I had a chance yesterday to watch The new Eagles documentary on Showtime. The doc chronicles the rise, the breakup, and the eventual reunion of the iconic band over the last 40+ years they’ve been in existence. I’ve always liked The Eagles, and it was cool to see all the different players that made up the band, stories of Joe Walsh trashing hotel rooms, and why different members left etc.. Some of the best parts of the doc though are the explanations and history of how they wrote or came about developing some of their best songs. Hotel California’s guitar riff was originally written by Don Felder, with the lyrics added later by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, and the ending was embellished by Joe Walsh playing off Felder. The song, “Life in the Fastlane”, was originally developed by Joe Walsh doing a warm up strum on his guitar, which led to the band wanting to create a song based upon the riff. The song, “Seven Bridges road”, inspired the Eagles producer Glyn Johns to direct the band into songs that showcased their vocal harmony. The other interesting aspect of The Eagles is that most of the tension in the band wasn’t solely because of personal relationships, but mostly about what direction each of the band members wanted to go with the music…Bernie Leadon, who was one of The Eagles original lead guitar players wanted the band to stay with their country roots, and didn’t want them to become a full-tilt rock band. This disagreement caused a lot of problems with the band and eventually led to Leadon leaving The Eagles for good. Randy Meisner was unsure of his singing ability, even though he could hit the really high notes on Take it To The Limit, his most popular song with the band. He also had 3 children, which put a ton of stress on him with all of the Eagles touring etc…Eventually, Meisner left the band and hasn’t come back even in their reunion incarnation. Don Felder and Joe Walsh fought with Glenn Frey and Don Henley over who would sing in certain songs, or what songs would get put on the albums in the late 70′s and the band just got burned out with all the fighting, touring and of course drugs. They broke up right before the 1980′s, only to finally return with the live album “Hell Freezes over” in the mid 90′s. Overall The Eagles documentary is definitely worth watching, it gives a really honest account of the band, I give it 4 out of 5 stars and if you are lucky enough to have Showtime definitely check it out on demand or on a re-airing if you can. Also, If you ever get a chance to see the band live, do it; The Eagles are one of the best classic rock touring acts that are still around. Joe Walsh, Don Henley and Glenn Frey also perform solo here and there,and a few years back Don Henley did a tour with Stevie Nicks. Comments welcome about the doc or the band!
Pictures of The Eagles throughout the years
The Eagles in 1978 featuring from left to right…Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmitt, Don Henley, and Don Felder
The Eagles in concert during their reunion in 1994
Eagles during a Wells Fargo Center concert, on their 2008 tour