The Eagles - Biography
Eagles are an American rock music group that originally came
together in Los Angeles, California in the early 1970s.
early music was a hybrid of country and bluegrass instrumentation
grafted onto the harmonies of California surfer rock, producing
tender ballads and soft top-down country-flavored pop-rock about
relationships, cars, and the wandering life. The originators of this
genre were gifted singer/songwriters, among them Jackson Browne,
J.D. Souther, and Warren Zevon. The Eagles took the
singer-songwriter ethos to a group setting with increased emphasis
on arrangements and musicianship, and the group's early sound became
synonymous with the southern California country rock. On later
albums the band dispensed with bluegrass instrumentation and
gravitated to a more straight-ahead rock sound.
founding members in 1971:
Guitarist/keyboardist/Vocalist Glenn Frey (born November 6, 1948
in Detroit, Michigan) escaped Michigan's cold winters and
musically stultifying frat and bar scene, bringing a rhythm and
Drummer/Vocalist Don Henley (born July 22, 1947 in Gilmer, Texas)
was nearly a college graduate, majoring in English literature.
Guitarist/mandolinist/banjo player Bernie Leadon (born July 19,
1947, in Minneapolis, Minnesota) had a passion for country and
bluegrass that shaped the band's early direction. (quit group
Randy Meisner (born March 8, 1946
in Scottsbluff, Nebraska) was a car and cycle enthusiast who
preferred spending time with his family to playing bass in a rock
and roll band. (quit group 1977)
Guitarist/Vocalist Don Felder (born September 21, 1948 in Topanga,
California) (joined group 1974, fired from group 2001)
Bassist/Vocalist Timothy B. Schmit (born October 30, 1947 in
Oakland, California, raised in Sacramento, California) replaced
Randy Meisner. (joined group 1977)
formed in 1971 when Linda Ronstadt's then-manager,
John Boylan, extracted Frey, Leadon, and Meisner from their
affiliations. They were short a drummer until Frey phoned Henley,
whom he had met at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. The band backed up
Ronstadt on a two-month tour, then decided to form their own band,
first album, Eagles, was filled with pure, sometimes innocent
country rock; their second,
Desperado, was themed on Old West outlaws and introduced the
group's penchant for conceptual songwriting.
record their third album, On the Border, the group selected
producer Glyn Johns, who previously worked with Led Zeppelin,
Rolling Stones, and The Who. The band wanted to rock, but Johns
tended to extract the lush side of the band's double-edged music.
After completing two thirds of the album with Johns, the band turned
Bill Szymczyk to produce the rest of the album. Szymczyk
brought in Don Felder to add slide guitar to a song called "Good Day
in Hell", and the band was blown away. Two days later Felder became
the fifth Eagle. On the Border yielded a #1 Billboard single
in the song "Best of My Love", which hit the top of the charts on
March 1, 1975.
next album, One of These Nights, had an aggressive, sinewy
rock stance. Between the album and the subsequent tour, Bernie
Leadon left the group, disillusioned about the direction the band's
music was taking. The group replaced Leadon with Joe Walsh, a
veteran of such groups as the James Gang and Barnstorm and a solo
artist in his own right. The addition of Walsh made the group's aim
perfectly clear: they wanted to rock. The title track from One of
These Nights hit #1 on the Billboard chart August 2, 1975. By
this time, the people in the band started clashing with each other
and there were intra-band fights.
group's next album, Hotel California in 1976, was about the
pursuit of the American dream -- 1970s style. Using California as a
metaphor for the nation, the Eagles wrote about innocence ("New Kid
in Town", a #1 hit in Billboard on February 26, 1977) and
temptations ("Life In The Fast Lane" and the classic title track, a
#1 hit in Billboard on May 7, 1977) of that pursuit. During the
final leg of the ensuing tour, however, Randy Meisner decided he had
had enough hotel rooms in his seven years as an Eagle and left the
band for the relative quiet of Nebraska to recuperate and instigate
a solo career. The Eagles replaced Meisner with the man who had
succeeded him in Poco, Timothy B. Schmit.
February 1978, the Eagles went into the studio to produce their
final studio album, The Long Run. The album took two years to
make, but yielded the group's fifth and last #1 single in Billboard,
"Heartache Tonight" (November 10, 1979). The tour to promote the
album intensified personality differences between band members, made
worse on the night of November 21, 1980 when Henley was arrested for
cocaine, Quaalude, and marijuana possession after a nude 16-year-old
prostitute had drug-related seizures in a hotel room. Henley was
subsequently charged with contributing to the delinquency of a
Following The Long Run tour, in 1980, the band broke up, and
all of the members had solo careers of varying degrees of success.
the early 1990s, an Eagles country tribute album Common Thread
was released. Travis Tritt insisted on having the Long Run-era
Eagles in his video for "Take It Easy."
the "Take It Easy" video was completed in 1994 the band reunited,
after years of public speculation that it would. The personnel was
the five Long Run era members, supplemented by additional
players on stage. The ensuing tour spawned a live album entitled
Hell Freezes Over (named for Henley's statement that the group
would get back together only when hell froze over), and a single,
"Get Over It".
Controversy followed on September 12, 1996 when the band dedicated
"Peaceful Easy Feeling" to Saddam Hussein at a United States
Democratic Party fundraiser held in Los Angeles.
the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During
the induction ceremony, all seven former members played together on
stage. Several subsequent reunion tours would follow, notable for
their record-setting ticket prices.
Eagles were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.
February 2001, Don Felder was fired from the group; Felder and the
Eagles filed lawsuits against each other. In 2003 the Eagles
released a new single, the September 11th-themed "Hole in the
2005 the Eagles consist of Frey, Henley, Walsh, and Schmit. On their
Farewell Tour I they are supplemented by eight additional
players including a horn section.
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