Singer, songwriter, guitarist
The breakup of the Eagles resulted in most of the band members going solo. Only two, though— drummer Don Henley and guitarist Glenn Frey—were to find success quickly. Frey was the first to strike out on his own, soaring comfortably into an admirable new career unhindered by “the poisoned delights and sundown despair of the California dream” associated with the Eagles.
Frey’s first solo album, No Fun Aloud, is characterized as having a “casually polished, r&b-tinged surface” that “barely conceals a prodigiously talented singer/songwriter.” Reviewers indicate much of the album is fun, like the rousing “Partytown” (complete with backup vocals from such revelers as controversial tennis star John McEnroe) and the “bullish” remake of “I’ve Been Born Again.” The upbeat, unpretentious air is rounded out with the inclusion of sweet melodies and gentle lyrics in pieces like the Spanish-sounding “She Can’t Let Go” and “The One You Love.” Longtime friend and fellow Detroiter Bob Seger collaborated with Frey on “That Girl,” a “weeper… in which Frey’s understated vocal is dramatically colored by David Wolinski’s distant organ trill and a string arrangement that sounds like a spring rain.” While Rolling Stone suggests the album might have “benefited from more rhythmic punch,” the reviewer thought it nonetheless will do nicely “if you’re drinking a beer right now.”
Despite an agressive and successful foray into the solo scene, Frey was to receive harsher critiques down the line. His third album, Soul Searchin’, is a case in point. While the package looks good and the songs sound good to the casual listener, according to People reviewer David Hiltbrand, they were still “little gems that possess not a whit of warmth or sincerity.” Comparing Frey to former Eagle Don Henley, Hiltbrand goes so far as to suggest Frey’s work “doesn’t have the intelligence and feeling that mark Henley’s records.” On Soul Searchin’ in particular, he asserts, Frey’s shifting vocals seem to underscore what otherwise appears to be sincerity. His talents do carry him through on such slick pieces as “True Love” with its “meaty organ licks and smoky horns,” the Springsteenish “Working Man,” and “70’s bubblegum-soul”-sounding “Let’s Pretend We’re Still in Love,” but they still seem, to Hiltbrand, contrived, the album title a farce. If Frey were to embark on a “soul search,” Hiltbrand claims, “you can rest assured he’ll be back empty-handed and in time for lunch.”
For Frey, just being in the business after so many years is a good sign. He feels he is part of a group of musicians “none of whom thought we would be doing it this long.” Part of their strength and continuing popularity,
Surname pronounced “Fry”; born November 6, 1948, in Detroit, Mich.
Singer, songwriter, and guitarist; performed as member of backup bands for Bo Diddley and Linda Ronstadt; member of group Longbranch Penny Whistle; founding member of the Eagles, 1971-81; solo artist, 1981—. Also actor and commercial spokesperson.
Awards: Co-recipient (with other members of the Eagles) of Grammy Awards for best pop vocal performance by a group, 1975, for “Lyin’ Eyes”; for record of the year, 1977, for Hotel California; for best arrangement for voices, 1977, for “New Kid In Town”; and for best rock vocal performance by a group, 1979, for “Heartache Tonight.”
Addresses: Office —c/o Triad Artists Inc., 10100 Santa Monica Blvd., 16th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90067.
he asserts, comes from the fact that many fans from the early days are still with him, still wanting to rock and roll. They continue to share a similar outlook on life and “want people from their generation to speak for them.” So Frey maintains a good attitude about his music and his career. “I’m realistic enough about my own solo career so that I don’t anticipate having the sort of success I achieved with the Eagles.” The late 1980s also saw Frey branch out into acting, appearing in a dramatic role on NBC-TVs “Miami Vice” that was favorably reviewed by critics, and in television commercials promoting a national chain of health and fitness gyms.
No Fun Aloud, Asylum, 1982.
Allnighter, MCA, 1984.
Soul Searchin’, MCA, 1988.
High Fidelity, September 1982.
New York Times, September 14, 1988.
People, October 10, 1988.
Rolling Stone, August 5, 1982.
—Meg Mac Donald
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