The Eagles was an American rock band based on Los Angeles who became one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. In 1971, Linda Ronstadt her then-manager recruited local musicians Glenn Frey and Don Henley for her band. They, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon played on her eponymous third album, before recording the first Eagles’ album. The songwriting partnership of Frey and Henley really was established with the group’s second LP.
The country-folk-rock band had some hits, but wanted a bit of a harder sound. Leadon’s childhood friend Don Felder played on a couple songs on the third album, and then joined the band full time.
But it was the fourth studio album, One of These Nights (1975) that really broke through on the charts, the first of four albums to reach #1. The title track also went to #1, Lyin’ Eyes reached #2 on the charts and won the band their first Grammy. The final single, Take It to the Limit, went to #4. The song reached number 4 on the charts. The album was nominated for a Grammy award for Album of the Year.
At this point, they released the Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) album that has challenged Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the all-time best selling album in the United States.
Bernie Leadon left the band, unhappy with the harder edge of the music. He was replaced by Joe Walsh of the James Gang. The next album was the massively successful Hotel California. It contained two #1 singles, New Kid in Town and the mysterious title track. But after an exhausting tour, Randy Meisner left the band, replaced by “the same musician who had succeeded him in Poco, Timothy B. Schmit.”
The 1979 album The Long Run was successful, less so than its predecessor, and the band went “on hiatus” for 14 years until they reunited in 1994, and put out a popular live album, Hell Freezes Over, and a profitable tour. “In 1998, the Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For the induction ceremony, all seven Eagles members (Frey, Henley, Felder, Walsh, Schmit, Leadon, and Meisner) played together for two songs.”
One last album, Long Road to Eden, came out in 2007, without Don Felder, who had been involved with lawsuits against the band.
The band was “slated to receive Kennedy Center Honors in 2015, but this was deferred to 2016 due to Frey’s medical problems. Then on “January 18, 2016, founding member Glenn Frey died in the Washington Heights section of New York City at the age of 67, leaving Don Henley as the only remaining original member. According to the band’s website, the causes of his death were rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia while recovering from intestinal surgery.” in short order, Henley confirmed the dissolution of the band.
Liking Eagles music is uncool in certain crowds. I appreciate their sound, particularly their tight harmonies.
Some favorite songs – links to all:
10. Take it Easy (Eagles) – written by Frey with his then-neighbor Jackson Browne
9. Already Gone (On the Border)
8. Heartache Tonight (The Long Run) – sounds like a Bob Seger song, in the good sense; written by Henley, Frey, Seger, and J. D. Souther
7. Desperado (Desperado) – particularly hated for its alleged faux profundity; whatever
6. Life in the Fast Lane (Hotel California) – some rockin’ Joe Walsh
5. Tequila Sunrise (Desperado) – one of my drinks of choice in college
4. I Can’t Tell You Why (The Long Run) – I think it’s lovely, and sad
3. Take it to the Limit (One of These Nights) – written by Meisner, Henley, and Frey, the only Eagles single to feature Meisner on lead vocals; reminds me of a coffeehouse in my college town that I lived in, and a young woman with long light brown hair, with whom absolutely nothing happened
2. Hotel California (Hotel California) – the Stairway to Heaven of the Eagles’ oeuvre, it shouldn’t be diminished because it was overplayed
1. Wasted Time (Hotel California) – I gravitate towards songs about lost love