"And we would sing right out loud the things we could not say". The previous quote was made by the Eagles (L&M). While Bob Dylan was still writing songs in protest of the war in Vietnam, the Eagles were writing songs that were an influence to both themselves and to society. That is why it is interesting to look at how the laid-back style of the Eagles affected them and their music.
The Eagles expressed their style through their music. For example, the chorus to the 1972 hit song 'Take It Easy', from their first album, Eagles, "Take it easy, take it easy, don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy. Lighten up while you still can, don't even try to understand, just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy". The Eagles have been through some pretty tough times in their career, especially with members coming and going.
The current members of the Eagles are; drummer and percussionist Don Henley, guitarist and pianist Glenn Frey, steel and slide guitarist Don Felder, slide guitarist and organist Joe Walsh, bass guitarist Timothy B. Schmit, and former Eagles are; Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. The Eagles have been labeled to be musicians of many different types of music. When they started, they were considered a county group.
Later they were called a country-rock or bluegrass-rock group. They then broke into rock music with songs like 'Get Over It' and 'Life in the Fastlane'. In 1968, Glenn Frey moved to Los Angeles, California from his home in Detroit, Michigan to begin a singing career (Shapiro 26). Soon after his arrival in California, he met a man named J.D. [John David] Souther. They wrote songs together and even formed a band. In 1969, their band, Longbranch Pennywhistle, released its first album (36). However, the album failed, and in 1970, Frey and Souther went their separate ways (38). After Longbranch Pennywhistle's breakup, Frey wanted to begin a solo career. But he was strongly advised against doing so by David Geffen, future Eagles manager and president of Asylum Records. "He told me [Glenn Frey] point blank that I shouldn't make a record by myself at this point and that maybe I should join a band" (38).
In 1969, Kenny Rogers brought Don Henley and his band Shiloh to Los Angeles, from Texas, and landed them a record deal with Amos Records, the same company that signed Longbranch Pennywhistle (38). According to Henley, the first place he went to when he arrived in LA was a place called the Troubadour. Many musicians of the 1970's started out by playing at the Troubadour. The Troubadour "…was like a café society. It was where everyone met, where everyone got to hear everyone else's act" (40). Actually, the four guys who would make up the Eagles attended the Troubadour on a regular basis; they just didn't know it. Frey and Henley met at the offices of Amos Records, but really got to know each other at the Troubadour. Most of their conversations ended up turning into gripe sessions, where they would complain about members of their bands, what the bands were not accomplishing, and thoughts of their bands breaking up. Then one night in the fall of 1970, "Glenn came up to me one night at the Troubadour and said, 'My group [Longbranch Pennywhistle] is breaking up and I think yours [Shiloh] is too. Do you want to go on the road with Linda Ronstadt and make $200 a week?' I said 'That sounded good to me" says Henley (41).
As the two of them [Frey and Henley] kept talking, Henley figured out Frey's two motives. It turns out that Frey wasn't only searching the Troubadour for Linda Ronstadt's backing band, he was also looking for people who would eventually make up the Eagles (41). Even before they started the Ronstadt tour, Frey had it all planned out. Frey had told Henley that he had a lot of songs written and that he wanted to put a band together (42). They [Glenn and Don] talked about it and decided on trying to get Randy Meisner, who sang backup for Poco at the Troubadour (33), and Bernie Leadon, former member of the Flying Burrito Brothers (30), to join them.
After the initial dates of the Ronstadt tour, Glenn and Don had a meeting with the rest of the Ronstadt band (42). At that meeting, the band decided to let Randy Meisner become part of the band. Randy was excited to have the chance to play with Linda, Glenn, and Don. In fact, he was so excited about the opportunity to play, that when he was on stage playing, his music would be faster than the others, causing disapproving looks from Ronstadt (42).
Bernie Leadon entered Glenn, Don, and Randy's lives in July of 1971. History notes that Bernie was a drunk when he met the three of them. "…During a Ronstadt show in Disneyland, the famous Southern California theme park, he staggered up onstage [drunk] and began playing along with the band uninvited. Since no alcohol is ever served at Walt Disney's Magical Kingdom, this story seems as mythical as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (43).
