Eagles

Eagles (often referred to as "The Eagles") is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California during the early 1970s. The group chose the name Eagles as a nod to The Byrds (as founding member Bernie Leadon had been in Dillard & Clark with former Byrds singer Gene Clark and in The Flying Burrito Brothers with former Byrds Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke). Steve Martin records in his autobiography, Born Standing Up, that Frey was very particular that the name was Eagles and not The Eagles. The band played initially as Linda Ronstadt???s backing group.


With five #1 singles and six #1 albums, Eagles was one of the most successful recording artists of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971???1975 and Hotel California, ranked among the 20 best-selling albums according to the Recording Industry Association of America. The best-selling studio album Hotel California is rated as the 37th album in the Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and the band was ranked #75 on the magazine's 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. They also have the best selling album in the U.S. to date with Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971???1975.


The Eagles broke up in 1980, but reunited in 1994 for Hell Freezes Over, a mix of live and new studio tracks. They have toured intermittently since then, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2007, Eagles released Long Road out of Eden, their first full studio album in 28 years. The next year they launched The Long Road out of Eden Tour in support of their album. The tour continued on into 2009, crossing North America and Europe, with its last date on , 2009 in Lisbon, Portugal.


First incarnation


The seeds for the band were planted when Linda Ronstadt and then-manager John Boylan recruited session musicians Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner to back Ronstadt. They were missing a drummer until Frey telephoned Don Henley, whom he had met at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles. The group auditioned for Ronstadt; she approved, and the band backed her on a two-month tour and on her eponymous 1972 album. After their tenure with Ronstadt and with her encouragement, they decided to form their own band, signing with Asylum Records, the new label started by David Geffen. Geffen and partner Elliot Roberts also initially managed the band.


Eagles (1972)

The group's eponymous debut album was quickly recorded and released in June 1972. Eagles was filled with natural, sometimes innocent country rock, and yielded 3 Top 40 singles. The first single and lead track, "Take It Easy", was a song written by Glenn Frey and his neighbor and fellow country-folk rocker Jackson Browne. Browne had written the first and third verses, and the chorus, but his work on the song had stalled. After giving Frey permission to work on it, Frey added the second verse. The song reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and propelled the Eagles to stardom. The single was followed by the bluesy "Witchy Woman" and the soft country rock ballad "Peaceful Easy Feeling", charting at #9 and #22 respectively.


The Eagles were a major force in popularizing the Southern California country rock sound. Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" ranked Eagles at number 374.


Desperado (1973)
Eagles playing dead on back cover of Desperado photographed by Henry Diltz (The two additional "bodies" are those of J.D. Souther and Jackson Browne)

Their second album, Desperado, was themed on Old West outlaws, drawing comparisons between their lifestyles and the lifestyles of modern rock stars. This album introduced the group's penchant for conceptual songwriting. It was during the recording sessions that Don Henley and Glenn Frey began writing with each other, co-writing 8 of the album's 11 songs, including two of the group's most popular songs: "Tequila Sunrise" and "Desperado." The bluegrass songs "Twenty-One," "Doolin' Dalton" and the ballad "Saturday Night" showcased guitarist Bernie Leadon's abilities on the banjo, fingerpicked guitar and mandolin.


Throughout the album, the story of the notorious Wild West "Doolin-Dalton" gang was the main focus, featuring in the songs "Doolin-Dalton," "Bittercreek" and "Desperado." The album was less successful than the first, reaching only #41 on the U.S. pop album charts, and yielding only 2 singles, "Tequila Sunrise," which reached #61 on the Billboard charts, and "Outlaw Man," which peaked at #59.


The album marked a significant change to the band, with Henley and Frey co-writing the bulk of the album, a pattern that would continue for years to come. Subsequently, the pair began to dominate the band in terms of leadership and songwriting, turning the focus of the band away from Leadon and Meisner despite early presumptions that it would be Leadon and Meisner who would steer the band.


