How Glenn Frey’s Second Solo LP Inspired a ‘Miami Vice’ Episode
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Try as he might, Glenn Frey never bested his gold-selling second album. Released on June 19, 1984, two years after Frey’s modestly successful debut No Fun Aloud and four after the demise of the Eagles, The Allnighter will forever be the singer-songwriter’s personal high-water mark.
Credit, in part, goes to Frey’s decision to bring in his old songwriting friend Jack Tempchin, whose credits include the Eagles’ tracks “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Already Gone.”
“We have a very good rapport,” Frey said at the time. “It’s funny, there are only those certain people where things click – at least for me. He’s very free. I’ll just run some soul licks by him, or I’ll ring him something like The Allnighter, which originally was just about staying up all night. But then we started talking about it and Jack says, ‘Staying up all night can’t play over three or four verses. What if the Allnighter was a guy?’ So, we made him into some woman’s every-guy.”
The Allnighter also led to Frey’s acting debut, having sparked a full-fledged episode of the ‘80s television drama Miami Vice. Seems producer Michael Mann had seen Frey’s music video “Smuggler’s Blues,” which hit No. 12, and decided to base a first-season script around it. Titled after the song, the resulting episode followed detectives Sonny Crockett and Rico Tubbs as they assume the guise of drug runners in the hopes of finding out the identity of an overzealous law enforcement official. They duo gain a huge hand up in the form of Frey, who took on the role of a pilot.
Frey later appeared on the TV show Wiseguy, in the action-adventure film Let’s Get Harry with with Robert Duvall and Gary Busey, and starred in CBS’ South of Sunset. “The one thing I bring to acting from rock ‘n’ roll,” Frey later told the Los Angeles Times, “is an absence of fear.” Meanwhile, “Sexy Girl” also went to No. 20, and “Smuggler’s Blues” won an MTV Video Music Award, while a pair of Frey’s soundtrack songs from the same period – “The Heat Is On” and “You Belong to the City” – both went to No. 2.
Frey’s former Eagles partner Don Henley upped the ante not long after, however, with his own Grammy-winning Building the Perfect Beast. That 1985 album featured four Top 40 hits, including “The Boys of Summer“; Henley also claimed four MTV Video Music Awards.
Two more Frey records would follow before hell froze over in 1994, and the pair reunited with the other Eagles. Frey then resumed his solo career in 2012 with After Hours, an album of pop standards. Unfortunately, none of it bested the No. 22 finish by The Allnighter on the Billboard charts before Frey suddenly passed in 2016.
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