"Glenn, Don, and Randy had already begun sharing ideas and rehearsing," said Leadon. "I tried it and I liked it. I was really impressed with the material that was presented. The song that I remember most was Frey's 'Most of Us are Sad', a very evocative song. The next day they decided they'd like to work with me, and we went…'Ok, we're a band'. The whole thing happened in two weeks. It was unbelievable" (43).
In August of 1971, Glenn and the others broke the news to Ronstadt and her manager, John Boylan, that they were going out on their own. Both Ronstadt and Boylan gave the band their blessing (44). After they left Ronstadt's backing band, the four guys had an intense two week rehearsal period, that was held in a dollar an hour hall, before presenting themselves to producer David Geffen. "We had it planned," said Frey. "We'd watch bands like Poco and The Burrito Brothers lose their initial momentum. We were determined not to make the same mistakes. We all felt that this was going to be our best shot. Everybody had to look good, sing good, play good, and write good. We wanted it all. Peer respect. AM and FM success. Number one singles and albums, great music and a lot of money. I wanted to make it really bad. I was driven, a man possessed. In a sense I think we were all that way"(44).
When they were finished rehearsing and thought that they were as good as they could be, they went to see Geffen. "We walked in without a demo tape," chuckled Henley at the memory. "Geffen had no idea what we sounded like. It was a great moment. We all kind of sat there, wondering what would happen next, and finally Geffen said yeah" (46). Geffen wasted no time with the Eagles. He immediately gave them a lecture about staying together through thick and thin. Then he bought out the contract that Frey still had with Amos records, from when Longbranch Pennywhistle broke up. Geffen also bought out the publishing rights that Amos had over Frey's songs (46).
When the Eagles first started to perform, they played under the name Teen King and the Emergencies. Teen King and the Emergencies started out by just playing clubs in Colorado. They didn't play any certain type of music. They just played music from their pasts and music that just 'popped' into their heads. They also began playing songs that would eventually sell millions of copies. While the guys were in Colorado, Geffen was looking for a contract for both them and a man by the name of Jackson Browne. One day Geffen was talking with the founder and president of Atlantic Records, but he was reluctant to sign them. He did suggest, however, that Geffen start his own record company.
Geffen took that advice and in 1970, began Asylum Records (48). "Early in 1972, the band returned to LA [from Colorado] and recorded a couple of demo tapes. They also began working at a small Los Angeles studio where a more laid-back, less electric state of mind took over," says Marc Shapiro, in his book, The Long Run (49).
Around this time is also when the band decided on the name, the Eagles. They all wanted a name that had imagery and mythological connotations. While at the same time Frey wanted a name that could be the name of a Detroit street gang, and Henley was "sort of going along with the Indian vibe and all that" (49). They decided on a name that suited what everyone wanted in a name, the Eagles.
In April of 1992, the Eagles went to London, England to work with Glyn Johns, a producer at Olympic Studios. The Eagles weren't thrilled with having to go to London to cut an album. They had little in common with other bands that recorded there. As Randy Meisner said, "It seemed unusual to us. Glenn and I, in particular, didn't like it much at all. We were heavy into the party scene in Los Angeles and, over there, we didn't know anybody. But that was the whole idea…to get us away from the partying so we could get down to work" (51). Glyn Johns and the Eagles agreed that they shouldn't make another country- rock album, so they made a country-rock album with grit (51). When they made the album, Johns made it with a clear idea of the sound he wanted for the Eagles and how he wanted to achieve that sound (52). The Eagles may have had many disagreements with Johns during the recording of this album, but the relationship of the four members couldn't have been better. They had a very strong and very supportive relationship. In May of that same year, the Eagles returned to Los Angeles. When they arrived in LA, they re-recorded the song 'Nightingale', because they were unsatisfied with the recording they made of the song in London (53). The recording sessions for this album were the most easy-going sessions of their whole career. As the Eagles' first album was nearing its June 1972 release date, Randy Meisner saw the obstacles that were ahead for the band. Meisner says that he didn't agree with some of the Eagles' images and he didn't go along with everything that Glenn and Don did, but he is just too shy and too nervous to speak up about it. According to Frey, "He [Meisner] just likes to sit back and do his thing and let Don and I shoot our mouths off and make fools out of ourselves" (53). But don't get the wrong impression of Meisner. He will speak up when something rubs him the wrong way. When the Eagles finished a concert, Meisner would complain long and loudly, about how little the band moved while performing onstage. "I sometimes felt that they didn't know the difference between recording and playing live" said Meisner (54).
