The Eagles: The Legendary American Band
Conscripts: Don Felder (guitar; born 9/21/47), Glenn Frey (born 11/6/48; guitar, vocals), Don Henley (drums, vocals; born 7/22/47), Bernie Leadon (guitar, mandolin, banjo; born 7/19/47), Randy Meisner (bass, vocals; born 3/8/46), Timothy B. Schmit (bass, vocals; born 10/30/47), Joe Walsh (guitar, vocals; born 11/20/47).
In between the lines, their favorite topic was the pursuit and unraveling of the American dream. They started as wide-eyed country-rockers on the fertile Los Angeles songs scene and progressed into purveyors of grand, dark-themed albums about excess and seduction. The Eagles were defined and bounded by the Seventies, forming in 1971 and parting means in 1980. They were born again in 1994 as public need for their music and messages persuaded them to meet again.
The statistics on the Eagles reveal their influence as a rock and roll band. The group's first best-of collection, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, is among the best-selling albums of perpetuity, having sold even more than 26 million copies. It was the first album to be accredited platinum (1 million offered) by the Recording Industry Association of America, which introduced that classification in 1976. They released four successive Number One albums in between 1975 and 1979: One of These Nights, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, Hotel California and The Long Run. Jointly, those 4 albums topped Billboard's album graph for 27 weeks. Proving they had not lost their touch, the 1994 reunion album Hell Freezes Over occupied the Number One area for 2 weeks. The Eagles charted 5 Number One hits, and five more songs made the Top 10. They sold more cds in the Seventies than other American band. In addition, though the band was inactive in the Eighties, their back catalog steadily sold 1.5 million copies a year.
The Eagles formed in Los Angeles as four artists from different backgrounds and places. Drummer Don Henley had actually migrated west from Texas with atrioventricular bundle, Shiloh. Guitar player Glenn Frey was a rocker from Detroit who visited Los Angeles, where he befriended fellow musicians Jackson Browne and John David Souther. Bernie Leadon, who plays a range of stringed instruments, flaunted a bluegrass background and belonged to the Flying Burrito Brothers. Bassist and high-harmony vocalist Randy Meisner enjoyed with such nation- and folk-rock essentials as Rick Nelson, James Taylor and Poco. After touring together in 1971 as members of Linda Ronstadt's band, they went off on their own and were developing the collection of tracks that would appear on their debut cd, Eagles.
At this point, their country-flavored rock evoked vistas as limitless as those of the Old West, whose frontier mythology they embraced. The cd started with the rousing country-rocker "Take It Easy" (co-written by Frey and Browne). It also contained the Eagles criteria "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Witchy Woman." The social milieu of Southern California motivated the main metaphor of Desperado, a concept album in which the Eagles explored the idea of rocker-as-outlaw. The team's third album, On the Border, discovered the Eagles altering manufacturers (Glyn Johns to Bill Szymczyk) and places (London to Los Angeles). Harder-rocking than its predecessors, On the Border was beefed up by the addition of guitar player Don Felder late in the sessions. Paradoxically, it was an acoustic ballad, "The Best of My Love," that held them to the top of the graphs in March 1975.