Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer School of Rock - The Eagles

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair.
Warm smell of colitas rising up through the air.
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light.
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim.
I had to stop for the night.

Hotel California resides in my top ten favorite songs for a reason.  The Eagles had a way to play rock and roll, but infuse it with a mellower country side and appeal to just about everyone in the process.

Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner formed the group in 1971, and their first album contained three Top 40 singles.  They didn't wait around for fame.  Their second album, Desperado, marked  the time when Henley and Frey took the reigns of the group, writing almost all the songs and shaping the direction they were headed.  As the years went on, they started to move away from the country inspired sound.  Tension grew between them and the other members of the band.

That tension would never go away, and would eventually destroy the band.

Their One of These Nights album pushed them into international stardom.  They were on a roll at that point, releasing new albums all the time.  The Eagles first compilation album, Their Greatest Hits 1971-75, would become one of the highest selling of the decade.

In 1976, they would reach the pinnacle of their career with the release of Hotel California.  Subsequent albums failed to live up to that, and the band eventually broke up in 1980.  By that point, Leadon and Meisner had already left the band.  They were replaced by Timothy Schmidt, Joe Walsh and Don Felder.  The ending was not pretty, with an entire performance involving threats of violence being screamed at one another between songs.

Each member spent time on solo careers after the band dissolved, some more successful than others.  Henley was by far the most popular and enjoyed many years of popularity.  Some of my favorite songs are Henley's including this one he played with Bruce Hornsby.

The band reunited in 1994, and ended up going on tour and releasing another album Hell Freezes Over, a reference to the time they claimed they'd ever play together again.  The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and all 7 members managed to be civil to one another.  They even played a few songs.

A few years later, the band went back on tour, then abruptly fired Don Felder.  He sued and the case settled out of court.  There are rumors that they may try to record another album.

For the record, we never broke up.  We just took a 14 year vacation. ~ Glenn Frey

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