Music / Eagles

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Eaglesold_4489.jpg
Eagles, circa 1976. From left to right: Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Don Felder, Glenn Frey and Randy Meisner

"The theme of all our albums is looking for it, whether it be a woman, or peace of mind, or satisfaction, or success, riches or happiness, or any of that."
Don Henley

One of the definitive bands of the American 1970s, and the group behind many of Classic Rock's most iconic hits - "Hotel California", "Life in the Fast Lane", and "Heartache Tonight", to name a few.

They started as a backup band for Linda Ronstadt; the band consisting of guitarists Glenn Frey and Bernie Leadon, bassist Randy Meisner and drummer Don Henley. She noticed that they worked well together, then encouraged them to go on their own. They started out as a country rock group before moving on to more mainstream sounds and dropping members; Eagles found their way to super-stardom around 1974 - the year guitarist Don Felder joined. In 1975, Leadon quit, and was replaced by former James Gang guitarist Joe Walsh, and the band would reach their greatest success with the 1976 release of their album Hotel California. Many of their songs revolve around or at least touch upon the ugly side of The American Dream that nobody talks about, which the band members felt they knew quite a lot about by the middle part of their career. Possibly worth noting is that their first Greatest Hits Album was the best selling album in United States history for over three decades, and its status only changed because Michael Jackson died. Randy Meisner quit in 1977, replaced by Timothy B. Schmit (who also replaced Meisner in Poco). The band broke up following an infamous concert in July 1980 that featured Frey and Felder threatening each other throughout the performance. Each of the members went on (or in Walsh's case, back) to a solo career, although Henley and Frey were the most successful.

It is also worth noting that at their "Hell Freezes Over" reunion tour, Glenn Frey quipped "For the record, we never broke up; we just took a fourteen year vacation." However, disagreements between Frey, Henley, and Felder would result in the latter's firing in 2001 and subsequent lawsuits against Frey and Henley. Eagles officially reunited to release their first new album in 28 years, 2007's Long Road Out of Eden and have spent much of the time since on tour.

Their instrumental space-country-rock song "Journey of the Sorcerer" (from the album One of These Nights) is famous for being used as the theme song for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Although Eagles are not primarily considered a country music act, the band has loads of credibility in that department. Three of the band's singles have been top 40 country hits, and Long Road out of Eden was the best-selling country album of 2008. In addition, Eagles' trademark use of layered harmonies has shown up in a very large number of country music bands, from 80's mainstream groups Alabama and Restless Heart, to more recent acts like Alison Krauss & Union Station and Diamond Rio. In 1993, several country singers joined forces to record a tribute album called Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles; Travis Tritt's decision to include the 1980 line-up in the video for his cover of "Take It Easy" is said to have been a catalyst in the band's 1994 reunion. In addition, Henley recorded two duets with country superstar Trisha Yearwood. The band's mix of country and rock has also had an obvious influence on modern ocuntry adopting rock influences as well.

On January 18, 2016, Glenn Frey died while recovering from surgery, at the age of 67. After the band took part in a moving tribute performance with Jackson Browne at that year's Grammy Awards, Don Henley stated the band was more or less over... but shortly afterwards, it was announced that the band would continue to perform, with Glenn's son Deacon taking over his father's role.


Principal members (Founding members in bold, current members in italic):

  • Don Felder - guitar, backing and lead vocals, organ, mandolin (1974–80, 1994-2001)
  • Glenn Frey - lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboard, piano, harmonium, synthesizer, bass (1971–80, 1994–2016, died 2016)
  • Don Henley - lead vocals, drums, percussion, guitar, tabla, keyboard (1971–80, 1994–present)
  • Bernie Leadon - guitar, backing and lead vocals, mandolin, banjo (1971–75)
  • Randy Meisner - bass, backing and lead vocals, guitar, guitarrón (1971–77)
  • Timothy B. Schmit - bass, backing and lead vocals (1977–80, 1994–present)
  • Joe Walsh - guitar, backing and lead vocals, keyboard, organ (1975–80, 1994–present)


Studio and Live Discography:

  • 1972 - Eagles
  • 1973 - Desparado
  • 1974 - On The Border
  • 1975 - One Of These Nights
  • 1976 - Hotel California
  • 1979 - The Long Run
  • 1980 - Eagles Live
  • 1994 - Hell Freezes Over
  • 2005 - Farewell 1 Tour - Live From Melbourne
  • 2007 - Long Road Out Of Eden


Tropes present:

