The eagles is a band formed in the early seventies in L.A . The band consists of four members and makes different kinds of rock, including country. They have five number 1 singles and six number 1 albums and that makes them the most successful recording artists of the decade. In 1980 The Eagles broke up, but they reunited in 1994 for a new album called Hell Freezes Over. They have toured on some occasions and in 2007 they released their first full studio album in 28 years, Long Road out of Eden.
How it started
In 1971 Linda Ronstadt’s manager, John Boyland, recruited Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner to do a session with Linda. They didn’t have a drummer, so they called Don Henley. After an audition, Ronstadt approved and the band went on a two month tour with her. After recording an album, the band decided to start for themselves. In 1970 they signed so they would be labelled under Asylum Records. The owner of the record company, David Geffen, managed the band together with a friend of his. The new band chose the name “The Eagles” as a nod to The Byrds.
The first album of The Eagles was called Eagles. It was filled with very natural country rock and contained three top 40 singles. The first single “Take it Easy” was written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne. Fey heard Brown recording it and contributed two lines. This small contribution is his co-writers credit. He asked the Eagles if they could use it and they agreed. It ranked 12 on the Bilboard Hot 100 and gave the Eagles a kick start. After the single came Witchy Woman and the soft country rock ballad Paceful Easy Feeling. Witchy woman charted 9th. The eagles became very important in the popularisation of the southern California Country Rock music.
The second album was called Desperado. During recording sessions Don Henley and Glenn Frey began writing together. It resulted in co-writing eight of the eleven songs on the track, including their very popular Tequila Sunrise and Sesperado. There were also three tracks on the album where Berie Leadon showed his skills on the banjo, mandolin and fingerpicked guitar. The album wasn’t as successful as Eagles was, it reached No.41 on the album charts and only Tequila Sunrise and Outlaw Man came in the top 70, respectively number 61 and number 59. The album was the first where Henley and Frey began to write a lot of the songs, and thereby also became more and more leaders of the band. This was in contrast with what was expected, namely that Leadon and Meisner would keep leading the band.
On the Border The Eagles’ third album was called On the Border. Henley and Frey had the idea to leave their country image aside and got more into hard rock. This album was initially produced by Glyn Johns, but he didn’t do wasn’t what The Eagles needed. They went to Bill Szymczyk to produce the remaining of the songs that weren’t finished yet. Szymczyk brought them Don Felder to add slide guitar to Good Day in Hell. The Eagles were impressed by his playing and asked him to join The Eagles. He became the fifth eagle, but appeared only on one other song on the album, Already Gone. On the Border includes a No 1 single with Best of My Love. It became The Éagles’ first of five chart toppers.
One of these nights
The fourth album had more of a rock stance. The album also contained a lot of the Henley and Frey songs. The title song, One of these Nights, hit No 1 and Frey also said this was his favourite Eagles song. The album also contained a song that was later used as the theme to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Journey of the Sorcerer.
The album had a great hit, but it also had a down side. The members of the band started to have a fight with each other. The recordings and tours always were in a tempered atmosphere, but now the tempers raised to far. Bernie Leadon left the group, because he was disappointed with the musical direction the band was taking. Also political tension was created by the fact that Leadon was dating Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter. Leadon left in December ’75 and he announced this by pouring beer over Frey’s head, which lead to a lot of press. The group wanted to continue their tour, so they quickly gave Joe Walsh the job. In ’76 Their Greatest Hits from between ’71 and ’75 were released. It became the best-selling album in the whole US history with over 29 million copies.
The next album, Hotel California came out and was a big success. The songs New Kid in Town and Hotel California both charted No 1. Also Life in the Fast Lane was a big hit. The ballad Wasted Time was on the album both instrumental as with vocals. Victim of Love was recorded live, so no overdubbing possible, which is confirmed by Don Henley. Hotel California also was their best-selling studio album, with more then 16 million copies.
Randy Meisner left the band after they had finished the band to go back to Nebraska. There he began his solo career. Randy was recplace by Timothy B. Schmit, who played with Poco before he joined The Eagles. In that time the group also backed up some bands and did backing vocals for Randy Newman. This was recorded on the album Little Criminals.
