Eagles…An Appreciation & Look Back

Since the Eagles stopped recording studio albums in 2007, and are on their final tour, it’s time to consider their artistic contributions to America and the world.

The Eagles’ music has been so popular over the years, that it’s sometimes taken for granted instead of appreciated the way it should be.  Here’s a layout of the Eagles’ studio albums released in the 1970s.  As a reminder of which albums produced which hits, the top songs from each album are noted.  (Click to enlarge.)

Seeing these Eagles songs in a single playlist shows why their Greatest Hits album is the best-selling album of all time.  The #1 hits, Top-10 hits, and Grammy winners are noted.

  1. Take It Easy
  2. Peaceful Easy Feeling
  3. Witchy Woman (#9)
  4. Desperado
  5. Tequila Sunrise
  6. (Whatever Happened To) Saturday Night
  7. Already Gone
  8. Best Of My Love (#1)
  9. On The Border
  10. Lyin’ Eyes (#2 Grammy-Best Pop Performance)
  11. One Of These Nights (#1)
  12. Take It To The Limit (#4)
  13. Hotel California (#1 Grammy-Record of the Year)
  14. New Kid In Town (#1 Grammy-Best Vocal Arrangement)
  15. Life In The Fast Lane
  16. Heartache Tonight (#1 Grammy-Best Rock Performance)
  17. The Long Run (#8)
  18. I Can’t Tell You Why (#8)

We’ve been listening to these songs since the 70s.  They still hold up today, because of the quality of the songwriting, performing, and recording.

(Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Don Henley, & Glenn Frey)

The original four Eagles were responsible for the first two albums, and country-rock songs 1-through-6 above.  All four members were talented vocalists who could sing lead & harmony.  Intricate harmonies were a big part of the group’s identity.   The Eagles wanted to move to more of a rock sound, and they added Don Felder on lead guitar prior to their 1974 album On The Border.  Leaning more to rock was the right move, because it gave the band more airplay on Rock and Top-40 radio stations.

Bernie Leadon, who played guitar, banjo, and mandolin, left the band in 1975, because he wanted to stick with a more country sound.  It’s important to note that the band still incorporated country elements in their songs, received some airplay on country stations, and influenced a lot of country artists.  Leadon was replaced by Joe Walsh, a successful solo artist and impressive guitarist.  Walsh became an important part of the 1976 album Hotel California.

Hotel California is recognized as one of the best albums of all time, both from an artistic standpoint, and as a sales juggernaut.  In fact, it’s the  third-best-selling album in history.

To appreciate how special the Eagles were, try to name the second-best country-rock band.  There really is no one close.  Even though country-rock is an accepted genre of music, similar bands only had scattered hits and limited success in that form of music.  However, because of the Eagles, country artists added more rock-style guitar into their songs.

By 1980, the pressures of stardom, the striving to maintain their success, and egos within the band caused a breakup that lasted 14 years.  It’s not that the Eagles retired, instead they provided more good music with solo careers.  Those recordings are seldom looked at together, but here’s a list of songs members created outside the Eagles.

  1. The Boys Of Summer…Don Henley
  2. All Those Lies…Glenn Frey
  3. Funk #49…Joe Walsh (with James Gang, pre-Eagles)
  4. Dirty Laundry…Don Henley
  5. The One You Love…Glenn Frey
  6. Rocky Mountain Way…Joe Walsh (pre-Eagles)
  7. Hearts On Fire…Randy Meisner
  8. The End Of The Innocence…Don Henley
  9. You Belong To The City…Glenn Frey
  10. All Night Long…Joe Walsh
  11. Sunset Grill…Don Henley
  12. Smuggler’s Blues…Glenn Frey
  13. Help Me Through The Night…Joe Walsh (with Eagles backing)
  14. The Last Worthless Evening…Don Henley
  15. Life’s Been Good…Joe Walsh
  16. Heart Of The Matter…Don Henley

These recordings would make another “Greatest Hits” album, and are part of the Eagles’ legacy.  Many of these songs have been featured during Eagles concerts.

Don Henley had two albums, Building The Perfect Beast & The End Of The Innocence, that had sales similar to Eagles albums…3-times platinum and 6-times platinum.

(Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, & Don Felder)

When the Eagles reformed in 1994 (pictured above), they released the live album Hell Freezes Over.  It also contained four studio recordings, including “Get Over It” and “Love Will Keep Us Alive”.  America was happy to have the Eagles back, and the album went 9-times platinum.

It wasn’t until 2007 when we finally got another studio album.

Long Road Out Of Eden was a double album, and a huge success, even though it came 28-years after their previous studio album.  It was the Eagles’ sixth consecutive #1 album, went 7-times platinum, and was the biggest-selling album of 2007.  Featured tracks included “No More Walks In The Woods”, “How Long” (a Grammy winner), “Busy Being Fabulous”, “No More Cloudy Days”, “What Do I Do With My Heart”, and the instrumental “I Dreamed There Was No War” (a Grammy winner).  If the titles are not as familiar as their 1970’s hits, that’s because of the shift in radio formats, with far fewer stations featuring rock music.

Now, the Eagles are leaving us with one final tour that will probably have a long run…from September of 2023 and into 2025.

It ‘s a great line-up with three Eagles from the 70s, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit, plus Vince Gill and Deacon Frey, who’s helping fill in for his father, Glenn, who died in 2016 of medical complications.

Here’s a final summary of the output of America’s most popular band.  It’s the Eagles’ nine studio albums (including their two greatest hits albums) placed in chronological order, and at the bottom are their three live albums.

What a great career…still going after more than half-a-century!

Update (July 27th, 2023)  Original Eagles bassist and high harmony singer Randy Meisner passed away at the age of 77 on July 26th, 2023 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  Meisner recorded with Poco and Rick Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band before helping found the Eagles.  He was on all of their studio albums through Hotel California.  The biggest hit Randy Meisner had as a songwriter and lead singer for the band was “Take It To The Limit”.

Extra:  I admit that when it comes to my favorite artists, I too often rebuy their recordings in various forms.

I bought the 4-CD box set on the left when it came out in 2000.  It had most of their recordings, but grouped their ballads and rockers separately.  It also had their “Millennium Concert”.  The small box set on the right was a 2013 CD collection of their six 1970s studio albums.  Each CD is in a cardboard sleeve that matches the original album cover.  Those six CD covers are next to each other in the first photo of this article (the one with the songs superimposed).  

2 Replies to “Eagles…An Appreciation & Look Back”

  1. I cannot thank you enough for compiling all this and sharing it. I often wonder the “details” and “dates” of this awesome musical group. I’m 70 and have followed them for a long time! Thank you again!

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