  • The Alcoholic: Walsh. "I only got drunk once, for thirty years."
  • Bittersweet Ending: The main theme of "After The Thrill Is Gone" (What can you do when your dreams come true / And it's not quite like you planned?)
  • Casting Couch: "King Of Hollywood".
  • Concept Album: Desperado, about the Wild West.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Hotel California.
  • Crapsack World: several of their songs, but "Life in the Fast Lane" is probably the harshest.
  • Cue the Flying Pigs: After repeatedly stating that they would only re-form "when Hell froze over," when they finally put the band back together, they titled the resulting live album Hell Freezes Over.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first two albums had a more bluegrass-inflected style courtesy of Bernie Leadon rather than the Arena Rock sound they developed later.
  • Ensemble Cast: Straight and averted - they began with the concept of splitting everything (almost) equally, but by the end it was obvious that Glenn Frey and Don Henley dominated the songwriting and singing, not to mention decision making. One of Frey's conditions for the band's reunion in 1994 was that he and Henley should make more money, as he saw the band not as 'the musketeers' but as a sports team where all the players are important but some are more important than others. That caused a lot of tension with Don Felder and ultimately led to the latter's firing from the group.
    • Not to mention that, in terms of lead vocals, Don Henley gained more and more importance as the years went by: on their eponymous debut album, he sang two tracks out of ten (Leadon sang two as well, Frey and Meisner three each); four years later, on 'The Long Run', Henley sang more lead vocals than all of his bandmates put together (4-1-1-1-0, respectively, plus one instrumental).
  • Freudian Excuse: In "Get Over It":
    Victim of this, victim of that,
    Your momma's too thin and your daddy's too fat.
  • Funny Afro: Don Henley sported one in The '70s.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Their first, released in 1976 and covering their pre-Hotel California output, is one of the best-selling albums of all time.
  • Green Aesop: "The Last Resort".
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Their "Selected Works" collection included a number of these, including Joe Walsh's absurd vocal impressions and improvisations, Henley experimenting with various ways of expressing boredom, and short (improvised) songs about broken toes and the Pope's speculative ability to boogie.
  • Inn of No Return / Hell Hotel: "Hotel California".
  • Lampshade Hanging: When the group broke up in 1980, Henley said in an interview that they'd get back together "when Hell freezes over." Guess what they called the reunion album.
    • Their first major tour after the reunion was called "Farewell One."
  • Lead Drummer: Don Henley, by virtue of being lead vocalist for more songs than anyone else in the group. His picture is the one at the top of the trope page.
  • Lesser Star: Don Felder believes he became one since the reunion. See Ensemble Cast.
  • Live Album: Eagles Live, Hell Freezes Over, Farewell 1 Tour–Live from Melbourne.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: Frey, Henley, Walsh, and Schmit passed the 10-year threshold in February 2011, the ten year anniversary of their booting of Don Felder from the group.
  • Loudness War: The 1999 remasters of the Eagles catalogue, being mastered by Ted Jensen of Death Magnetic infamy, are slightly compressed, but still have their dynamics in place. Completely averted by Long Road Out of Eden.
  • Love Triangle: The storyline of "Lyin' Eyes".
  • Mind Screw: The lyrics of "Hotel California" constantly keep you just slightly confused about what exactly is going on. Even the band isn't really sure what its about: according to Don Henley, the song is about the problems one encounters when you spend your life seeking fame and suddenly get it; Frey says its about slowly losing one's hopes and dreams as life wears you down; Walsh says its about both; and when he was asked, Schmit famously shrugged his shoulders and said, "How the fuck should I know, man..."note 
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: The songs on The Long Run run from blue-eyed soul, hard rock, funk and even Steely Dan-esque jazz rock.
  • Never My Fault: In "Get Over It":
    I turn on the tube, and what do I see?
    A whole lot of people crying, "Don't blame me."
    They point their crooked little fingers at everybody else,
    Spend all their time feeling sorry for themselves.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with Don Henley and Don Felder.
  • Playing Card Motifs: From "Desperado":
    Don't you draw the queen of diamonds, boy. She'll beat you if she's able. You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Journey of the Sorcerer" was used as the theme for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in its various incarnations.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Get Over It" is an entire song that is just one such speech.
  • Rousing Speech: Do Something
  • Sad Clown: Joe Walsh. He admitted that most of his zany antics were his way of dealing with a lot of the difficult elements in his life.
  • Shout-Out: To Steely Dan in Hotel California:
    "They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast."
    • Steely Dan themselves made a shout out to Eagles in their song "Everything You Did": "Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening."
  • Shout-Out: To Shakespeare: "Get Over It"
    The more I think about it old Billy was right/Let's kill all the lawyers, kill 'em tonight.
  • Step Up to the Microphone / Vocal Tag Team: Frey and Henley were the most prolific songwriters; The latter usually sang lead, with the former taking the lead once or twice an album on the songs they wrote together. Other band members would typically write one song per album, on which they would sing lead. Don Felder sang lead exactly one time, on "Visions" off of One of These Nights, which he co-wrote with Henley.
  • Take That!: "I would like to dedicate this song... to Mr. Rupert Murdoch!"
  • The "The" Title Confusion: The band's name is "Eagles". Not "The Eagles", just "Eagles".
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Hole In The World" has a classic example.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Don Henley and Glenn Frey. The song "The Long Run" is partially about their fractured friendship.
    • Vitriolic Best Buds: How their relationship until Frey's death could probably be best described. Don Felder and the current lineup, however...
  • Wham Line: "Hotel California" has the famous "You can check out any time you like/But you can never leave".


Alternative Title(s): The Eagles

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Music/Eagles