When their debut album was released, they got mixed, but mostly positive, responses from critics. Even one of the most difficult to please critics gave a somewhat positive response. Robert Christgau said that the Eagles were "Suave and synthetic. Brilliant but false, and not always brilliant" (54). When musician Danny Korthcmar was asked what he thought of the early Eagles songs, his reply was, "When 'The Eagles' first came out, I thought they were absolutely appalling. I couldn't stand them. They were absolutely terrible! Especially things like 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' and 'Take It Easy'. Because what they were saying was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to hear and what was going on in my life. 'Take It Easy' [sic] was a song about walking down the road in Winslow, Arizona [sic], got seven women on my mind. Here I was, trying to keep my marriage together and this guy's got seven women on his mind! God! It sounded like they were having fun but I sure wasn't" (54). The first Eagles album reached number 22 on the charts during a period of thirty-three weeks. Off of that album came three hit singles; 'Take It Easy', which reached number twelve on the charts, 'Witchy Woman', which made it to number nine, and 'Peaceful Easy Feeling', which came to a halt at number twenty-two. According to Frey, "It wasn't a planned move that we record an album full of singles" (56). During this time, the Eagles were opening acts on tours for bands such as Procol Harum, Jethro Tull, Joe Cocker, and Yes. The set that the Eagles played while opening for the bands consisted of nine songs. However, no one would pay attention to the first six songs, but when the seventh song, 'Take It Easy' started, people would start saying, "That's who they are" (57).
In late 1972, and into 1973, the individual Eagles took some time from their schedules to appear on albums that were being made by their friends. They established a mark for themselves as a band, and now they were working on making a mark for themselves individually. (57-58) In 1972, while Geffen was selling Asylum Records, the Eagles were planning their next album. Their second album, Desperado, focused on The Dalton Gang, who were infamous Wild West outlaws. However, when the Eagles became serious about writing the songs for Desperado, the outlaw song line-up was replaced by a line-up of 100% Old West (60). When Henley reflected back on the album, he said, "The idea of doing 'Desperado' was a reaction to our initial success. We would have these conversations about whether we were just banging our heads against the wall, going up on stage and singing these songs. People seemed to want to see things that would take them away from their everyday lives. But our feeling was that you can escape too much" (60).
As they were writing the songs for Desperado, it became more and more obvious that Glenn and Don were running the show. "Glenn and Don were emerging as the key players at that point. I just didn't [realize] it at the time. My whole idea was that I was a partner in the group and that I wanted to do what was best for all of us. But I was starting to feel like I was being taken advantage of. By the time we started working on 'Desperado', Bernie and I were kind of on the outside. Don and Glenn had already started working on the idea by the time Bernie and I got it. By the time Bernie and I started thinking about what kind of songs we should be writing, we were being told what we should write by Don and Glenn. It was like every area I would start writing in for 'Desperado', Don or Glenn would tell me, 'Well, we've already covered that.' They pretty much had the picture of 'Desperado' in their mind" said Meisner (61-62).
