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Eagles – Dirty Laundry – Live Performance


The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. With five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards and six number one albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California, were ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the United States according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and the band was ranked number 75 on the magazine’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.[2]

They are one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, having sold more than 150 million records[3]—100 million in the U.S. alone—including 42 million copies of Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and 32 million copies of Hotel California. They are the fifth-highest-selling music act and highest-selling American band in U.S. history. No American band sold more records than the Eagles during the 1970s.

The Eagles released their self-titled debut album in 1972, which spawned three top 40 singles: “Take It Easy,” “Witchy Woman” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” Their next album, Desperado (1973), was less successful than the first, reaching only number 41 on the charts; neither of its singles reached the top 40. However, the album contained two of the band’s most popular tracks: “Desperado” and “Tequila Sunrise.” They released On the Border in 1974, adding guitarist Don Felder midway through the recording of the album. The album generated two top 40 singles: “Already Gone” and their first number one, “Best of My Love.”

It was not until 1975’s One of These Nights that the Eagles became arguably America’s biggest band. The album included three top 10 singles: “One of These Nights,” “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take It to the Limit,” the first hitting the top of the charts. They continued that success and hit their commercial peak in late 1976 with the release of Hotel California, which would go on to sell over 16 million copies in the U.S. alone and over 32 million copies worldwide. The album yielded two number-one singles, “New Kid in Town” and “Hotel California.” They released their last studio album for nearly 28 years in 1979 with The Long Run, which spawned three top 10 singles: “Heartache Tonight,” “The Long Run” and “I Can’t Tell You Why,” the lead single being another chart-topping hit.

The Eagles disbanded in July 1980 but reunited in 1994 for the album Hell Freezes Over, a mix of live and new studio tracks. They have toured intermittently since then and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2007, the Eagles released Long Road Out of Eden, their first full studio album in 28 years and their sixth number one album. The next year they launched the Long Road Out of Eden Tour in support of the album. In 2013, they began the extended History of the Eagles Tour in conjunction with the band’s documentary release, History of the Eagles.
Formation and early releases (1971–73)

The Eagles began in early 1971, when Linda Ronstadt and then-manager John Boylan recruited session musicians Glenn Frey and Don Henley.[4] Henley had moved to Los Angeles from Texas with his band Shiloh (produced by Kenny Rogers),[5] and Frey had come from Michigan and formed Longbranch Pennywhistle; they had met in 1970 at The Troubadour in Los Angeles and became acquainted through their mutual record label, Amos Records.[6][7] Randy Meisner, who had been working with Ricky Nelson’s backing band, the Stone Canyon Band, and Bernie Leadon, a veteran of The Flying Burrito Brothers, joined Ronstadt’s group of performers for her summer tour.[4]

The original Eagles played live together only once, backing Ronstadt for a July concert at Disneyland,[4] but all four appeared on her eponymous album.[8] After the gig with Ronstadt, Henley and Frey asked Leadon and Meisner to form a band and they soon signed with Asylum Records, the new label started by David Geffen.[9] The name of the band was first suggested by Leadon during a peyote and tequila-influenced group outing in the Mojave Desert, when he recalled reading about the Hopis’ reverence for the eagle.[10] Steve Martin, a friend of the band from their early days at The Troubadour, recounts in his autobiography that he suggested that they should be referred to as “the Eagles,” but Frey insists that the group’s name is simply “Eagles.”[11] Geffen and partner Elliot Roberts initially managed the band; they were later replaced by Irving Azoff.

