were among the most successful rock groups of the '70s,
and their blend of country, folk, and rock continues to
sell well in catalog. The group's four original members
were Los Angeles session and group veterans assembled by
producer John Boylan in 1970 as backup musicians for Linda
Ronstadt on her Silk Purse album. They then served as her
backup band for two years. The four were Glenn Frey (b.
Nov. 6, 1948), guitarist; Bernie Leadon (b. Jul. 19, 1947),
who played banjo and mandolin; Randy Meisner (b. Mar. 8,
1948) on bass; and Don Henley (b. Jul. 22, 1947) on drums.
All four sang, though Henley and Frey took most leads. Signed
to Ronstadt's label, Asylum, they issued their first album,
The Eagles, in June 1972. It was a moderate hit (going gold
a year and a half later) and produced the Top 40 hits "Take
It Easy" (written by Frey and Jackson Browne), "Witchy Woman",
and "Peaceful Easy Feeling".
1971 in Los Angeles, CA
second Eagles LP, a semi-concept album called Desperado
(1973) that emphasized an "outlaw" image, was somewhat
less successful. For their third album, On the Border
(1974), the group added guitarist Don Felder. This was
a breakthrough record, going gold in three months and
producing the #1 hit "Best of My Love", which didn't top
the charts until almost a year after the album's release,
just in time to set up their fourth album. One of These
Nights (1975), the first of four straight albums to top
the charts, featured the title track, "Lyin' Eyes", and
"Take It to the Limit", both Top Ten hits.
Eagles released a greatest-hits album in 1976 (it now
stands at 14 million sales, the best-selling hits record
of all time) and suffered the loss of Leadon, who was
replaced by former James Gang leader Joe Walsh (b. Nov.
20, 1947). At the end of the year, they released Hotel
California, which has now sold nine million copies. Its
hits included the ominous title track, "New Kid in Town",
and "Life in the Fast Lane".
1977, Meisner left the band and was replaced by former
Poco member Timothy B. Schmit (b. Oct. 30, 1947). It took
the Eagles until the fall of 1979 to complete The Long
Run, another million-seller, featuring the chart-topper
"Heartache Tonight" and Top Ten successes in the title
track and "I Can't Tell You Why". The next year saw the
release of a live album, but by 1981 the Eagles had split
up. All five members have since released solo albums,
the most successful of which have been by Henley and Frey.
1994, the Eagles reunited for a summer stadium tour and
recorded an album as part of an appearance on the TV show
MTV Unplugged that featured several new songs. The resulting
album, Hell Freezes Over, was released in November of
1994; it debuted at number one and sold over five million
copies by June of 1995.
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