Eagles: The Enduring Legacy of Rock’s Most Iconic Band
Since their formation in 1971, Eagles have cemented their place in music history, producing some of the most timeless and enduring rock songs of all time. With hits such as “Hotel California,” “Take It Easy,” and “Life in the Fast Lane,” the band quickly rose to become one of the biggest rock acts of all time.
Their catchphrase, “song power,” was printed on t-shirts, and it was no idle boast. Eagles has sold over 200 million albums worldwide, with their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) album becoming the biggest-selling album in America in the 20th century. To this day, it remains at the top of the list of best-selling albums, having sold over 42 million copies globally.
Formed in Los Angeles, Eagles defined the California rock sound of the 70s, blending rock and country music with a melodic sensibility attuned to pop radio. Surprisingly, none of the group’s founding members were native Californians. Guitarist Glenn Frey hailed from Detroit, drummer Don Henley from Texas, guitarist Bernie Leadon from Minneapolis, and bassist Randy Meisner from Nebraska. While all members shared vocal duties, Frey and Henley were the group’s creative powerhouse, serving as principal songwriters and lead vocalists.
The band’s artistic and commercial peak came in the second half of the 70s, with five US No. 1 singles and global superstardom achieved with the release of the classic album, Hotel California, in 1976. However, by 1980, drugs, money, ennui, and ego led Eagles to split, with Henley describing it as a “horrible relief.”
Solo careers followed, with Henley’s being the most successful. However, in 1994, the previously unthinkable happened: Eagles reunited. The 1980 lineup, consisting of Frey, Henley, guitarists Joe Walsh and Don Felder, and bassist Timothy B. Schmit, recorded the album Hell Freezes Over. Although Felder was fired in 2001 and Frey passed away in 2016, Eagles continued to tour, filling stadiums and reminding fans of the enduring power of their music.
More than half a century after taking flight in Los Angeles, Eagles remain the ultimate testament to “song power.” Despite not having recorded new material since the double album Long Road Out of Eden in 2007, their live performances continue to captivate audiences around the world. Eagles have become a symbol of the best that rock music has to offer, and their legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians and music lovers alike.