The group’s eponymous debut album was recorded in England in February 1972 with producer Glyn Johns.[4] Released on June 26, 1972, Eagles was a breakthrough success, yielding three Top 40 singles. The first single and lead track, “Take It Easy,” was a song written by Frey with his then-neighbor and fellow country-folk rocker Jackson Browne. Browne had written the majority of the song, up until the line “I’m standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona,” where he got stalled. Frey added the next line (“It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford”) and Browne carried on to finish the song. The song reached number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and propelled the Eagles to stardom. The single was followed by the bluesy “Witchy Woman” and the soft country rock ballad “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” charting at number 9 and number 22 respectively. Their second album, Desperado, took Old West outlaws for its theme, drawing comparisons between their lifestyles and modern rock stars. This album was the first to showcase the group’s penchant for conceptual songwriting. It was during these recording sessions Henley and Frey first began writing together. They co-wrote eight of the album’s eleven songs, including “Tequila Sunrise” and “Desperado,” two of the group’s most popular songs. The bluegrass songs “Twenty-One,” “Doolin–Dalton” and the ballad “Saturday Night” showcase guitarist Bernie Leadon’s abilities on the banjo, guitar and mandolin. The story of the notorious Wild West “Doolin–Dalton” gang is the main thematic focus of the album, as seen in the songs “Doolin–Dalton,” “Desperado,” “Certain Kind of Fool,” Outlaw Man” and “Bitter Creek.” The album was less successful than the group’s first, reaching only number 41 on the US Billboard 200 and yielding two singles, “Tequila Sunrise,” which reached number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100 and “Outlaw Man,” which peaked at number 59. With Henley and Frey co-writing the bulk of the album—a pattern that would continue for years to come—the album marked a significant change for the band. The pair also began to dominate in terms of leadership; the early assumption had been that Leadon and Meisner as veteran musicians would have a greater influence on the band.[12]
On the Border and One of These Nights (1974–75)

For their next album, On the Border, Henley and Frey wanted the band to break away from the country rock style and move more towards hard rock. The Eagles initially started with Glyn Johns as the producer for this album, but he tended to emphasize the lush side of their double-edged music. After completing only two songs, the band turned to Bill Szymczyk to produce the rest of the album.[13] Leadon suggested using childhood friend Don Felder, a guitarist who had jammed backstage with the band in 1972 when they opened for Yes in Boston.[14][15] Felder had been nicknamed “Fingers” at the jam by Frey, a name that stuck due to his guitar proficiency.[16] In January 1974, Frey called Felder to add slide guitar to the song “Good Day in Hell” and the band was so impressed that they invited him to join the group as the fifth Eagle the next day.[17][18] He appeared on one other song on the album, the uptempo breakup song “Already Gone,” on which he performed a guitar duet with Frey. On the Border yielded a number 1 Billboard single (“Best of My Love”), which hit the top of the charts on March 1, 1975. The song was the Eagles’ first of five chart toppers. Showcasing the harder edge of the band’s new sound with the addition of Felder, “Already Gone” was also successful, reaching number 32 on the charts. The album included a cover version of the Tom Waits song “Ol’ ’55” and the single “James Dean,” which reached number 77 on the charts.

The band played at the California Jam festival in Ontario, California on April 6, 1974. Attracting over 300,000 fans and billed as “the Woodstock of the West Coast,” the festival featured Black Sabbath, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Deep Purple, Earth, Wind & Fire, Seals & Crofts, Black Oak Arkansas and Rare Earth.[19] Portions of the show were telecast on ABC Television in the United States, exposing the Eagles to a wider audience. Felder missed the show when he was called away to attend the birth of his son.[20]

The Eagles released their fourth studio album, One of These Nights, on June 10, 1975. A breakthrough album for the Eagles, making them international superstars, it was the first in a string of four consecutive number 1 albums. The dominant songwriting partnership of Henley and Frey continued on this album. The first single was the title track, which became their second consecutive chart topper. Frey has said it is his all-time favorite Eagles tune.[citation needed] The second single was “Lyin’ Eyes,” which reached number 2 on the charts and won the band its first Grammy for “Best Pop Performance by a duo or group with vocal.” The final single was “Take It to the Limit,” written by Meisner, Henley, and Frey, and featuring Meisner on lead vocals. The song reached number 4 on the charts and was the Eagles’ first single to be certified gold. The band launched a huge worldwide tour in support of the album. “One of These Nights” was nominated for a Grammy award for Album of the Year.

