Rock Through the Ages: The Eagles 1971- 

"We're the Oakland A's of rock and roll. On the field we can't be beat, but in the clubhouse, now that's another story."-Glenn Frey

The Eagles want to take it easyFormed in Los Angeles, California, in 1971, The Eagles have been a highly successful rock group. The Eagles chronicled America in the high-flying Seventies, a time of rapidly changing social mores leading up to what they called “life in the fast lane.” Between the lines, their favorite subject matter was the pursuit and unraveling of the American dream. They began as wide-eyed country-rockers on the fertile Los Angeles music scene and evolved into purveyors of grandiose, dark-themed albums about excess and seduction. The Eagles were defined and bounded by the Seventies, forming in 1971 and parting ways in 1980. They were born again in 1994 as public demand for their music and messages persuaded them to reunite. The Eagles formed from four musicians with varied backgrounds and locales. Drummer Don Henley had migrated west from Texas with his band, Shiloh. Guitarist Glenn Frey was a rocker from Detroit who headed to Los Angeles, where he befriended fellow musicians Jackson Browne and John David Souther. Bernie Leadon, who plays a variety of stringed instruments, boasted a bluegrass background and belonged to the Flying Burrito Brothers. Bassist and high-harmony singer Randy Meisner played with such country- and folk-rock mainstays as Rick Nelson, James Taylor and Poco. After working with Ronstadt, Henley and Frey decided to form the Eagles, recruiting Leadon and Meisner.

In September 1971, Frey, Henley, Leadon, and Meisner signed with manager David Geffen, agreeing to record for his soon-to-be-launched label, Asylum Records; soon after, they adopted the name the Eagles, choosing the name Eagles as a nod to The Byrds. In February 1972, they flew to England and spent two weeks recording their debut album, Eagles, with producer Glyn Johns. It was released in June, reaching the Top 20 and going gold in a little over a year and a half, following the release of two Top Ten hits, "Take It Easy" and "Witchy Woman," and one Top 20 hit, "Peaceful Easy Feeling." Take It Easy" was co-written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne, and both it and "Witchy Woman", established the quartet's meticulous harmonies and relaxed, but purposeful, country rock sound

The Eagles are a desperado and a witchy womanThe Eagles toured as an opening act throughout 1972 and into early 1973, when they returned to England and Glyn Johns to record their second LP, Desperado. The social milieu of Southern California inspired the central metaphor of Desperado, a concept album in which the Eagles explored the notion of rocker-as-outlaw. Released in 1973, it yielded such Eagles favorites as “Tequila Sunrise” and the title track "Desperado". The album contained enough of a plot line to encourage rumors of a movie version. The LP yielded no major pop hits, but its title track, a ballad penned by Henley and Frey, has become a classic rock standard, covered by Linda Ronstadt, among others. After touring to support Desperado, the Eagles again convened a recording session with Glyn Johns for their third album. But their desire to make harder rock music clashed with Johns' sense of them as a country-rock band, and they split from the producer. On The Border, reasserted the unit's commerciality. "Best Of My Love" became their first US number one. New member Don Felder, who was drafted from David Blue's backing group in March 1974, considerably bolstered the Eagles sound.

The Eagles attained superstar status with One Of These Nights. It was an out-of-the-box smash, released in June 1975, it went gold the same month and hit number one in July. It featured three singles that hit the Top Five: the chart-topping title song, "Lyin' Eyes," and "Take It to the Limit." "Lyin' Eyes" won the 1975 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group, or Chorus, and the Eagles also earned Grammy nominations for Album of the Year The album established the Eagles as an international act. The new found pressure proved too great for Leadon who left the line-up in December 1975. He subsequently pursued a low-key career with the Leadon-Georgiades band. Leadon's replacement was Joe Walsh, former lead guitarist with the James Gang and a successful solo artist in his own right. The Eagles' extensive touring kept them out of the studio, and with no immediate plans for a new album, they agreed to the release of a compilation, Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), in February 1976. The first album certified platinum for sales of one million copies, it topped the charts and became a phenomenal success, eventually selling upwards of 25,000,000 copies and dueling with Michael Jackson's Thriller for the title of the best-selling album of all time in the U.S.

The Eagles check into the hotel California and are no longer the new kid in townIt took the Eagles 18 months to follow One of These Nights with their fifth album, Hotel California. It became the third consecutive Number One album for the Eagles and their first number one with Joe Walsh. Hotel California topped the US album charts for eight weeks and spawned two number 1 singles in the title track and "New Kid In Town'. The set has become the Eagles most popular collection, selling nine million copies worldwide in its year of release alone. Internal friction the following year resulted in Meisner's departure. His replacement, Timothy B. Schmit, was another former member of Poco, but by this point the Eagles" impetus was waning. The Long Run was generally regarded as disappointing, despite containing a fifth US number one in "Heartache Tonight". A temporary hiatus taken at the end of the decade became a fully fledged break in 1982 when long-standing disagreements could not be resolved. Henley, Frey and Felder began solo careers with contrasting results, while Walsh resumed the path he had followed prior to joining the band. Walsh released a successful album, There Goes the Neighborhood , but subsequent albums throughout the 1980s, such as Got Any Gum?  were less well-received.

Don Henley turned out to have the greatest solo success of the five core Eagles. In 1982, he released I Can't Stand Still, featuring the hit "Dirty Laundry." That album paled in comparison to his next release, 1984's smash, Building the Perfect Beast which featured classic rock radio staples, "Boys of Summer," and" All She Wants to Do Is Dance.  Henley released The End of the Innocence. album in 1989. This album was also a major success and included the hit "The End of the Innocence." Glenn Frey also found solo success in the 1980s. In 1982, he released his first album, No Fun Aloud. He followed this album with 1984's The Allnighter, and reached #2 on the charts with "The Heat Is On" from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. In 1982, former music writer turned filmmaker, Cameron Crowe, saw his first screenplay turn into a feature length movie, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Crowe was a fan and had written about the Eagles in one of his articles, and as a result, Henley, Walsh, Schmit, and Felder all contributed solo songs to the film's soundtrack. In addition, the band playing the dance toward the end of the movie covers Life in the Fast Lane. In 1994, after years of fielding off reunion rumors, Henley, Frey, Walsh, Felder, and Schmit, who had appeared together in the video for Tritt's version of "Take It Easy", hit the road for a massively successful concert tour. The tour went on hiatus toward the end of 1994, due to Frey's gastrointestinal surgery, but it continued in 1995. In November 1994, the band released Hell Freezes Over, which featured four new songs. In 1998 the Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. All seven members of the band performed together for the first time at the induction ceremony. In 2007 the Eagles returned with the band's seventh studio album, Long Road Out of Eden, their first full studio album in 28 years.
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