1988 Countdown #96: Glenn Frey, “True Love”

Back to Kevin Seal, who looks into the camera seriously, apparently channeling Dan Rather, and says, “’88 was a really heavy year for a lot of us, including Glenn Frey.” Seal then cracks a smile and snarks about Frey for a little while, egregiously dropping the G in the title of his latest album, Soul Searchin’, and referring to his physique as “Body by Jake.” I didn’t remember the VJs being allowed to mock the artists the channel played so egregiously.

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They cut to an interview clip of Frey himself, and it’s so much more ludicrous than anything Kevin Seal could say. Frey talks about the video we’re about to see: “It serves as a metaphor for what I’m sort of setting out to do this year.” Save the planet? Stockpile a lifetime supply of mousse? Eat Don Henley’s liver? “Which is, get new people turned on to soul music.” Oh. Well, since there’s an MTV camera crew here, this seems like a good opportunity to tell the viewers about the giants of soul music, maybe get some 14-year-old kid who’s never heard of Al Green to pick up The Belle Album. “Now we’re kind of doing that, I think people like Stevie Winwood, and Huey Lewis, myself hopefully, we’re doing a new kind of soul music.”

You heard him right–Frey aspires to join the hallowed ranks of Steve Winwood and Huey Lewis.

The video itself is somewhat anticlimactic after that (plus when Frey referred to “a new kind of soul music,” he apparently meant the really bad kind). The clip is indeed a metaphor for turning people on to soul music, meaning that it shows three young white people with expensive haircuts venturing into a bar largely inhabited by black people.

This is one of those typical juke joints: you know, a largely black audience dancing underneath a string of bare light bulbs while a hulking white guy in a plaid jacket belts out a midtempo ballad, backed up by a multiracial band sporting porkpie hats and dark sunglasses. The crowd seems enthusiastic, even during the part of the song that recycles the saxophone solo from “You Belong to the City.”

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We track the progress of our pale-skinned visitors: two guys and a girl. The girl has long blonde hair. She stands about two feet away from Frey and gazes up at him worshipfully while he sings. Sometimes she gets a closeup with dramatic lighting. For the song’s coda, Frey pulls her up onstage, puts an arm around her shoulder, and sings the fade-out to her. I suspect that she is his real-life wife, or maybe his daughter.

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We lose track of one of the white guys–early on, we see him staring jealously at the smitten white girl, and then he seems to disappear until the end of the video, when he’s passed out on the bar. The other white guy goes to the bar and tries to get the attention of an attractive young black woman. Gradually, he succeeds and they share a drink.

The video ends with the white girl driving her car home through a dusty back road, with her two male friends passed out in the front seat. The soul-music metaphor seems to have fallen apart a bit as the video progressed–is the takeaway that if you listen to soul music, you’ll hang out with cool dancers and get drunk? Is it that you might score with a black chick? The predominant message, really, seems to be that the mighty charisma of Glenn Frey can not be restrained by any musical genre, so if you value your relationship with your girlfriend, do not under any circumstances bring her within fifty yards of Mr. Frey.

“True Love” hit #13 on the Billboard charts, the last solo single of Frey ever to hit the top 40. (Who says there’s no such thing as progress?) You can see the video here.

posted 29 May 2008 in 1988 and tagged , , . 4 comments

4 Comments on 1988 Countdown #96: Glenn Frey, “True Love”

  1. Chris M. Says:

    I recall that the second (flop) single from this album, “Livin’ Right,” doubled as the jingle for a Jack LaLanne ad campaign, and Frey pulled a Piscopo and built up his body to total-meathead dimensions.

    “You heard him right–Frey aspires to join the hallowed ranks of Steve Winwood … The clip is indeed a metaphor for turning people on to soul music, meaning that it shows three young white people with expensive haircuts venturing into a bar largely inhabited by black people.”

    Remember: this is 1988. You are foreshadowing what will no doubt be among the year’s Top 10 videos, the equally black-people-and-juke-joint-fetishizing Winwood joint “Roll With It.”

  2. Tom Nawrocki Says:

    It is impossible to overstate how worthless Glenn Frey’s solo career was. For one thing, look at the titles of his solo hits: “True Love,” “Sexy Girl,” “I Found Somebody,” “The One You Love.” You sure know how to turn a phrase, Glenn.

  3. Doug Story Says:

    All this is very informative, but WHO is the little blonde girl? She’s beautiful.

  4. Noe Says:

    Hi. I appreciate very much if you can tell me who´s the young blond hair girl on video too.

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