn Frey - "You Belong to the City" (1985)

Glenn Frey You Belong To the City
Glenn Frey - "You Belong To the City". Courtesy MCA

Glenn Frey co-wrote "You Belong To the City" with long-time collaborator Jack Tempchin. It was written for the soundtrack of the hit TV show Miami Vice. Peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, "You Belong To the City" matched the peak of "The Heat Is On." It also reached #2 on the adult contemporary chart. The Miami Vice soundtrack became a #1 hit on the album chart for 11 weeks.

When the Eagles reunited, "You Belong To the City" was performed by Glenn Frey on concert tours until 2005. All of the instruments on the recording of "You Belong To the City" are played by Glenn Frey except for the saxophone and drums.

of 10

Glenn Frey - "True Love" (1988)

Glenn Frey
Glenn Frey. Photo by Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

For his album Soul Searchin', Glenn Frey turned in a more overt soul music direction. However, critics were not impressed and the album received some of the most negative reviews of his career. Despite the complaints, the single "True Love" became a hit. It peaked at #13 on the pop singles chart and #2 adult contemporary serving as Glenn Frey's final solo top 40 hit.

Soul Searchin' was Glenn Frey's first solo album in four years. It was a deliberate effort to explore the Memphis style soul of Sam & Dave and Wilson Pickett. Soul Searchin' peaked at #36 on the album chart.