The History Of The Eagles

The Eagles are counted among some of the best selling artists of the 70’s! They became a symbol of Southern California rock and roll and are still just as popular today!

Don Henley and Glenn Frey met in Los Angeles, California in 1970 while members of Linda Ronstadt’s band. They followed Ronstadt on a two month tour and afterwards decided to form their own band.

Ronstadt’s manager, John Boylan teamed Henley and Frey up with Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner with the intent of creating a back up band. The four musicians had other ideas and formed the Eagles!

The band signed their first recording contract soon after forming with Asylum Records. And, left for London with producer Glyn Johns to record their first album.

The self titled “Eagles” album was released in 1972 and brought the band three Top 40 singles. “Take It Easy” went to number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and took the Eagles to super stardom almost overnight!

Their other two singles from the album, “Witchy Woman” went to number 9 and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” charted at number 22. They were a huge success and the band spent the rest of 1972 touring.

Their second album “Desperado” was recorded in London as well. “Desperado” was released in 1973, the album represented a old west outlaw style theme. The back cover even showed the band playing dead, laying on the ground in a western style town!

During the recording of Desperado, Henley and Frey started writing together. They co-wrote eight out of the albums eleven songs. Including two of their most popular songs, “Tequila Sunrise” and “Desperado”!

Although, the success of the album grew years later, at the time it was a disappointment to the band. It only made it to number 41 on the pop charts and only produced two singles, “Tequila Sunrise” and “Outlaw Man”. Neither of the singles made it below 59 on the charts!

Both Henley and Frey wanted to move the band towards hard rock for their next album. But, producer Glyn Johns wanted the band to keep doing the softer type of music they’d started with.

The Eagles recorded two songs for the album, then went to Bill Szymczyk to finish producing the album. Szymczyk got Don Felder to come in and play the slide guitar for “Good Day In Hell”.

The band members were so impressed with his talent that in just two short days they’d asked him to join the band. The album “On The Border” gave the band their first number one single, “Best of My Love”!

It also becomes the Eagles first gold single and results in several Grammy nominations! And, the album went gold only three months after it’s release.

The title track, “One of These Nights” off their next album is released early. And, within a week of the release of the album in 1975, it is certified gold! The album also contained the Grammy winning “Lyin’ Eyes”.

By the time the album was released the bands members had started to argue and fight between themselves. There had actually been a lot of strain and tension since their debut album. But, matters had gotten even worse and both egos and tempers were clashing.

Before the tour for “One of These Nights” started, Bernie Leadon had left the band. Leadon excelled in country rock, but the band had moved towards a hard rock sound. Leadon had also felt that his part in the band had been taken over by Felder.

With the tour ready to begin the band had to quickly replace Leadon. Joe Walsh was chosen to step in, Walsh had played with the James Gang and had already made his place as an artist.

Their first four albums had seen such great success that by 1976, they were ready to release “Eagles: Their Greatest Hits”. At release the album sold over a million copies and received the first RIAA platinum award to be given in that category!

At the end of 76′ the Eagles would release what has became known as their signature album! “Hotel California” sells over 9 million copies!

It gave the band the hit singles “New Kid in Town” and of course, “Hotel California”! And, the album has been included in several best album of all time lists!

At the end of the “Hotel California” tour, Meisner left the band to pursue a solo career. Timothy Schmit was brought in to replace Meisner, Schmit had been in the band Poco.

The Eagles entered the studio to begin recording their next album in 1977. The album, “The Long Run” was very appropriately titled, it took the band two years and one million dollars to complete!

The album produced the band fifth and final number one single in the Billboard charts, “Heartache Tonight”. The single only held the number one position for a week, but it sold over one million copies!

Even with all the success the tensions and stress between the members couldn’t be contained any longer. In Long Beach, California in July of 1980, tempers erupted!

In what is often referred to as “Long Night at Wrong Beach”, Felder and Frey spouted threats during the entire performance. Frey was heard telling Felder, “Only three more songs until I kick your butt, pal”.

With the band still being under Warner Bros. contract to produce one more album, “Eagles Live” was released in November of 1980. However, Henley and Frey decided that not only could they not stand to be in the same studio together, they didn’t want to be in the same state!

With the two on opposite coasts, Federal Express delivered the harmonies to be joined to complete the album! The albums credits contained no less than five attorney names and the liner stated simply, “Thank You and Goodnight”!

With the Eagles no longer being a team, the members moved on to try and establish solo careers. Although, Walsh had seen success before joining the Eagles, the others had not been so lucky.

However, getting back into a solo career still wasn’t easy. Walsh did have several hits, but none lived up to his expectations. He did performances as a session musician for Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Dan Fogelberg as well as others. He also co-wrote and produced, Ringo Starr’s album “Old Wave”.