On the Border (1974)

For their next album, On the Border, Henley and Frey wanted the band to break away from the country music style they were known for, moving more towards hard rock. Initially, the Eagles started off with Glyn Johns producing, but he tended to emphasize the lush side of their double-edged music. After completing only two songs, the band turned to 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 so impressed that two days later they invited Felder to become the fifth Eagle. He appeared on only one other song on the album, the uptempo breakup song "Already Gone," where he performed the guitar duet with Glenn Frey. On the Border yielded a No. 1 Billboard single ("Best of My Love"), which hit the top of the charts on March 1, 1975, becoming the Eagles' first of five chart toppers.


One of These Nights (1975)

Their next album, One of These Nights, had an aggressive, sinewy rock stance. The album further displayed the growing strength of the Henley/Frey songwriting team, particularly on the album's title track and the Grammy Award winning "Lyin' Eyes." "One of These Nights" hit #1 on the Billboard chart on August 2, 1975. The song itself has often been cited by Frey as his all-time favorite Eagles tune. The album also contains the Leadon instrumental "Journey of the Sorcerer," which is known to many as the theme to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.


By this time, conflict within the band had escalated. Recording and touring created stress; tempers were boiling over, and egos were clashing. Between the release of One of These Nights and the supporting tour, Bernie Leadon left the group, disillusioned with the direction the band's music was taking. The Eagles were no longer concentrating on the country rock in which Leadon excelled, and the hiring of Don Felder meant that Leadon's role had been significantly diminished. Leadon was also dating Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan's daughter, at the time ??? the two of them had co-written "I Wish You Peace" on the album ??? which created political tensions within the group.


Leadon left the band in December 1975, famously announcing his resignation by pouring a beer over Frey's head. In order to continue with their tour schedule, the group quickly replaced Leadon with Joe Walsh, a veteran of such groups as the James Gang and Barnstorm and a solo artist in his own right, who (like the Eagles) was produced by Szymczyk and managed by Irving Azoff.


Meanwhile, in early 1976, Their Greatest Hits (1971???1975) was released. It went on to become the best-selling album in U.S. history, selling over 29 million copies in the United States, 42 million copies worldwide to date.


Hotel California (1976-1978)
Band photo on inner sleeve of Hotel California album

The group's next album, Hotel California, came out in December 1976. "New Kid in Town" was a #1 hit in Billboard on February 26, 1977, and the title track, "Hotel California" on May 7, 1977. Told during a 60 Minutes interview (November 25, 2007) that "everyone wants to know what this song means," Don Henley replied, "I know, it's so boring...It's a song about the dark underbelly of the American Dream, and about excess in America, which was something we knew about."


"Life in the Fast Lane" was also a major success, becoming a catchphrase in the process and established Joe Walsh's position in the band with its more hard rock sound. The ballad "Wasted Time" closed the first side of the album, while an instrumental reprise of it opened the second side. The album concluded with "The Last Resort," the song Frey, to this day, refers to as Don Henley's greatest work.


The run out groove on Side Two has the words "V.O.L. Is Five-Piece Live", this means that the song "Victim of Love" was recorded live, with just the band and no overdubbing. Don Henley confirms this on the inner booklet of The Very Best of the Eagles. Hotel California has appeared on several lists of the best albums of all time. It is also their best-selling studio album, with over 16 million copies sold to date in the U.S.


Glenn Frey, Don Felder and Joe Walsh during Hotel California tour

After the tour, Randy Meisner left the band and moved back to his native Nebraska, where he began a solo career. The band replaced Meisner with the same musician who had succeeded him in Poco, Timothy B. Schmit. In 1977, the group, minus Don Felder, performed some instrumental work and backing vocals for Randy Newman's album Little Criminals, including the controversial surprise hit "Short People" which has backing vocals by Frey and Schmit.


The Long Run and breakup (1979-1980)

In 1977, the Eagles went into a recording studio to produce their next studio album, The Long Run. The album took 2 years to make, but yielded the group's fifth and last #1 single in Billboard, "Heartache Tonight" (November 10, 1979). "Heartache Tonight" was co-written by Frey and fellow Michigan native Bob Seger.


The Eagles also contributed to Boz Scaggs' hit single Look What You've Done to Me, the love theme from the 1980 film Urban Cowboy, and featured on its soundtrack.


