The classic lineup, 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 original group featured singer/guitarist/pianist Glenn Frey, guitarist/singer Don Felder, guitarist/singer Bernie Leadon, bassist/singer Randy Meisner, and drummer/singer 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 superstardom around 1974, former solo guitarist Joe Walsh joined in 1975 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
. 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." Felder would later quit the group and sue 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 cred 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 lineup 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.
- Glenn Frey - Lead & backing vocals, rhythm guitar, piano
- Joe Walsh - Lead guitar, lead & backing vocals
- Timothy B. Schmit - Bass, lead & backing vocals
- Don Henley - Drums, lead & backing vocals
- Eagles (1972): Their first album, where the country rock roots show up best. Popular songs include "Take It Easy" and "Witchy Woman".
- Desperado (1973): A concept album centering on The Wild West, notably the outlaw gangs thereof. "Desperado" and "Tequila Sunrise" are perhaps the only songs people remember from this album.
- On the Border (1974): Introduced guitarist Don Felder.
- One of These Nights (1975): Included a couple of still-popular tunes and the unnoticed-at-the-time instrumental Journey of the Sorcerer, which went on to become the theme tune to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) (1976): Their first greatest hits album. The third best-selling album of all time, behind only Thriller and The Dark Side of the Moon.
- Hotel California (1976): Eagles' most famous album, and one of the most well-respected albums of rock. This album more than any other concerns itself with the concept of the American Dream. Joe Walsh joined the group in time for this album, and his guitar work helped push them firmly into the aforementioned "more mainstream" direction.
- The Long Run (1979): Eagles' last album before their
breakup fourteen year vacation.
- Hell Freezes Over (1994): Included four new studio tracks combined with 11 live recordings from their reunion show.
- Long Road Out of Eden (2007): A double album of new material; the title track is ten minutes of awesome.