In 1973, the Eagles and their producer Glyn Johns, went back to London to record the 'Desperado' album. The album was completed on time and was released on April 17, 1973. Overall, the album was a failure. Many, including the Eagles, blamed Desperado's failure on David Geffen. At that time, Geffen was more interested in removing Bob Dylan from Columbia Records and signing him to Elektra-Asylum, than he was in supporting the Eagles and being their full-time manager. According to producer Glyn Johns, "The record company was not on the case. Geffen had just taken over at Elektra and was more involved in trying to sign Dylan than putting any kind of support behind the album. It's disgraceful that it wasn't a monster hit album. It should have taken the world by storm" (64). Many people say that 'Desperado' is one of the most overlooked pieces of music. Because of Geffen not supporting the Eagles, he got them a new manager, Irving Azoff. Azoff's first experience with the Eagles wasn't a real good one. "I was in the office one day and the secretary tells me I have to take a call from this raving madman, Glenn Frey. It turns out that the Eagles were leaving for the airport and they were upset because we didn't send limos. Elliot [Roberts] is sitting there, telling me he wants me to tell them to take a cab. So my first experience with the Eagles was being yelled at by Glenn for fifteen minutes on the phone about limos" (65).
In 1973, Geffen became president of Elektra-Asylum Records. By becoming president, Geffen left a lot of trench work for Azoff to complete. Azoff spent more time on the road with the Eagles. Over the years they spent together, their relationship was smooth flowing. "Other than Bernie Leadon, who didn't think it was funny when I crashed into the back of his rental car, everybody thought that everything that was going on was hysterical," said Azoff. "The first three days on the road, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. These guys were out there with 400 girls" (66). However, each member did have their own feelings about Azoff. Like Randy Meisner, "He always seemed real nice but he was sneaky. You never knew what kind of a face he had on when he turned his back on you. I do know that he was always thinking money" (66). And Glenn Frey said, in a mid-70's Rolling Stone interview, "I think it's great to have somebody pounding on a record [company's] desks and saying 'Fuck you! You're not getting another Eagles' album.'" (66).
After the Eagles completed their 'Desperado' tour, which consisted of dates mainly in the United States, with occasional shows in Canada, they began to make their third album. It was during the making of this album that the creative differences began to widen between the band and the producer. "Glenn and I wanted more rock and roll out of it," said Meisner. "And Glyn Johns did not. He wanted more of the pretty vocals kind of thing" (68). The creative differences made the six weeks in London a six weeks of grief that led to an exercise in self-destruction. "They weren't happy with each other, they weren't writing very prolifically and they were finding everything rather difficult," said Johns. "We had six weeks and, at the end of it, we hadn't gotten an awful lot done" (68). During these recording sessions, the fighting over the direction of the Eagles and where they thought they should be heading, reached its boiling point. Those fights marked the beginning of Leadon's leaving. At the end of 1973, the Eagles and Glyn Johns split permanently. While the Eagles were doing a series of concert dates, Irving Azoff played them some tapes that a guitarist known as Joe Walsh made, with producer Bill Szymczyk. Szymczyk then became the new producer for the Eagles. He took them to the Record Plant in LA in early 1974. After listening to them, Szymczyk agreed with their more rock-oriented goals. One of his first moves toward that goal with the Eagles, was to bring in a session guitarist who would impress them so much, he would become the fifth Eagle. That person was Don Felder. Felder was a lot like Randy Meisner. "Felder was a laid-back, easy going chap who was more than willing to let others do the talking" (70). When Don Felder was asked to describe his first day as an Eagle, he said, "I was blown away that a great band like the Eagles would ask me to join in with them. I was thinking 'This is terrific!' Then I got into the studio for 'On the Border'. Bernie was bouncing off the walls. Randy was threatening to quit every week. They had just fired their manager, and producer. I thought, 'What have I done?' Being in the studio was like walking around with a keg of dynamite on your back with the fuse lit and now knowing how long the fuse is" (71).
'On the Border', the Eagles third album, was released on March 22, 1974. The album peaked on the charts at number 17. The first single they had off the album, 'Already Gone', "was a typical easy-going country-rock Eagles' song with the sort of hook line-chorus that screamed AM rotation", but only reached number thirty-two on the charts (74). In November of that year, the Eagles released their third single from the album, 'Best of My Love'. 'Best of My Love' reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 (78). Ever since the recording sessions for the album 'On the Border', the Eagles have had occasional blow-ups. "We've been lucky in the sense that, anytime anybody has gone off, there has usually been at least three guys, we knew the shows would go and the work would go" said Frey (75). The signs of stress and tension were all there. Leadon made a scene in a Holiday Inn coffee shop one morning after a concert, for no apparent reason (75).