It was their last album to feature founding member Bernie Leadon, who left the group in December of that year.[21] Leadon was disillusioned with the direction the band’s music was taking, as their sound was moving from his preferred country to rock and roll.[22] Leadon penned two songs for the album, including “I Wish You Peace,” written with girlfriend Patti Davis (daughter of California governor Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan). The instrumental “Journey of the Sorcerer” would later be used as the theme music for the BBC’s radio and television versions of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Leadon’s replacement, officially announced on December 20, was guitarist/singer/keyboardist Joe Walsh, who had been a friend of the band for years. He had previously performed with the James Gang, Barnstorm and as a solo artist; he was also managed by Azoff and used Szymczyk as his record producer.[21] There was some initial concern as to Walsh’s ability to fit in with the band, as he was considered too “wild” for the Eagles, especially by Henley.[21] After the departure of Leadon, the Eagles’ early country sound almost completely disappeared, with the band employing a harder sound with the addition of Felder and Walsh.

In early 1976, the band released their first compilation album, Their Greatest Hits 1971–1975. The album became the highest-selling album in U.S. history, with over 29 million copies sold in the U.S. alone and over 42 million copies worldwide. The album cemented the group’s status as the most successful American band of the decade.
Major success with Hotel California (1976–78)

Released on December 8, 1976, Hotel California was the band’s fifth studio album and the first to feature Walsh. The album took a year and a half to complete, a process which, along with touring, drained the band. The album’s first single, “New Kid in Town,” became the Eagles’ third number 1 single.

The second single was the eponymous title track, which topped the charts in May 1977 and became the Eagles’ signature song. It features Henley on lead vocals, with a guitar duet performed by Felder and Walsh. The song was written by Felder, Henley and Frey, with Felder writing all the music. The mysterious lyrics have been interpreted in many ways, some of them controversial. Rumors even started in certain quarters that the song was about Satanism. The rumor was dismissed by the band and later by Henley in the documentary film History of the Eagles. Henley told 60 Minutes in 2007 that “it’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American Dream and about excess in America, which was something we knew about.”[23]

With its hard rock sound, “Life in the Fast Lane” was also a major success that established Walsh’s position in the band. The third and final single from Hotel California, it reached number 11 on the charts. The ballad “Wasted Time” closes the first side of the album, while an instrumental reprise of it opens the second side. The album concludes with ‘”The Last Resort,” a song that Frey once referred to as “Henley’s opus,” but which Henley described as “fairly pedestrian” and “never fully realized, musically speaking.”[24]

The run-out groove on side two has the words “V.O.L. Is Five-Piece Live” etched into the vinyl, which means that the instrumental track for the song “Victim of Love” was recorded live in the studio, with no overdubs. Henley confirms this in the liner notes of The Very Best Of. However, the song was a point of contention between Don Felder and the rest of the band. In the 2013 documentary, Felder claimed that he had been promised the lead vocal on “Victim of Love,” for which he had written most of the music. After many unproductive attempts to record Felder’s vocal, band manager Irving Azoff was delegated to take Felder out for a meal, removing him from the mix while Don Henley overdubbed his lead vocal. Joe Walsh said that Felder never forgave them for the snub. Hotel California has appeared on several lists of the best albums of all time,[25] and is the band’s best-selling studio album, with over 16 million copies sold in the U.S. alone and over 32 million copies worldwide.

The album won Grammys for “Record of the year” (“Hotel California”) and “Best arrangement for voices” (“New Kid in Town”). Hotel California topped the charts and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 1978 Grammy Awards, but lost to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. The huge worldwide tour in support of the album further drained the band members and strained their personal and creative relationships.

Hotel California is the last album to feature founding member Randy Meisner, who abruptly left the band after the 1977 tour. The Eagles had been touring continuously for eleven months and Meisner was suffering from stomach ulcers and the flu by the time they arrived in Knoxville in July.[26] Frey and Meisner had been continually arguing about Meisner’s willingness to perform his signature song, “Take It To the Limit,” during the tour, as Meisner was struggling to hit the crucial high notes in the song due to his ailments.[27] During the following show, Meisner decided to skip the song due to his flu, but when Frey aggressively demanded that he sing it as an encore the two got into a physical confrontation backstage and Meisner left the venue.[28] Despite pleas from Felder and Walsh, Meisner decided to leave the group after the final date of the tour and returned to Nebraska to be with his family. His last performance was in East Troy, Wisconsin on September 3, 1977.[29] The band replaced Meisner with the same musician who had succeeded him in Poco, Timothy B. Schmit, after agreeing that Schmit was the only candidate.[30]

