The Eagles

Gary: “Tonight I will look at the group that I guess defined the Seventies for me.  My wife Birgit who is a Classical Music Fan and not big on 70’s Rock and Roll, loves this group and especially, her boy “Glen Fry”.  I was not a huge fan of 70’s music, hated Disco, but this group I just loved.  To me this is what a Rock and Roll Group is, accomplished “Young” Musicians who write and arrange all of their music.  No digital software to help these guys, they did it on just talent alone.

Glenn Frey (November 6, 1948 – January 18, 2016) 

1973 – The founding members of The Eagles: Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Glenn Frey

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The Eagles performing 06 Jun 1996, Los Angeles, California, USA

The Eagles
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Videos:

Take it to the Limit / Huston 1977 /
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Life in the Fast Lane / New Zealand
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Take it Easy / 1998 R&R Induction ceremony
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Heartache Tonight / 1995 /
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Hotel California / 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
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New Kid in Town / 1995 / New Zealand
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Music: 

Take it Easy / Asylum 11005/ June 1972 / #12 BB
Witchy Women / Asylum 11008 / September 1972 / #9 BB
Peaceful Easy Feeling / Asylum 11013 / February 1973 / #22 BB
One of These Nights / Asylum 45257 / June 1975 / #1 BB
Lyin’ Eyes / Asylum 45279 / September 1975 / #2 (2) BB
Take it To the Limit / Asylum 45293 / January 1976/ #4 BB
New Kid in Town / Asylum 45373/ December 1976 / #1 BB
Hotel California / Asylum 45386 / March 1977 / #1 BB
Life in the Fast Lane (I love this song) / Asylum 45403 / May 1977 / #11
Heartache Tonight / Asylum 46545 / October 1979 / #1 BB
The Long Run / Asylum 46569 / December 1979 / #8 BB
I Can’t Tell You Why / Asylum 46608 / March 1980 / #8
Get Over It / Geffen 19376 / November 1994 / #31

Formed in Los Angeles in 1971, this highly successful unit was formed by 4 musicians drawn from singer Linda Ronstadt ‘s backing group:

  • Glenn Frey (born Nov. 6, 1948, Detroit, Mich.; guitar, vocals) had recorded as half of Longbranch Pennywhistle.
  • Don Henley (born July 22, 1947, Gilmer, Texas; drums, vocals) had led Texas-based Shiloh, a band that included future Warner Bros. Nashville president Jim Ed Norman on keyboards and Richard Bowden (later of the musical comedy duo Pinkard & Bowden) on guitar.
  • Bernie Leadon (born July 19, 1947, Minneapolis, Minn; guitar, vocals) boasted the most prodigious pedigree, having embraced traditional Country music with the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, before gaining significant rock experience as a member of Hearts and Flowers, Dillard and Clark and the Flying Burrito Brothers.
  • Randy Meisner (born March 8, 1947, Scottsbluff, Neb.; bass, vocals) was formerly of Poco and Rick Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band.

Such pedigrees ensured interest in a new recording venture, which was immediately signed to David Geffen’s nascent Asylum Records label.

Their first album, The Eagles, recorded in London with producer Glyn Johns, contained “Take It Easy,” co-written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne, and “Witchy Woman.” Both reached the Top 20 and established the quartet’s meticulous harmonies and relaxed, but purposeful, country-rock sound.

Critical reaction to their second album, Desperado, an ambitious concept album based on a Western theme, firmly established the band as leaders in their field and contained several of their most enduring compositions, including the pleadingly emotional title track.

The follow-up, On the Border, reasserted the unit’s commercial strength. “Best of My Love” became their first #1 single while new member Don Felder (born Sept. 21, 1947, Topanga, Calif.; guitar, vocals), drafted from David Blue’s backing group in March 1974, considerably bolstered the Eagles’ sound.

The reshaped quintet attained superstar status with the album One of These Nights, and the title track also topped the charts. This platinum-selling album included “Lyin’ Eyes” and the anthemic “Take It to the Limit.”

