4 Songs You Didn’t Know the Eagles’ Glenn Frey Wrote for Other Artists

Along with bandmate Don Henley, the late Glenn Frey wrote, co-wrote, and sang many of the Eagles‘ hits, from “Tequila Sunrise,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “New Kid in Town,” “How Long,” “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Heartache Tonight,” and “Already Gone,” among many others.

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Breaking off to work on his solo career by the early 1980s, Frey released his debut, No Fun Aloud, in 1982 and continued working with longtime Eagles collaborators like Jack Tempchin and his former, pre-Eagles bandmate in Longbranch Pennywhistle, actor and composer J.D. Souther.

Through the 1980s, Frey’s songs also started trickling into film and television with “The Heat is On” making it’s way on to the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack in 1984 and his softer rock hit “You Belong to the City” placed on the TV crime drama Miami Vice (where he also guest-starred in its first season) a year later. Frey later contributed “Flip City” to the Ghostbusters II soundtrack in 1989 and “Part of Me, Part of You” to the 1991 film Thelma & Louise

Continuing to dabble in acting, Frey also starred in episodes of the TV series Wiseguy, the Don Johnson and Cheech Marin police drama Nash Bridges, and Cameron Crowe’s 1996 film Jerry Maguire, among other roles.

Frey released five solo albums throughout his career, including his fifth and final album, After Hours, in 2012.

From his 1970s Eagles’ classics through ’80s hits, Frey, who died on Jan. 18, 2016, at the age of 67, was one master songwriter.

In between the more memorable and classic works within his lengthy catalog, here are four songs Frey wrote for other artists from the late ’70s through 2010s.

1. “Cocaine,” Jackson Browne (1977)
Original lyrics by Reverend Gary Davis; additional lyrics by Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne

Inside room 124 at the Holiday Inn in Edwardsville, Illinois on August 17, 1977, Jackson Browne recorded “Cocaine.” Originally a folk-western murder ballad, the song had countless iterations throughout the 20th century. There was “Cocaine Blues,” penned by Troy Junius Arnall, who reworked the uncredited folk ballad “Little Sadie” to tell the story of Willy Lee, who murders his unfaithful girlfriend while under the influence of cocaine and whiskey. Johnny Cash even performed the song during his 1968 Folsom Prison concert.

When Jackson Browne was piecing together his fifth album, Running on Empty, he gravitated toward the folk and gospel singer Reverend Gary Davis’ 1965 version of the song. Davis said that he originally learned the song, also known as “Coco Blues,” in 1905 from Porter Irving, a traveling carnival musician, and later recorded it on his album, Pure Religion and Bad Company. Prior to Browne, Led Zeppelin, Nick Drake and Townes Van Zandt, and many other acts had previously covered Davis’ version throughout the late 1960s and ’70s.

Browne took the “Cocaine” ballad and turned it into more of an elegy for addiction. Co-written with Glenn Frey, the two added on additional lyrics to the Davis version, crafting yet another version of the song.

Late last night about a quarter past four
Ladanyi come knockin’ down my hotel room door
Where’s the cocaine
It’s runnin’ all ’round my brain

I was talking to my doctor down at the hospital
He said, “Son, it says here you’re twenty-seven,
But that’s impossible
Cocaine you look like you could be forty-five

Now I’m losing touch with reality and I’m almost out of blow
It’s such a fine line I hate to see it go
Cocaine, runnin’ all ’round my brain

Learn Rev. Gary Davis’ classic version of “Cocaine Blues” on guitar, HERE.

2. “Last in Love,” Nicolette Larson (1978)
Written by Glenn Frey and J.D. Souther

The closing track off Nicolette Larson’s debut album, Nicolette, “Last in Love” was also one of the original songs in the collection of covers the singer took on, from Sam Cooke‘s “You Send Me” and Neil Young‘s “Lotta Love”—the latter earning her a No. 1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. On “Last in Love,” Larson, who started out as a backup singer for Young, sings about the naivety of falling in love.

The song was covered by longtime Eagles co-writer J.D. Souther in 1979 and again by George Strait, who released on his 1992 album, Pure Country, a soundtrack to the film of the same name.

Ev’ry now and then
voices on the wind
call me back to the first time
far away and clear
you can hear the tear drops
falling for the last in love

If I let you down
All I can say is “I’m sorry”
Now it’s’ all over town
So I don’t want to hear it from you

Please don’t look away it’s hard enough to say
This could go on forever
When the night is clear
I can hear the teardrops
Falling for the last in love

3. “‘Til the Bars Burn Down,” J.D. Souther (1979)
Written by Glenn Frey and J. D. Souther

Glenn Frey and John David “J.D.” Souther started out together as a country-folk duo Longbranch Pennywhistle and released their self-titled debut in 1969. In between composing music for the 1980 romantic drama Urban Cowboy and John Waters’ comedy Cry-Baby a decade later, Souther became a longtime Eagles collaborator and co-wrote some of their biggest hits. Souther also continued working with Frey and Don Henley, who both kicked off their solo careers in 1982.

Along with writing songs for Linda Ronstadt, Souther also released his own music. For his third album, You’re Only Lonely, which hit No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, Frey co-wrote one track with Souther: “‘Til the Bars Burn Down.” On the album, Souther also covered a song he originally wrote with Frey for Nicolette Larson (see above), “The Last in Love.”

On his later albums, Souther also covered several Eagles songs he co-wrote with the band, including “Best in Town, “Best of My Love,” “The Sad Cafe,” and “New Kid in Town.”

Well, the sun is sinkin’
And people start thinkin’
At twilight
Tell me what can I do
‘Til a quarter to two
To feel alright
Well there’s always someone playin’
Down at the Hoo-rah Ranch
And all the wrong women dancin’ Jesus the swing

I’ll be there
I got a chair
I’m gonna stare
I’ll be there until the bars burn down

Read the story behind the meaning of the Eagles song “New Kid in Town” HERE

4. “One More Time With Feeling,” Jack Tempchin (2019)
Written by Glenn Frey and Jack Tempchin

The collaborative team of Jack Tempchin and Glenn Frey started from the Eagles’ inception. A longtime collaborator of the band, Tempchin wrote the Eagles’ “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” off their 1972 debut, and co-wrote the band’s “Somebody,” The Girl From Yesterday,” “It’s Your World Now,” and “Already Gone.”

Along with his own solo material, Tempchin continued working with Frey when he embarked on his solo career. Tempchin co-wrote a majority of Frey’s solo albums, from his 1982 debut, No Fun Aloud, to his fourth album, Strange Weather in 1992. He also co-penned Frey’s 1985 Miami Vice hit, “You Belong to the City,” along with “Sexy Girl,” “Smuggler’s Blues, “True Love,” ‘The One You Love,” and “I Found Somebody,” among others.

For Tempchin’s 2019 album, One More Time With Feeling, the title track was a song Glenn Frey co-wrote with him before his death in 2016.

“El Blurto” was the name Frey gave to his decades-long working relationship with Tempchin.

“Sometimes when you get together and you’re having a conversation, and you’re sitting there with legal pads and guitars or taped music, and you’re trying to write a song, every once in a while you’ll have these moments when you go, ‘How about this?’” said Frey. “You write four lines or you write six lines or you write two lines that you think are really good. We always sort of think that’s like ‘El Blurto.’”

Frey added, “Sometimes you can drive yourself nuts trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do, and you need to get free a little bit sometimes. Jack is actually very responsible for loosening me up a little bit, and getting me sort of unafraid to try things”.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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