Of the five Eagle members, Henley had the greatest success with a solo career. His first album was released in 1982, entitled “I Can’t Stand Still”. The album gave him the hit single “Dirty Laundry”.

His next album, “Building the Perfect Beast” gave him the most success. The single “Boys of Summer” hit the charts at number five, “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” and “Not Enough Love in The World” hit number 34. And, “Sunset Grill” made it to number 22!

It would be five more years before Henley would release another album. “The End of the Innocence” came out in 1989 and was another major success! The hits included the title single, “The Last Worthless Evening” and “The Heart of the Matter”.

Frey also had a very successful solo career and even tried his hand at acting. He hit the charts with the singles, “The One You Love” and “Sexy Girl”.

But, the addition of “The Heat Is On” into Beverly Hills Cop, propelled him into the Top 10 charts in 1985! After that, Frey made his first TV appearance in the popular series Miami Vice.

The episode was actually based on a song from his album “The Allnighter”! The song “Smuggler’s Blues” was featured in the show and hit number 12 on the charts!

Later in 85′, Frey had “You Belong to the City” to reach the number two spot. He still continued making appearances in TV shows and movies and he co-founded the record label, Mission Records in 1977.

In 1993 at the persistence of Travis Tritt, the band rejoined to appear in Tritt’s video for “Take It Easy”. After the video was completed, the Eagles officially reunited!

After years of hard feelings and disagreements the Eagles once again went on tour! Henley, Frey, Walsh, Felder and Schmit as well as several stage musicians performed the third highest grossing tour of the year!

At their first concert of the tour in 1994, Frey told fans, “For the record, we never broke up, we just took a 14 year long vacation”!

The tour resulted in the release of “Hell Freezes Over”, another appropriately named album! The title came from Henley’s many statements that the band would get back together “when hell freezes over”!

Within just months the album has gone to number one on the pop chart and sold over 10 million copies! The album produced the hit singles, “Love Will Keep Us Alive”, “Get Over It” and “Learn to Be Still”. It also included eleven of the Eagles old classic hits.

The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. At the induction ceremony all of the members were present to perform “Take It Easy” and “Hotel California”.

The band continued to do several reunion tours and these tours set record ticket prices! However, neither Leadon or Meisner was invited to be a part of these tours!

On December 31, 1999, the Eagles once again performed at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The concert was included as part of a four disc release called “Selected Works: 1972-1999”.

The four disc set included the band’s many hit singles, their album songs and the outtakes from “The Long Run”. It was released in November of 2000 and sold over 267,000 copies!

Don Felder was fired on February 6, 2001. His response was to file two lawsuits against Eagles Ltd., Henley, Frey and John Does 1 thru 50. He alleged breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and wrongful termination and was seeking $50,000,000 in damages!

He stated that since the 94′ “Hell Freezes Over” tour, both Henley and Frey had insisted that they receive more of the band’s profits. Before that the profits had been equally split between the five band members.

He also accused Frey and Henley of getting him to sign a agreement that they would receive three times as much money from the sales of “Selected Works” as he would.

In response Henley and Frey filed counter-suits against Felder claiming he’d breached their contract. They alleged that he’d written a book entitled “Heaven and Hell” that told all the band’s members secrets!

The book had indeed been written and was published in the UK in 2007. But, after the book had to be recalled for further changes, the publisher canceled the release in the U.S.

A Los Angeles County Court, consolidated the two lawsuits on January 23, 2002. And, after an out of court settlement for an undisclosed amount of money was reached, the case was dismissed in May of 2007!

The remaining Eagle members Henley, Frey, Walsh and Schmit released “How Long” as a single to radio stations and the video was released online at Yahoo! Music.

The first Eagle’s album that contained new songs was released in October 2007. “Long Road Out of Eden” will only be available through the band’s website or Wal-Mart for the first year. It may also be purchased through retail outlets in other countries.

It made it’s debut at number one in the U.S. as well as several other countries. It has proved to be a huge success, becoming their third album to be certified platinum seven times over!

The Eagle’s began their worldwide tour for “Long Road Out Of Eden” on March 20, 2008. The first concert was performed in London, England at The O2 Arena!

Written by Connie Corder, Copyright 2009

Check out lots more great classic rock band biographies, pictures, and videos at Classic Rock Masters and Legends

4 responses to “The History Of The Eagles”

  1. AWESOME article! I adore the Eagles….they are really one of my favorite bands. This article had some very interesting history and information…some of which I did not know. My absolute favorite Eagles song is Desperado…and of course, the classic Hotel California. Definitely one of the best bands ever!

  2. Hey, I saw them play with Iron and Wine in MPLS this past fall and they were great. They have a darn good e.p. that they put out for the tour thats very good. I belive you can find some demo MP3’s on their wetbsie (you could for a while at least, haven’t checked in a number of months)

  3. What talent.But greed and ego took it all away from us all,themselves included.I love and hate all of them,like heaven and helll.

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