The Eagles — in a nutshell
Eagles are one of the most successful rock groups in the 1970s, having sold millions of records worldwide, and best famous for their signature hit “Hotel California”. The core members of the band are Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner.
They would achieve international stardom when their fourth LP Hotel California hit the stores in the mid-1970s; the title track was the album’s second single, has become the band’s concert staple. The album Hotel California was an overwhelming commercial success, selling 16 million copies in the US alone.
Although none of their subsequent releases surpassed or even just equaled the huge success that Hotel California achieved, the Eagles continued to release well-received records. Animosity between the group’s principal songwriters, Frey and Henley, were one of the reasons behind the band’s breakup in 1980. Fourteen years later, they reunited for a series of tours that led to the recording of a live albumHell Freezes Over, which debuted at the top of the Billboard album chart. The Eagles still perform today, although only occasionally.
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They are famous for their songs “Hotel California”, “New Kid In Town”, “Best Of My Love”, “Heartache Tonight”, and “One Of These Nights”, among others. They continue to perform today, albeit intermittently.
The core members of the Eagles are Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. All of the members had had respective musical occupations before joining singer Linda Ronstadt’s group as supporting musicians. They backed her up on her summer tour as well as appeared on her self-titled 1972 album.
After the Ronstadt gig, all four got together to form a band and named themselves the Eagles, after Leadon recalled reading about the Hopi Indian’s veneration for eagles. They were signed to David Geffen’s Asylum Records.
In 1972 The Eagles recorded what would be their eponymous debut album at Olympic Studios, in London, England. When it was released in June that same year, it quickly became a success peaking at #22 on the Billboard pop albums chart. It spawned singles such as “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, “Take It Easy”, and the Top 10 single “Witchy Woman”.
Their second effort was the concept album Desperado in 1973. The Eagles tackled the idea of the Old West as the theme for the album. It also witnessed the closer songwriting collaboration between Henley and Frey. Although it was considered a less successful release compared to their first album, it nevertheless produced now-classic Eagles songs such as “Tequila Sunrise”, “Outlaw Man” and the title track, although it was never released as a single. Desperado also went double platinum — not bad for a sophomore slump.
Wanting to steer their direction more towards rock, the Eagles proved this by releasing their third studio album One Of These Nights in 1974. It went to #17 on the Billboard album charts, bearing six singles including the two #1 hits “Best of My Love” and the title track. It also produced other Top 10 singles “Lyin’ Eyes” (at #2) and “Take It To The Limit” (at #4). One Of These Nights was the album that put the Eagles on the international map as a massively successful rock band. One Of These Nights brought in quadruple platinum sales in the US alone; it also went platinum in the UK and Canada.
The Eagles went on with their superstar status with the release of their 1976 album Hotel Califronia. The first single was “New Kid In Town”, released in December 1976. By February the following year, it reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (#20 on the UK charts).
Hotel California‘s second single was the the title track, released in February 1977. It went to #1 on the Hot 100 charts in May that same year. “Hotel California” has also become the band’s signature song, and been a concert staple since the single was released and ruled the airwaves. Because of the songs’s immense popularity, it has been covered by numerous artists.
Hotel California was an overwhelming commercial triumph around the globe. In the US alone, it sold about 16 million copies. In the UK the album also became a massive best-seller as it sold six million copies; in Canada, the LP moved 10 million units. It is clear that Hotel California is the group’s most commercially successful album to date.
The band also released a Christmas single titled “Please Come Home For Christmas”, in December 1978. It went to #18 on the Billboard Top 20, #30 on the UK charts.
The Eagles’ final studio album during the height of their popularity was 1979’s The Long Run. It was intended to be a double album but the band were unable to come up with more songs. For the first time original member Randy Meisner was missing on the album, and was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit. The critics considered The Long Run as a letdown for failing to surpass or even just equal its predecessor, Hotel California. Nevertheless, the LP spawned three Top 10 singles, including the #1 hit “Heartache Tonight”; the album also went multi-platinum in the US, while it had a gold status in the UK.
Animosity existing between Frey and Felder further strained the band, and led to the Eagles’ demise as a group, although they still had contract obligations to their second label Elektra Records (Elektra and Asylum had established a merger in 1973). It allowed the now-estranged Eagles to record their final effort at the time, a live record from the tour titled Eagles Live which was released in November 1980.
To their fans’ delight, fourteen years later the Eagles returned to the music scene when they recorded for an MTV special. This led to the release of their second live album Hell Freezes Over in 1994. One of the most prominent tracks is their tasteful acoustic arrangement of “Hotel California” which also features a percussion opening. It went to #1 on the Billboard album charts as well as on the Canadian charts. The album also featured four studio tracks and one its singles, “Love Will Keep Us Alive” was a modest Top 40 hit and an adult contemporary chart-topper.
Don Felder, a member of the Eagles since 1974, was fired from the band in early 2001. Felder sued his former mates Don Henley and Glenn Frey citing unfair termination and breach of contract. He was also demanding $50 million dollars in damages. Henley and Frey countersued Felder for a breach of contract because Felder wrote and published a tell-all book about his years with the band. The case was finally dismissed in 2007 and settled out of court.
The current lineup of the Eagles consists of Frey, Henley, Leadon, Schmit and Joe Walsh. Together they released an album titled Long Road Out On Eden in 2007, the band’s first studio album in almost 28 years. The rock-and-country-music-oriented album was welcomed by generally positive reviews and became another global seller, reaching the #1 status in about 15 countries. It sold 7 million units in the US, 3 million copies in Australian and 2 million copies in the UK. One of Long Road Out On Eden‘s single, “No More Cloudy Days”, peaked at #3 on the adult contemporary charts.
The Eagles are still actively performing, although only occasionally. In February 2013 the band released a documentary DVD called The History Of The Eagles, that chronicles the band’s career that spanned from the 1970s up to the new millenium. The band plans to continue to tour and write music.