In 1977, the group, minus Don Felder, performed instrumental work and backing vocals for Randy Newman’s album Little Criminals, including “Short People,” which has backup vocals by Frey and Schmit.
The Long Run and breakup (1979–80)

The Eagles went into the recording studio in 1977 to begin work on their next album, The Long Run. The album took two years to complete. It was originally intended to be a double album, but the band members were unable to write enough songs. The Long Run was released on September 24, 1979. Considered a disappointment by some critics for failing to live up to Hotel California, it proved a huge commercial hit nonetheless; the album topped the charts and sold 7 million copies. In addition, it included three Top 10 singles. “Heartache Tonight” became their last single to top the Hot 100, on November 10, 1979. The title track and “I Can’t Tell You Why” both reached number 8. The band won their fourth Grammy for “Heartache Tonight.” “In The City” by Walsh and “The Sad Cafe” became live staples. The band also recorded two Christmas songs during these sessions, “Funky New Year” and “Please Come Home For Christmas,” which was released as a single in 1978 and reached number 18 on the charts.

Frey, Henley and Schmit contributed backup vocals for the single release of “Look What You’ve Done to Me” by Boz Scaggs. A different version with female backing vocals appears on the Urban Cowboy soundtrack, along with the Eagles’ 1975 hit “Lyin’ Eyes.”

On July 31, 1980, in Long Beach, California, tempers boiled over into what has been described as “Long Night at Wrong Beach.”[31][32] The animosity between Felder and Frey boiled over before the show began, when Felder said, “You’re welcome – I guess” to California Senator Alan Cranston’s wife as the politician was thanking the band backstage for performing a benefit for his reelection.[33] Frey and Felder spent the entire show telling each other about the beating each planned to administer backstage. “Only three more songs until I kick your ass, pal,” Frey recalls Felder telling him near the end of the band’s set.[34] Felder recalls Frey telling him during “Best of My Love”, “I’m gonna kick your ass when we get off the stage.”[31][35]

It appeared to be the end of the Eagles, but the band still had a commitment with Elektra Records to make a live record from the tour. Eagles Live (released in November 1980) was mixed on opposite coasts. Frey had already quit the band and would remain in Los Angeles, while the other band members each worked on their parts in Miami.[36] “We were fixing three-part harmonies courtesy of Federal Express,” said producer Bill Szymczyk.[5] Frey refused to speak to the other Eagles, and he fired Irving Azoff as his manager.[36] With credits that listed no fewer than five attorneys, the album’s liner notes simply said, “Thank you and goodnight.” A single released from the album – “Seven Bridges Road” – had been a live concert staple for the band. It was written by Steve Young in an arrangement created by Iain Matthews for his Valley Hi album in 1973. The song reached number 21 on the charts in 1980, becoming the Eagles’ last Top 40 single until 1994.
Post breakup

After the Eagles broke up, the former members pursued solo careers. Elektra, the band’s long-time record label, owned the rights to solo albums created by members of the Eagles (though several of them moved to different labels in ensuing years). Walsh had established himself as a solo artist in the 1970s, before and during his time with the Eagles, but it was uncharted waters for the others. Walsh released a successful album in 1981, There Goes the Neighborhood, but subsequent albums throughout the 1980s, such as Got Any Gum? were less well received. During this period Walsh performed as a session musician for Dan Fogelberg, Steve Winwood, John Entwistle, Richard Marx and Emerson, Lake & Palmer, among others, and produced and co-wrote Ringo Starr’s Old Wave album.

Henley achieved the greatest commercial solo success of any former Eagle. In 1981, he sang a duet with Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac fame, “Leather and Lace.” In 1982, he released I Can’t Stand Still, featuring the hit “Dirty Laundry.” This album would pale in comparison to his next release, Building the Perfect Beast (1984), which features the classic rock radio staples “The Boys of Summer” (a Billboard number 5 hit), “All She Wants to Do Is Dance (number 9),” “Not Enough Love in the World” (number 34) and “Sunset Grill” (number 22). Henley’s next album, The End of the Innocence (1989), was also a major success. It includes “The End of the Innocence,” “The Last Worthless Evening” and “The Heart of the Matter.” His solo career was cut short due to a contract dispute with his record company, which was finally resolved when the Eagles reunited in 1994.