On July 31, 1980, in Long Beach, California, tempers boiled over into what has been described as "Long Night at Wrong Beach." Frey and Felder spent the entire show describing to each other the beating each planned to administer backstage. "Only three more songs until I kick your ass, pal," Frey recalls Felder telling him near the end of the band's set. Felder recalls Frey making a similar threat to him during "The Best Of My Love."


It appeared to be the end of the Eagles, although the band still owed Warner Bros. a live record from the tour. Eagles Live (released in November 1980) was mixed by Frey and Henley on opposite coasts; the two decided they couldn't bear to be in the same state, let alone the same studio, and as Bill Szymczyk put it,"The record's perfect three-part harmonies were fixed courtesy of Federal Express." With credits that listed no fewer than five attorneys, the album's liner notes simply said, "Thank you and goodnight."


Post-breakup (1980-1994)


After the breakup of the Eagles, each ex-member tried his hand in a solo career. Joe Walsh had already established himself as a solo artist in the 1970s before and during his time with the Eagles, but it was uncharted waters for the others.


Joe Walsh released a successful album in 1981, There Goes the Neighborhood , but subsequent albums throughout the 1980s, such as Got Any Gum? were less well-received. During this time Walsh also performed as a session musician for Dan Fogelberg, Steve Winwood and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, among others, and produced and co-wrote Ringo Starr's "Old Wave" album.


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 Billboard #5 hit and classic rock radio staple, "The Boys of Summer," "All She Wants to Do Is Dance (#9)," "Not Enough Love In The World" (#34), and "Sunset Grill" (#22). Henley would not release another album for 5 years until 1989's The End of the Innocence. This album was also a major success and included the hits "The End of the Innocence," "The Last Worthless Evening" and "The Heart of the Matter". His solo career was cut short due to a contract dispute with his record company, finally resolved when the Eagles reunited in 1994.


Glenn Frey also found solo success in the 1980s. In 1982, he released his first album, No Fun Aloud, which spawned the #15 hit, "The One You Love." He followed this album with 1984's The Allnighter, which featured the #20 hit "Sexy Girl." He reached #2 on the charts with "The Heat Is On" from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. He had another #2 single in 1985 with "You Belong to the City" from the Miami Vice soundtrack, which featured another Frey song, "Smuggler's Blues." He also contributed the songs "Flip City" to the Ghostbusters II soundtrack and "Part of Me, Part of You" to the soundtrack for Thelma and Louise.


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.


Don Felder also released a solo album, and contributed two songs to the soundtrack of the movie Heavy Metal: "Heavy Metal (Takin' A Ride)" (with Henley and Schmit providing backing vocals) and "All of You".


Timothy B. Schmit had a Top 40 hit in 1987 with "Boys' Night Out".


Randy Meisner had a #14 hit with the song "Hearts on Fire" in 1981.


Reunion (1994-present)


Hell Freezes Over (1994-1999)

Fourteen years after the breakup, an Eagles country tribute album titled Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles was released in 1993. Travis Tritt insisted on having the Long Run-era Eagles in his video for "Take It Easy" and they agreed. After the "Take It Easy" video was completed the following year, and following years of public speculation, the band finally formally reunited. The lineup comprised the five Long Run-era members ??? Frey, Henley, Walsh, Felder and Schmit ??? supplemented by additional musicians: Scott Crago (drums), John Corey (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals), Timothy Drury (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals) and Al Garth (sax, violin) on stage.


"For the record, we never broke up, we just took a 14-year vacation," announced Frey at their first live performance in April 1994. The ensuing tour spawned a live album titled Hell Freezes Over (named for Henley's recurring statement that the group would get back together "when hell freezes over") which debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart, and included 4 new studio songs, with "Get Over It" and "Love Will Keep Us Alive" both becoming Top 40 hits. The album itself proved as successful as the reunion tour, selling 6 million copies in the U.S. While the tour was briefly interrupted in September 1994 due to Frey's serious recurrence of diverticulitis, it resumed in 1995 and continued into '96.


In 1998, the Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. During the induction ceremony, Frey, Henley, Felder, Walsh and Schmit performed together, and former members Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner rejoined the band for the performance, where the band played "Take It Easy" and "Hotel California." Several subsequent reunion tours followed (without Leadon or Meisner), notable for their record-setting ticket prices.


