The Michigan High School Days of Glenn Frey
Glenn Frey was a respected musician, vocalist, and actor. He was a founding member of The Eagles and stayed with the band until his death in January 2018.
Many people – even some Michiganders – assume Glenn was from California…but nope.
He was born and raised here in Michigan. He was born on November 6, 1948 in Detroit and grew up in Royal Oak. When he was five years old, he began taking piano lessons, thanks to the persistence of his mother.
In 1964, Glenn was attending Dondero High School when the Beatles arrived in Detroit for a concert at Olympia Stadium. That was it. He quit the piano and took up the guitar. He put together a garage band with himself and four buddies, calling themselves “The Subterraneans” (pictures and video below).
The band would hang out at local teen club ‘The Hideout’ (seen below) in Harper Woods, where they would meet girls and other local musicians. When he graduated in 1966, he joined another local band, The Four of Us. That band had already recorded some records and was a local favorite.
Glenn eventually became good friends with another local success, Bob Seger. Bob was impressed enough with Glenn’s musicianship and knowledge, that he asked him to sit in on some recording sessions as musician.
By 1967, Glenn had put together another group, The Mushrooms. Seger graciously wrote two songs for The Mushrooms’ first single, “Burned” backed with “Such A Lovely Child”. The group appeared on local dance/music shows in Detroit and in Cleveland, promoting their new single.
At the end of 1967, Glenn had started a different band, The Heavy Metal Kids. In 1968, Seger again asked Glenn to help out as backing musician on some new recordings. These sessions brought about Seger’s single “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” which features Glenn on guitar and backing vocals.
In early 1969, Glenn made the trek to California, hoping to get in on the free love/rock ‘n roll/psychedelic drug lifestyle enjoyed by the current California culture.
While there, Glenn formed Longbranch Pennywhistle with J.D. Souther. In 1971 he met Linda Ronstadt at The Troubador Club, who asked him to tour with her as guitarist. Don Henley was added on drums, followed by bassist Randy Meisner and second guitarist Bernie Leadon. Those four became the genesis of The Eagles.
In 1972, after the Ronstadt tour, the new band signed with Asylum Records and recorded their first album, “The Eagles”.
You know the rest of the story.
Below are some pictures of Glenn from his formative days in Michigan!