The Long Run
Their next album, which was released in 1977, was called The Long Run. The album took two years to make and it, again, included a No 1 single, Heartache Tonight. This was also the last No 1 single until the date of writing this article. It was again more rock than country.
On July 31, 1980 the tempers raised to a certain height again and Even on stage Frey and Felder threatened each other about the beating they wanted to give them after the show. This row resulted in the end of the Eagles. The band still owed Warner Bros. a live record from the tour. The group came wit the solution to let Frey and Henley do the mixing apart from each other. They did the mixing on the opposite coasts, they thought they couldn’t handle it to be in the same state, let alone in the same studio. The album credited five attorneys and the liner notes said “Thank you and goodnight.”
After the break-up
All the members of the group went their own way, but all tried to have a solo career. Walsh already had his own solo career before and during his time with the Eagles.
Walsh tried to continue his solo career as his main job. He had several hits like Rocky Mountain Way and Life’s Been Good, but had a hard time creating hits due to the break-up. In ’81 he had a successful album, There Goes the Neighborhood and also Got Any Gum? Which also came in the eighties. He also worked as a session musician during this time for Dan Gogelberg, Steve Winwood and Emerson among with others.
Don Henley turned out to have the most successful solo career of the ex-members during this period. In ’82 he released the album I Can’t Stand Still, including the hit Dirty Laundry. Afterwards, his big hit album, called Building the Perfect Beast, was released. It yielded a No 5 hit, a No 9 hit and also a number 22 and number 34 hit. Five years later, in ’84, he released hi album The End of the Innocence. Again it was a major success and it included three big hits. His career had to stop because of a contract dispute with his record company, which wasn’t resolved until The Eagles’ reunion in 1994.
Glen Frey also had solo success in the eighties. In the early eighties his first album appeared and hit No 15, it was named No Fun Aloud. In ’84 he had a new album called The Allnighter which featured The Heat Is On, the Beverly Hills Coop soundtrack. He also contributed to the Ghostbusters II soundtrack and the Miami Vice soundtrack, which was his single You Belong to the City.
Cameron Crowe was a music writer, but turned filmmaker. Fast Times at Ridgemont High was his first feature length movie. Crowe had always been an Eagles fan, and wrote about them in an article. Henley, Walsh, Schmit and Felder all contributed to the film’s soundtrack. Don Felder also released a solo album and made two songs for the soundtrack of Heavy Metal, which is a movie. Timothy Schmit had a top-40 hit in ’87 with Boys’ Night Out.`
Fourteen years after the break-up, the Eagles came together. This was a result of Travis Tritt insisting on having the Eagles in a music video for Take it Easy. The new line-up included the five Eagles from the Long Run-era. Frey, Henley, Walsh, Felder and Schmit were backed up by four new players. Scott Crago on drums, John Corey and Timothy Drury on keyboards, guitar and backing vocals and Al Garth on sax and violin. On their first live performance Frey states “We never broke up, we just took a 14-year vacation.” The tour brought the live album Hell Freezes Over which spawned on No 1 on the Billboard album chart. It also included two top-40 hits. The album was very successful and sold over 6 million copies in the US. The tour was interrupted due to Frey’s serious problem with diverticulitis, but resumed in ’95 and ended in ’96. In ’98 also Leadon and Meisner joined the band for a performance in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, where they played Take it Easy and Hotel California. A lot of reunion tours followed without Meisner and Leadon. The tours set the record for their ticket prices.
Don Felder goes to court
On February 6. 2001, Don Felder was fired from the Eagles. As response, Felder started two lawsuit against “Eagles, Ltd, a California corporation; Don Henly; Glenn Frey; and “Does 1-50”. Does means there were more John Doe persons, John Does are males with unknown identities in connection with a lawsuit. He suid them for alleging wrongful termination, breach of implied-in-fact contract and breach of fiduciary duty, seeking $50 million in damages.