The new millennium (1999-2001)

The Eagles performed at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on December 31, 1999. This concert marked the last time Don Felder played with the band and these shows (including a planned release of the video) would form a part of the lawsuit that Felder later filed against his former band mates.


The concert was released on CD as part of the four-disc Selected Works: 1972-1999 box set in November 2000. Along with the millennium concert, this set included the band's hit singles, album tracks, as well as outtakes from The Long Run sessions. Selected Works sold approximately 267,000 copies at about $60 a unit.


The group resumed touring once more in 2001 with a line up consisting of Frey, Henley, Walsh, and Schmit, along with Steuart Smith (guitars, mandolin, keyboards, backing vocals; who unofficially replaced Don Felder who was fired in early 2001), Michael Thompson (keyboards, trombone), Will Hollis (keyboards, backing vocals), Scott Crago (drums, percussion), Bill Armstrong (Horns) Al Garth (sax, violin), Christian Mostert (sax) and Greg Smith (sax, percussion)


Don Felder sues the Eagles (2001-2002)

On February 6, 2001, Don Felder was fired from the Eagles. Felder responded by filing two lawsuits against "Eagles, Ltd., a California corporation; Don Henley, an individual; Glenn Frey, an individual; and "Does 1-50", alleging wrongful termination, breach of implied-in-fact contract, and breach of fiduciary duty, reportedly seeking $50 million in damages.


In his complaint, Felder alleged that from the 1994 Hell Freezes Over tour onward, Henley and Frey had "... insisted that they each receive a higher percentage of the band's profits ...", whereas the money had previously been split in five equal portions. Felder also accused them of coercing him into signing an agreement under which Henley and Frey would receive three times as much of the Selected Works: 1972-1999 proceeds than Felder.


On behalf of his clients Henley and Frey, attorney Daniel M. Petrocelli stated:


felt ??? creatively, chemistry-wise and performance-wise ??? that he should no longer be part of the band...They removed him, and they had every legal right to do so. This has been happening with rock 'n' roll bands since day one.


It was also reported that Don Felder usually did not agree with the rest of the band concerning touring or recording schedules. The rest of the band members wanted the freedom to tour or record as they wanted on their own terms.


Henley and Frey then countersued Felder for breach of contract, alleging that Felder had written and attempted to sell the rights to a "tell-all" book. The book, Heaven and Hell, was published in the United Kingdom on November 1, 2007. The initial U.S. release was canceled after publisher Hyperion elected to back out, in September, when an entire print run of the book had to be recalled for further cuts and changes. The American edition of Heaven and Hell is now slated for publication by John Wiley & Sons on April 28, 2008, with Felder embarking on a full publicity campaign surrounding its release.


On January 23, 2002, the Los Angeles County Court consolidated the two complaints, and the single case was dismissed on May 8, 2007 after being settled out-of-court for an undisclosed amount.


"Hole in the World" (2003-2006)

In 2003, the Eagles released a new greatest hits album The Very Best of the Eagles. The two-disc compilation was the first that encompassed their entire career, from Eagles to The Long Run. The album also included a new single, the September 11-themed "Hole in the World". The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard charts and eventually gained triple platinum status.


Also in 2003, Warren Zevon, a longtime Eagles friend, began work on his final album, The Wind, with the assistance of Henley, Walsh, and Schmit.


On June 14, 2005, the Eagles released a new 2-DVD set titled Farewell 1 Tour-Live from Melbourne featuring 2 new songs: Glenn Frey's "No More Cloudy Days" and Joe Walsh's "One Day at a Time." A special edition 2006 release exclusive to Wal-Mart and affiliated stores also included a bonus audio CD with three new songs: a studio version of "No More Cloudy Days" plus "Fast Company" and "Do Something."