Frey also achieved solo success in the 1980s. In 1982, he released his first album, No Fun Aloud, which spawned the number 15 hit, “The One You Love.” The Allnighter (1984) featured the number 20 hit “Sexy Girl.” He reached number 2 on the charts with “The Heat Is On” from the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack. He had another number 2 single in 1985 with “You Belong to the City” from the Miami Vice soundtrack, which featured another Frey song, “Smuggler’s Blues.” He appeared as “Jimmy” in the episode titled after the song and contributed riffs to the episode’s soundtrack. He also contributed the songs “Flip City” to the Ghostbusters II soundtrack and “Part of Me, Part of You” to the soundtrack for Thelma & Louise.

Former music writer turned filmmaker Cameron Crowe, an Eagles fan, had written articles about Poco and the Eagles during his journalism career. In 1982 his first screenplay was produced as the feature length movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. The film was co-produced by Eagles manager Azoff, who also co-produced the soundtrack album, released by Elektra. Henley, Walsh, Schmit and Felder all contributed solo songs to the film’s soundtrack. The band playing at the dance toward the end of the movie covers the Eagles song Life in the Fast Lane.

Felder also released a solo album and contributed two songs to the soundtrack of the movie Heavy Metal: “Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride)” (with Henley and Schmit providing backing vocals) and “All of You.” He also had a minor hit called “Bad Girls” off his solo album Airborne.

Schmit had a prolific solo career after the band’s initial breakup. He had a hit song on the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack with “So Much in Love.” He contributed vocals to the Crosby, Stills & Nash album Daylight Again on the songs “Southern Cross” and “Wasted on the Way” when that band needed an extra vocalist due to David Crosby’s drug overindulgence. Schmit sang backup vocals on Toto’s Toto IV album, including the song “I Won’t Hold You Back” and appeared with the group on their 1982 European tour. He spent three years (1983–1985) as a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer band and coined the term “Parrotheads” for Buffett’s die-hard fans. He had a Top 40 solo hit in 1987 with “Boys’ Night Out” and a top-30 Adult Contemporary hit with “Don’t Give Up,” both from his album Timothy B. Schmit appeared with Meisner and Walsh on Richard Marx’s debut single “Don’t Mean Nothing.” In 1992, Schmit and Walsh toured as members of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band and appeared on the live video from the Montreux Jazz Festival. Schmit released two solo albums, Playin’ It Cool in 1984 and Tell Me the Truth in 1990. He was the only Eagle to appear on the 1993 Eagles tribute album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles, singing backing vocals on Vince Gill’s cover of “I Can’t Tell You Why.”

Meisner had a number 19 hit with the song “Hearts on Fire” in 1981.
Musical style

Influenced by 1960s rhythm and blues, soul, and bluegrass music and the folk rock sound of the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield,[37] the Eagles’ overall sound has been described as “California rock”. Sal Manna, author of the CD liner notes of the band’s 1994 album Hell Freezes Over, commented that “No one knew quite what ‘California rock’ meant – except perhaps that, because in California anything was possible, music that came from that promising land was more free-spirited and free-ranging”.[38][39] The Eagles’ have also explored soft rock,[40][41] country rock,[42][43] folk rock[44] and hard rock[45] and have been associated with the album rock label.[4]

The group’s first two albums combined rock, country and folk music styles,[46] which gave the band a sound that brought them to the forefront of the 1970s country rock movement. These albums also contained elements of traditional rock and roll music.[4] For their third album On the Border, the band moved towards a hard rock sound,[45] a genre the band had only touched upon previously. The 1975 follow-up album One of These Nights saw the group explore the soft rock genre that was popular at the time, notably on the hit single “Take It to the Limit”, but still contained heavier rock tracks such as “Too Many Hands” and “Visions”, and the single “Lyin’ Eyes”, which combined rock, pop, country, and folk styles.[47]

During their career, the Eagles have also drawn on rock and roll,[48] blues rock,[49] arena rock,[50] rhythm and blues,[51] funk,[49] pop rock,[48] disco[52] and bluegrass.[45]

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