Glenn Frey may no longer be with us in body, but he will continue to live on through his music. In 1969, he co-founded one of the greatest American rock bands of all time alongside Don Henley, the Eagles. In their forty-year career stint, the Eagles have been awarded six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In 1980, Frey went solo, and he has since extended his legacy as a singer-songwriter with popular songs such as “The Heat Is On,” “You Belong to the City,” “Smuggler’s Blues,” “Sexy Girl,” “Part of Me, Part of You” and many others. So, what are the top 10 greatest songs by Glenn Frey? We’ve had our eyes and ears on the Eagles’ catalog, as well as Frey’s solo material, to present you with some of his best work. Here is our countdown of the top 10 songs by Glenn Frey.
10. “Smuggler’s Blues” (the Allnighter album – 1984)
“Smuggler’s Blues” is the first track on Frey’s “The Allnighter” album. The song is about a man who smuggles things for money, mostly, drugs. When he sings, ” I’m just another lost generation,” it’s apparent that he’s referring to his own peers—the baby boomer generation—and signalling that he’s part of the group. In fact, Frey does a very good job in addressing the issues he thinks are important in this song. He may not be writing about himself when it comes to drugs, but he’s certainly singing from his heart.
9. “Heartache Tonight” (from the Long Run album – 1979)
This song was the Eagles’ last number one hit, and it topped the charts in November 1979. Released from “the Long Run” album, the song was co-written by Frey, Don Henley, and Bob Seger. It’s one of the most well-known songs in their entire catalog, and it’s certainly an iconic tune for all classic rock fans. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in November 1979, and it stayed there for three weeks.
8. “You Belong to the City” (for the Miami Vice TV Show– 1985)
In 1982, Frey released his first solo album entitled “No Fun Aloud.” It’s a different time in history, and pop music was on an entirely new path. Frey didn’t know it at the time, but he took a huge risk when he embarked on his career as a solo artist. Not surprisingly, “You Belong to the City” reached number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and was Frey’s first solo number-one hit. The song features Glenn talking about life in New York City and how great it is—the city “belongs” to you when you’re living there. It is another example of a song that wasn’t a hit in the ’80s but has been enjoyed by millions of fans after being featured on one of TV’s most popular shows. “You Belong to the City” was written for the 1980s cop show “Miami Vice,” specifically for the final episode of season one. It was a hit in 1985, and it became Glenn Frey’s biggest solo success.
7. “Lyin’ Eyes” (from the One of These Nights album – 1975)
Glenn Frey, along with Don Henley and Jackson Browne, wrote this song. “One of These Nights” is the title track off the Eagles’ fourth studio album. Released in 1975, it’s one of their best-known songs for many reasons—most notably because it features Joe Walsh on lead guitar. It is one of the most played songs on classic rock radio stations. It’s a song about being lied to by someone you love, and it’s musically very different from other popular music at the time. “Lyin’ Eyes” was unique because of its amazing chord progression and tempo changes.
6. “New Kid in Town” (from Hotel California album – 1976)
Written by Frey and Don Henley in 1976, this was the second single from “Hotel California,” one of the best rock records in history. Frey sings lead vocals, and he does a fantastic job with them. “New Kid in Town” was written about Frey and Henley’s rock star friends when they first moved to Los Angeles. It features the Eagles’ signature sound—Frey, Henley, and Walsh all play guitar, Randy Meisner plays bass guitar, Joe Vitale plays drums, and Don Felder plays electric slide guitar.
5. “Take It Easy” (single released in 1972)
“Take It Easy,” written by Frey and Jackson Browne, is not only one of the Eagles’ most popular songs, but it’s also a hit for many other artists. The song reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart when it was released as a single in 1972, and the Eagles performed it during their “Hell Freezes Over” reunion tour in 1994. You’ll never guess who originally wanted to record “Take It Easy.” That’s right—it was Frank Sinatra, but Frey and Brown turned him down because they’d promised the song to the Eagles. Also, country star Waylon Jennings wanted to make it part of his album before it appeared on the Eagles’ debut album.
4. “Doolin-Dalton” (from the Desperado album – 1973)
This song is the last track on the Eagles’ second studio album, “Desperado.” Like much of their music, it’s an unofficial concept album about the infamous Dalton Gang. The band needed two songs to complete the project after another one they’d recorded failed to fit in with Desperado. Frey and Henley asked Bernie Leadon to write music for their lyrics, which is how “Doolin-Dalton” was born.The song tells the story of two members of the Dalton Gang, who were American Old West outlaws in the late 19th century. It’s another deep cut for most Eagles fans, with incredibly strong lyrics and imagery. The song has a western twang to it, and it features some great guitar playing from Don Felder.
3. “Sexy Girl” (from the Allnighter album – 1984)
Frey wrote this song in the early ’80s when he began experimenting with writing songs outside of his usual rock music. It was recorded for Frey’s first solo album, The Allnighter, which came out in 1984. Leadon and Joe Walsh play the song’s electric guitar riffs, Meisner plays bass, and Vitale handles the drums. The lyrics are about a man giving his girlfriend everything he can; it doesn’t matter what she wants or needs—he’ll get it for her because he loves her so much. The song has a ’60s theme, which Frey wanted to capture in his solo work. He had creative control of the album, and he wrote all of its songs—something only original members Don Felder and Randy Meisner did for the Eagles’ albums at that point.
2. “Ol’ 55” ( from the On the Border album – 1974)
“Ol’ 55” is about a car, but it’s also about escaping small-town life and finding adventure elsewhere. Frey wrote the lyrics to the song after moving out of his hometown—Detroit—and moving across the country to Los Angeles. It was originally recorded for the eponymous “Eagles” album in 1972, but it didn’t make it on there. Frey re-recorded it for On the Border in 1974, and that version became a hit single for the Eagles. The song has an upbeat tempo and some great guitar playing from Frey and Felder.
1. “The Heat Is On” (from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack – 1984)
“The Heat Is On” comes from the movie Beverly Hills Cop, which came out in 1984 and was directed by Martin Brest. It’s one of Frey’s greatest hits, and it reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is about a case of mistaken identity, which Frey based on an experience he had while visiting New York City. Frey wasn’t originally slated to write the theme song for Beverly Hills Cop; that honor was supposed to go to Barry DeVorzon and Valerie Carter. However, DeVorzon and Carter didn’t finish the song in time for the film’s release. The producers then turned to Frey. Frey made a demo of “The Heat Is On” at his home studio before flying out to Detroit, Michigan, to record the final version with Harold Faltermeyer. Frey said in an interview that he was annoyed when he found out DeVorzon and Carter weren’t going to finish the movie’s theme song because Frey thought it would’ve been a fun project for him to work on.