He stated that from Hell Freezes Over tour in 1994 and onward, Henley and Frey had “…insisted that they each receive a higher percentage of the band’s profits…”, where the money had been previously been split in five equal parts. He also accused them of coercing him into signing an agreement saying that Henly and Frey would receive three times as much money of the Selected Works: 1972-1999 proceeds than Felder. The attorney Daniel M. Petrocelli stated that Henley and Frey felt that he shouldn’t be part of the band anymore so they removed him. They had the right to do so, and this had been happening since day one with rock’n’roll bands. There also were reports of that Felder usually didn’t agree with the rest of the band concerning touring and recording schedules. The other band members wanted the freedom to tour under their own terms.
As a response Henley and Frey counter-sued Felder form breach of contract, because he had released a “Tell-all” book, Heaven and Hell. The book was released and the case of Felder against Henley and Frey was dismissed for an undisclosed amount.
The Very Best of the Eagles
In 2003 the Eagles released another greatest hits album called The Very Best of the Eagles. The two-disc compilation contained the entire Eagles career until 2003. It went from Eagles to The Long Run. The album also included one new single. Hole in the World was based on the September 11 attack in America. The album reached No 3 on the Billboard charts and eventually gained the triple platinum status. Also in 2003, Henley, Walsh and Smit helped Warren Zevon, friend of the Eagles, in making his final album called The Wind.
In June 2005 the Eagles released a new DVD set called “Farewell 1 Tour-Live from Melbourne". The DVD featured two new songs: Frey’s No More Cloudy Days and Walsh’s One Day at a Time. In 2006 a special edition was released with exclusive license to Wal-Mart, it included a bonus audio CD with three new songs.
Only four members were left, namely Frey, Henley, Walsh and Schmit. On August 20, 2007, How Long was released as a single for the radio and with was accompanied by a video and also debuted on television on CMT during the Top 20 Countdown on August 23, 2007. The band also performed with this single, but didn’t record it, because the writer (J.D. Souther) wanted to put it on his first solo album.
The Eagles latest album was released in October 2007 and was named Long Run out of Eden. This was the first album filled with new songs since 1979. The first year after the release the album will only be available in the US and only available through retail outlets in other countries. The album topped No 1 in the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands and in Norway. It became the Eagles’ third studio album and their seventh overall release. It is to be certified at least seven times platinum. Also on a CNN interview, Don Henley said that “This is probably the last Eagles album that we’ll even make.”
On February 10, 2008, the Eagles won the “Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal” for How Long. This was the Eagles’ fifth Grammy award.
In March 2008 the Eagles started their world tour in support of Long Run out of Eden in the O2 Arena in Londen, UK. The eagles, among with three other bands, will also be included in coming video game Guitar here World Tour.
Here is an overview of all the band members and their active period for the Eagles.
Glenn Frey – 1971 until the present
Don Henley – 1971 until the present
Bernie Leadon – 1971 until 1975
Randy Meisner – 1971 until 1977
Don Felder – 1974 until 2001
Joe Walsh – 1975 until the present
Timothy B. Schmit – 1977 until the present
The Eagles have won five Grammy Awards:
Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus: Lyin’ Eyes in 1975
Record of the Year: Hotel California (single) in 1977
Best Arrangement for Voices: New Kid in Town in 1977
Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group: Heartache Tonight in 1979
Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: How Long in 2008
The Eagles were also introduced to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in ’98 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.
1972 – Eagles - Platinum
1973 – Desperado – 2x Platinum
1974 – On the Border – 2x Platinum
1975 – One of These Nights – 4x Platinum
1976 – Hotel California – 16x Platinum
1979 – The Long Run – 7x Platinum
1980 – Eagles Live (live album) – 7x Platinum
1994 – Hell Freezes Over (live album) – 8x Platinum
2007 - Long Road Out of Eden – 7x Platinum
1976 – Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)
1982 – The Eagles Greatest Hits, Vol. 2
1985 – The Best of Eagles
1994 – The Very Best of the Eagles (1994)
2000 – Selected Works: 1972-1999
2001 - The Very Best of the Eagles (2001)
2003 - The Very Best of the Eagles (2003)
2005 – Eagles Catalog CD Album Box
Their full list of released singles can be viewed here