The album also established the Eagles as an international act; each of these tracks had reached the UK Top 30, but the new found pressure proved too great for Leadon who left the lineup in December 1975. He subsequently pursued a low-key career with the Leadon-Georgiades band.

Leadon’s replacement was Joe Walsh (born Nov. 20, 1947, Wichita, Kan.), former lead guitarist with the James Gang and a successful solo artist in his own right. His somewhat surprising induction was tempered by the knowledge that he shared the same manager as his new colleagues.

The choice to add Walsh was ratified by the powerful Hotel California which topped the album charts for eight weeks and spawned two #1 singles: the title track, and “New Kid in Town.”

A seasonal recording, “Please Come Home for Christmas,” was the quintet’s sole recorded offering for 1978 and internal ructions the following year resulted in Meisner’s departure.

His replacement, Timothy B. Schmit (born Oct. 30, 1947, Sacramento, Calif.), was another former member of Poco, but by this point, the Eagles’ impetus was waning. 

The Long Run was generally regarded as disappointing, despite containing a fifth #1 in “Heartache Tonight,” and a temporary hiatus taken at the end of the decade became a fully fledged break in 1982 when long-standing disagreements could not be resolved.

Henley, Frey and Felder began solo careers with contrasting results, while Walsh resumed the path he had followed prior to joining the band.

The final lineup of the band eventually re-formed in the mid-’90s, after months of speculation.

The resulting album, Hell Freezes Over, proved they were still one of the world’s most popular acts, even though it was a hastily assembled live collection.

Their 1994-1995 tour of the U.S. was (apart from the Rolling Stones parallel tour) the largest-grossing on record. Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 is the biggest-selling album of all time, with 28 million units sold in the U.S. alone.

The Eagles’ influence on mainstream Country music was magnified when Country musicians paid tribute to the band with the 1993 album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles. Travis Tritt convinced the members from the 1980 lineup to join him in the video for “Take it Easy.” Others appearing on the tribute album include Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black and Trisha Yearwood.

The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. A 4-CD box set, Selected Works 1972-1999, was issued in 2000.

Felder left the band in February 2001 and filed suit against his former cohorts for wrongful termination. Felder’s replacement on the road was Stewart Smith, a guitarist who had worked extensively with Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell.

A 2-disc retrospective, The Very Best of the Eagles, was released in 2003.

–o–

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9 responses to “The Eagles

  1. All of them are water signs of the zodiac….great compatability !

  2. Thanks Gary, now I will be sitting here listening to ‘Take It to the Limit ‘ all day. As if I do not spend enough time on the computer already.

  3. So happy to be ‘taken to the limit’ one more time. And I too only cared for the Eagles during that disco era. You can’t hide a good group. Thanks for all your stirling work, both of you.

  4. The Eagles are in my blood ever since The Byrds and they have shaped my life in music from that day to this. Love their earlier stuff “Desperado” etc but this one especially shines for me “ol’ 55” taken from their “On The Border” album!! Enjoy!!………… http://youtu.be/nK8Tvb-NEW4

    • Alan, although our bias appears to be towards music of the 1950s and 1960s, to me (Russ) the music of the late 1960s and 1970s was also very special, more eclectic and artistic. I’m reminded of the Beatles’ “White Album” as an example of what really made me start to notice the beginning of a new quality in our pop culture. Music was taking on more creativity and artistic content. We were getting into “alternative” rock FM radio. The Moody Blues, harmonies of the Beach Boys, The Who, Pink Floyd, Queen, The Eagles, etc. were producing works as sophisticated as some of the great composers and classical symphony orchestras; to put it simply, “music with more than 3 chords”. So many great groups, so little time…

  5. Their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998

  6. Great piece, Great group ,I’m digging out my Eagles tapes for a mini concert.

  7. I expect there will be many a Heartache Tonight. I for one.
    Connie

  8. The song “Hotel California” rings like an anthem today, so many years after its inception.

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