Long Road Out Of Eden (2007-present)

In 2007, the Eagles consisted of Frey, Henley, Walsh, and Schmit. On August 20, 2007, "How Long," written by J.D. Souther ??? who had previously worked with the Eagles co-writing some of their biggest hits including "Best of My Love," "Victim of Love," "Heartache Tonight" and "New Kid in Town" ??? was released as a single to radio with an accompanying online video at Yahoo! Music and debuted on television on CMT during the Top 20 Countdown on August 23, 2007. The band performed the song as part of their live sets in the early-to-mid '70s, but did not record it at the time due to J.D. Souther's desire to use it on his first solo album.


On October 30, 2007, the Eagles released Long Road Out of Eden, their first album of all-new material since 1979. For the first year after the album's initial release, it was available in the U.S. exclusively via the band's website, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores. It was commercially available through traditional retail outlets in other countries. The album debuted at #1 in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands and Norway. It became their third studio album, seventh release overall, to be certified at least seven times platinum. In an interview with CNN, Don Henley declared, "This is probably the last Eagles album that we'll ever make."


The Eagles made their awards show debut on November 7, 2007, when they performed "How Long" live at the Country Music Association Awards.


On January 28, 2008, the second single off Long Road Out of Eden was released. "Busy Being Fabulous" peaked at #30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and at #18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart.


The Eagles won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "How Long." It was the band's fifth Grammy Award.


On March 20, 2008, the Eagles launched their world tour in support of Long Road Out of Eden at The O2 Arena in London, England. Long Road out of Eden Tour concluded their last currently scheduled American venue on May 9, 2009 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. It was the first concert ever held in the new soccer stadium. The group was touring in Europe, their last tour date scheduled on July 22, 2009 in Lisbon, Portugal.


Band members


1971???1974
Glenn Frey ??? vocals, guitars, keyboards, harmonica
Don Henley ??? vocals, drums, percussion, guitar
Bernie Leadon ??? vocals, guitars, banjo, mandolin
Randy Meisner ??? vocals, bass, guitar
1974???1975
Glenn Frey ??? vocals, guitars, keyboards, harmonica
Don Henley ??? vocals, drums, percussion, guitar
Bernie Leadon ??? vocals, guitars, banjo, mandolin
Randy Meisner ??? vocals, bass, guitar
Don Felder ??? guitars, mandolin, vocals, keyboards,
1975???1977
Glenn Frey ??? vocals, guitars, keyboards, harmonica
Don Henley ??? vocals, drums, percussion, guitar,
Randy Meisner ??? vocals, bass, guitar
Don Felder ??? guitars, mandolin, vocals, keyboards,
Joe Walsh ??? guitars, vocals, keyboards,
1977???1980
Glenn Frey ??? vocals, guitars, keyboards, harmonica
Don Henley ??? vocals, drums , percussion, guitar,
Don Felder ??? guitars, mandolin, vocals, keyboards,
Joe Walsh ??? guitars, vocals, keyboards,
Timothy B. Schmit ??? bass, vocals
1980???1994

14 year "vacation"


1994???2001
Glenn Frey ??? vocals, guitars, keyboards, harmonica
Don Henley ??? vocals, drums, percussion, guitar
Don Felder ??? guitars, mandolin, vocals, keyboards
Joe Walsh ??? guitars, vocals, keyboards
Timothy B. Schmit ??? bass, vocals
2001???current
Glenn Frey ??? vocals, guitars, keyboards, harmonica
Don Henley ??? vocals, drums, percussion, guitar
Joe Walsh ??? guitars, vocals, keyboards,
Timothy B. Schmit ??? bass guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals

Awards


Eagles have won six Grammy awards:
(1975) Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus: "Lyin' Eyes"
(1977) Record of the Year: "Hotel California" (single)
(1977) Best Arrangement for Voices: "New Kid in Town"
(1979) Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group: "Heartache Tonight"
(2008) Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: ""How Long"
(2009) Best Pop Instrumental Performance: "I Dreamed There Was No War"
The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
On December 7, 1999 the Recording Industry of America honored the group with the Best Selling Album of the Century for Their Greatest Hits (1971???1975).
Eagles were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.
The group ranked number 34 on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music in 2003. They were one of four artists who were either a duo or a group on the list with the others being Alabama at number eleven, Flatt & Scruggs at number 24, and Brooks & Dunn at number 25.

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