In early 1975, the Eagles started to make their third album, 'One of These Nights'. In this album, the band was trying hard to move away from the country rock sound and closer to the rock and roll sound. Bill Szymczyk realized, at that time, that Frey and Henley had already set their standard, which was very high, of playing, singing, and songwriting. "Henley was always the English Lit. Major. The final lyrics always seemed to be his. Until he pronounced the words were done, they weren't done" said Szymczyk (78). That was one thing that made the Eagles take longer and longer to write each of their albums. According to Frey, "The main reason it's taking us longer to do every album is that we just don't have the kind of time to collect ideas anymore. We had the first 20 years to work on the first album and now the media wants something new every six months" (79). Around that time is also when some old sores began gnawing at the band. Frey and Henley wrote many of the songs that made the final cut for the albums. The rivalry between Bernie Leadon and Don Felder was also growing at the time. The fighting got so bad, that Szymczyk's main job became playing referee between Frey, Henley, and the other three. All the fighting was causing Leadon to lose interest in the band and the music at a rapid pace. Then one day, he just snapped. According to Szymczyk, "We were listening to some of the tracks we had done the night before. Bernie was lying on a couch in front of the board and, because the rest of us were at the console, we really couldn't see him. We were trying to decide on which of a bunch of takes to use and everybody seemed to have an opinion. Finally, I asked Bernie what he thought and he got off the couch and said 'I think I'm going surfing'. He got up, walked out of the studio and we didn't see him for three days" (83).
Immediately after their album 'One of these Nights' was released, the Eagles began a massive tour in the United States. Everyone who was connected with the Eagles at that time held their breath while they watched Leadon's dissatisfaction reach a critical stage. Leadon scared everyone when he almost blew off the tour just days before it started. "The night before the tour, Bernie wrote up a will," remembered his then girlfriend, Patti Reagan. "He was supposed to be packing for the tour but he was just sitting there, talking about death by airplane and how if he got on the plane with the rest of the band the next morning he would die. Bernie had been thinking about leaving the Eagles for quite a while and so, with this fear all over him, it seemed as if right then was a good time to leave…" (84). Just three months before Bernie left the Eagles, he said in a Rolling Stone article that his attitude and relationship with the band was going good and he thought that the music was good and worth something. But as it turned out, those good vibes were countered by tempers and continued outbursts by Leadon. Those outbursts lead to a blow up at a southern hotel, near the end of the United States phase of the world tour. "I kept talking to Bernie, trying to convince him to stick it out until the entire tour was over," remembers Meisner. "But this one night he just couldn't take it any more. Glenn was sitting in the hotel bar and, all of a sudden, Bernie walked in, picked up a beer, dumped it over Glenn's head and walked out. That was it. Bernie just quit" (85). Leadon officially left the band on December 20, 1975. The official explanation of his leaving was increasing dissatisfaction with the musical direction. Bernie left right as the Eagles were about to begin their long European tour. They could have cancelled that tour, but canceling was not their style. The Eagles heard a demo tape of Joe Walsh before Don Felder came into the group.
They wanted him. They needed him. They talked to Walsh shortly before Leadon left and Walsh told them that if Bernie left, to give him a call. He was interested. Ten days after Bernie played his last song with the Eagles; it was announced that Joe Walsh had joined the band. When Joe was ready, the band wasted no time in starting the tour up again. They picked up in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The 1976 concert tours were designed mainly to work Walsh into the act, and to relieve some of the pressure of recording 'Hotel California'. When they started to work on 'Hotel California', Meisner noticed that the time spent on the album was based primarily on Don and Glenn's schedules instead of everyone else's (97). Szymczyk agreed with Meisner. Frey and Henley were the "chief nit pickers". Szymczyk said that, "They would not leave something alone until they were a hundred percent satisfied with it. It could sometimes take two or three days to get a verse or a chorus or a guitar part to where they were satisfied with it. Then a week later we'd hit the record button and do it all over again" (97). Henley and Frey both claimed that they strived for perfection and just wanted to get things right, that's why they would take so long. The dissatisfaction with the way that Glenn and Don were handling things got so great that after a grueling session one night, Don Felder and Joe Walsh showed up at Randy Meisner's house. "They were so mad at Don and Glenn. They said, 'They're just ruining everything and we don't like it'." (98).
