|Origin||Los Angeles, California, USA|
|Genre(s)||Rock, country rock, southern rock|
|Years active||1971–1980 |
|Label(s)||Asylum, Geffen, Lost Highway|
|Associated acts||Poco, J.D. Souther, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne|
|Glenn Frey |
Timothy B. Schmit
|Don Felder |
The Eagles are an American rock band that was formed in Los Angeles, California during the early 1970s. With five Number 1 singles and six Number 1 albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful recording artists of the decade. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971–1975 and Hotel California, ranked among the ten best-selling albums according to the Recording Industry Association of America. The best-selling studio album Hotel California is rated as the thirty-seventh album in the Rolling Stone list "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time", and the band was ranked number 75 on Rolling Stone'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, the Eagles released Long Road out of Eden, their first full studio album in 28 years.
The seeds for the Eagles were planted when Linda Ronstadt's 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 self-titled 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. The group chose the name Eagles as a nod to The Byrds (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).
The group's self-titled debut album was quickly recorded and was released in June 1972. Eagles was filled with natural, sometimes innocent country rock, and yielded three 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. Frey heard Browne recording it, contributed two lines to it (for which he got co-writing credit) and asked if the Eagles could use it. The song reached number 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 No. 9 and No. 22 respectively. The Eagles were a major force in popularizing the Southern California country rock sound around the nation. Rolling Stone magazine's 2003 list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time" ranked Eagles at number 374.
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 eight of the album's eleven songs. Included are two of the Eagles' most popular songs: "Tequila Sunrise" and "Desperado" were both written by Henley and Frey. 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 number 41 on the U.S. pop album charts, and yielding only two singles, "Tequila Sunrise," which reached No. 61 on the Billboard charts, and "Outlaw Man," which peaked at No. 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. As a result, the pair began to dominate the band in terms of leadership and songwriting, turning the focus of the band away from Leadon and Meisner. Ironically, many had thought that it would be Leadon and Meisner who would be leading the band.
 On the Border
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 with "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 (Leadon leaves)
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 No. 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 futuristic sounding instrumental "Journey of the Sorcerer," which is known to many as the theme to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
By this time, members of the band had started to fight with each other. Recording and touring had been strained since the eponymous debut album; tempers were boiling over, and egos were clashing. Between the release of One of These Nights and the subsequent tour, Bernie Leadon left the group, disillusioned with the direction the band's music was taking. They 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.
 Hotel California (Meisner leaves)
The group's next album, Hotel California, came out in December 1976. "New Kid in Town" was a No. 1 hit in Billboard on February 26, 1977, and the title track on May 7, 1977. Told during a 60 Minutes interview (November 25, 2007) that "everyone wants to know what this song [Hotel California] 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 United States.
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 man 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.
 The Long Run (break-up)
In 1977, the Eagles went into a recording studio to produce their next studio album, The Long Run. The album took two years to make, but yielded the group's fifth and last No. 1 single in Billboard, "Heartache Tonight" (November 10, 1979).
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 just as they began to sing "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."
 After the Eagles
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.
Walsh tried continuing his solo career, which included the hits, 1973's "Rocky Mountain Way" and 1978's "Life's Been Good", but found hits hard to come by after the breakup. 1981's album, There Goes the Neighborhood was considerably successful, but successive albums throughout the 1980s, such as Got Any Gum? proved to be mediocre. During this time he 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 during this period. In 1982, he released the well-received I Can't Stand Still, featuring the hit "Dirty Laundry." The first album paled in comparison, though, to his next release, 1984's smash, Building the Perfect Beast. Off of this album came the Billboard No. 5 hit and classic rock radio staple, "Boys of Summer." It also yielded the No. 9 hit "All She Wants to Do Is Dance", "Not Enough Love In The World" (#34) and "Sunset Grill" (#22). He would not release another album for five 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 however because of a contract dispute with his record company which was not resolved until 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 No. 15 hit, "The One You Love." He followed this album with 1984's The Allnighter, which featured the No. 20 hit "Sexy Girl." He reached No. 2 on the charts with "The Heat Is On" from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. He had another No. 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 2 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".
 Hell Freezes Over
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 No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, and included four new studio songs, with "Get Over It" and "Love Will Keep Us Alive" both becoming top forty hits. The album itself proved as successful as the reunion tour, selling 6 million copies in the United States alone. While the tour was briefly interrupted in September 1994 due to Frey's serious recurrence of diverticulitis, it resumed in 1995 and continued into 1996.
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
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 from the Eagles 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
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 $50,000,000 in damages.
In his latter 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:
“[Henley and Frey] 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 counter-sued 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, but the initial American release was originally 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.
 "Hole in the World"
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 number three on the Billboard charts and eventually gained triple platinum status.
On June 14, 2005, the Eagles released a new two-DVD set titled Farewell 1 Tour-Live from Melbourne featuring two 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
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 1970s, 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 will be available in the United States exclusively via the band's website, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores, and commercially available through traditional retail outlets in other countries. The album debuted at No. 1 in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands and Norway. It subsequently became their third studio album, seventh release overall, to be certified at least seven times platinum.
On January 28, 2008, the second single off Long Road Out of Eden was released. "Busy Being Fabulous" peaked at number 30 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and at number 18 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart.
On February 10, 2008, the Eagles won the Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "How Long." It was the band's fifth Grammy Award.
 Band members
14 year vacation
- Eagles have won five 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"
- 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.