This quartet was formed in Los Angeles in 1971, by musicians from Linda Ronstadt’s backup group. Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Glen Frey, and Don Henley made up this most talented group called The Eagles. Each member contributed talent and prestige gained from other music sources. The original Eagles played only once together as a live unit backing Ronstadt; they played a concert at Disneyland. They all appeared on a Ronstadt album in 1971. She encouraged them to form their own band. They had been individually involved with country music, rock music, and contemporary music. Such prestigious interests in the music world, and the combined talents assured The Eagles an immediate contract with Asylum Records.
The debut album, “The Eagles” was recorded in London, and contained “Take It Easy”, and “Witchy Woman”. The lyrics to “Take It Easy” were written by Jackson Browne, his work had stalled for lack of a second verse. Glen Frey added the lyrics for the second verse. Both of these songs reached the Top 20, and established the quartet’s meticulous harmonies and relaxed sound of country music blended with rock music.
The album called “Desperado” proved that the band were leaders in their field. It contained several of their most famous compositions. The title track left its mark in the rock field, country music field, and the contemporary field. Some of the songs on “Desperado” showcased the writing abilities of Frey and Henley. Combining their lyrics, they wrote eight of the eleven songs on the album. Frey and Henley continued to provide lyrics for The Eagles, and by doing so, seemed to turn the focus away from Leadon and Meisner. Henley and Frey wanted the band to get away from the country music style they were known for. They wanted to move into hard-rock.
A new member was recruited to bolster the sound of The Eagles; Don Felder was added to the group making them a Quintet. The Eagles then released an album called “One of These Nights”. With this album, The Eagles gained superstar status, and the title track topped the charts. This album further displayed the colossal talents of the Henley/Frey songwriting team. Their lyrics permeated this album. The platinum-selling album included the big hits “Lyin’ Eyes”, and “Take It to the Limit”. The newfound pressure proved too much for Bernie Leadon, and he left the lineup in 1975 to pursue a low-key career. “Lyin’ Eyes” won a Grammy Award for The Eagles. “One of These Nights was #1 on the Billboard chart.
The replacement for Leadon was Joe Walsh. The choice proved to be the right one; “Hotel California” topped the album charts for eight weeks and spawned two No 1 singles. The Eagles only recorded one album in 1978. “Please Come Home for Christmas” was a seasonal recording for The Eagles. The following year, Randy Meisner left the group, and was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit. “The Long Run” album was regarded as disappointing, even though it gave them their fifth No 1 hit. A temporary break up at the end of the decade became a complete break in 1982, when long standing disagreements could not be resolved.
In the mid 90s, the band reformed, after months of speculation. The result was an album called “Hell Freezes Over”, and proof that they were still one of the world’s most popular groups. Their tour of 1994-1995 of the U.S. was (apart from the Rolling Stones parallel tour) the largest grossing on record. “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975” is the biggest selling album of all time, with 28 million units sold in the U.S. alone.
In 1993, country music artists collaborated on a tribute to The Eagles with an album called “Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles”. Travis Tritt convinced the members of The Eagles to join him in the video for “Take it Easy”. Other country music artists joined the tribute.
In 1998 The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A 4-CD box-set, “Selected Works 1972-1999” was issued in 2000. Felder left the band in 2001 and filed suit against the other members for wrongful termination. Felder’s replacement was Steuart Smith. A 2-disc collection was released in 2003, called “The Very Best of the Eagles”.
The Eagles released a 2 DVD set in 2005 titled “Farewell 1 Tour-Live from Melbourne” ‘A special edition was made exclusive to Wal-Mart in 2006, included a bonus audio CD with three new songs.
In 2007, The Eagles made their debut at the awards show, by performing “How Long” live at the Country Music Association Awards. The Eagles won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. This was the band’s fifth Grammy Award.
It was announced in March 2010 that The Eagles will be touring jointly with the Dixie Chicks and Keith Urban in a stadium tour scheduled for the summer of 2010, for North America. The Eagles opened the tour on Friday, April 16, 2010, at the Hollywood Bowl.
Although The Eagles are technically a rock band, their music has transcended boundaries of music. It is enjoyed by country music fans, rock fans, and fans of other genres.