Finally, in October of 1976, 'Hotel California' was completed. It reached the stores just in time for Christmas. 'Hotel California' did better than what was expected. It hit the top of the charts in January of 1977, and stayed there almost consistently for eight weeks. It stayed on the charts for sixty-three weeks. With the album being such a big success, silenced the people who have criticized the Eagles efforts as just reflecting the laid-back Californian lifestyle. "If you only listen to this album a few times its going to sound like we're just singing about California," said Frey. "But we're not. We're using California as a microcosm for the rest of the world. California is merely an example that everybody holds up to the light because California is simply the last frontier" (100). The album 'Hotel California' made the Eagles big. So big that when a friend of the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, opened for them at Madison Square Garden in March of 1977, he played a forty minute set, in front of a crowd that only wanted the Eagles (Eng 183). On March 14, 1977, the Eagles began a one month long tour of the United States, which was followed by concerts in Japan and Australia. They returned in May of that year, just in time to start a series of outdoor concerts. It was during these concerts that the Eagles hit trouble. Nerves were frayed and tempers began to flare. Arguments that started out good-natured quickly turned into real anger. Many times after these arguments, the band would sit down and talk their way through it. But that didn't always work for Randy Meisner. According to him, the stress was still there, and it was getting worse. As Meisner recalls, after a third encore in Knoxville, Tennessee, "We had just come offstage and I was beat, stressed out and I had the flu and I was just plain grumpy. We had done our third encore and I was ready to pack it in for the night when, all of a sudden, the band decides to go out again. I said 'God! We've already done three encores and I don't feel well.' Glenn got right up in my face and called me a pussy and I just snapped and took a swing at him. There were police backstage and they grabbed me. Glenn grabbed up a towel, wiped his sweaty face on it and just threw it in my face. I said 'That's it'. I quit the band for all intents and purposes that night. But I went ahead and finished the rest of the US tour and that second trip back to Europe. My last days as an Eagle were pure hell. Nobody was talking to me" (Shapiro 103).
In 1977, after Meisner left, Frey called up Timothy B. Schmit, who he knew from his days with Longbranch Pennywhistle. Frey offered Schmit the chance to become an Eagle, and Schmit jumped at the chance. When Schmit joined the flock, Frey and Henley were already thinking about their next album. Also in 1977, the band once again showed up individually on other people's albums. On March 9, 1978, the Eagles stepped back into the recording studio to start the album 'The Long Run'. They initially decided to make 'The Long Run' a double album, but some distractions prevented that from happening. Especially the softball game that was held between the Eagles and the editorial staff of Rolling Stone magazine. If the Eagles lost the game, they would have to submit an interview with a magazine that consistently dismissed the band. Fortunately for the Eagles, the score was Eagles 15-Rolling Stone 8 (110).
The recording sessions were once again postponed in July of 1978, when the band went on a Canadian tour. There were other reasons why 'The Long Run' took so long to cut. "For example, Glenn and Don would bring in the chord changes and rhythm of a song without having done the lyrics. When you cut a track and don't have any idea what the song's about, it's difficult to take an attitude about the tune. So a musician naturally tends to treat it standoffishly. With the Eagles, a lot of times a track was recorded before it was completely written in hopes that the rest of the band would give feedback and help develop it. And that ended up taking time" (112).
On September 1, 1979, at 5:26 a.m., 'The Long Run', the last Eagles studio album, was completed (116). The album was released on September 22. The album went to number one on the charts and stayed there for nine weeks. Both 'I Can't Tell You Why' and 'The Long Run' reached number 8 on the charts. But the major hit of the album was Glenn Frey's 'Heartache Tonight'. 'Heartache Tonight reached number one on the charts and was certified gold in February of 1980 (116).
After a show in Miami, Florida, Henley said, "I never thought we'd get this far. It looked for a while like we were going to break up every year until the people who were threatening to leave the band did leave. To tell the truth I am getting tired. Sometimes I feel like quitting one day and then I feel like going on forever the next day. Personally I think we can sustain this level for at least one or two more albums; at least a concert album and a studio album. What I think I'd like to do is make a really great studio album, maybe even a double album, to go out on. I'd like to go out gracefully rather than wait until it starts going down" (119).
Unofficially, the Eagles broke up after a concert in 1980, at Long Beach, California. The Eagles were doing a benefit concert for Senator Alan Cranston, to help him in his financial behalf. But backstage before the concert, the final fuse was lit. "What did you say?" yelled Frey, who was turning to confront Felder. Frey felt that Felder had insulted the senator and that he need to confront him about it. Before that scene could get any uglier, the rest of the band separated the two men. The Master of Ceremonies and a thunderous applause then introduced them. The Eagles played a set of greatest hits, songs that have defined and shaped the attitudes of the seventies. While the Democrats loved it, the battle lines were being drawn on stage as the set was nearing its end. Frey remembers, "We were on stage and Felder looks back at me and says 'Only three more songs until I kick your ass pal.' And I'm saying 'Great! I can't wait.' We were out there singing 'Best of My Love' but inside both of us were thinking, 'As soon as this is over, I'm gonna kill him…" (12). As soon as the set was over, and they were backstage, Frey was in Felder's face. They were screaming at each other and Felder even slammed his guitar against the wall, breaking the guitar into splinters. "For me it ended in Long Beach, California," said Frey later. "That was when I knew I had to get out." The Eagles only continued in name until May of 1982 when Irving Azoff announced the official split of the band. Azoff claimed that, "Frey and Henley [realized] they didn't need the group any more and that they could make great solo records" (13). After that, the Eagles only met again in the same recording studio to be in music videos for their tribute album, 'Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles'.
However, that was not the last time they played together. In 1994, they got together for a tour, the Hell Freezes Over tour. It was called that because after they broke up, whenever they were asked when or if they would get back together, they would always respond with 'when hell freezes over'. During the concerts in the tour, the Eagles would tell bits and pieces about the time they had apart. As Glenn Frey puts it, "We never really broke up, we just took a 14 year vacation" (Hell Freezes Over).
In 1998, the Eagles were nominated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. At the inductions, which were held on VH1, they played two of their greatest hits, 'Hotel California' and 'Take It Easy'. This was the first time ever, that all seven members, old and new, were signing together, and actually happy while doing so. During their induction speech, Glenn Frey said "…And a lot has been talked about and speculated about over the past 27 years about whether or not we got along. We got along fine; we just disagreed a lot. Tell me one worthwhile relationship that has not had peaks and valleys." (Hall of Fame Induction).
During an online interview with Danielle Echols, I asked her how she felt that the laid-back style of the Eagles affected them and their music. Her response was "In the 70's groups like them were few and far between, it seems to me rarely in history even, did a band surface with so much sensitivity in their writing. All the guys are so different from each other, yet they blend together so well, and their easy-going attitude (most of the time that is) just seems to help it all come together. I'm sure there were periods when the guys were uptight and moody just like everyone else, but the most wonderful thing about their writing to me is the fact that they never let it show up in their songs. At times there was sadness and longing, and a wistfulness that practically everyone can appreciate, but never did the tension between the group show up in their writing. They always stuck to business and got the job done, with flying colors. I'm fairly sure it was a mutual decision to split up in 1980, and even then they finished The Long Run beautifully and parted gracefully in public most of the time. I guess the point that I'm trying to get across is that through it all, even now, the Eagles have remained consistent in their work, and laid-back in their style." That is why it is interesting to look at how the laid-back style of the Eagles affected them and their music. It also goes to show that not all good things have to come to an end. The Eagles have been an influence to many people from different generations, and their music will continue to do so. I guess hell froze over.