American Eagle

Glenn Frey died yesterday and it seems like we’re losing people at an alarming rate. While Frey and The Eagles were never the critics favorite band, they certainly had just as big of an impact here in the States as Bowie did.

The Eagles have a long, complicated past and I wonder if music history will be kind to them?  There’s no denying their success, of course.  Their greatest hits album was named the biggest selling album of the last century!  Hotel California sold 32 million copies and the band has sold over 150 million records total.  That’s one hell of a career.

Still, they were never exactly critical darlings.  There used to be a certain sentiment about the Eagles, and about 70’s music in general, that it was all about the money and the excesses and in comparison to the best music of the 60’s, it was inferior.  There was not enough gravitas to it.  Great 60’s music was about fighting the war and about the counterculture.  Most bands of the 70’s were thought to be in it for the money, the women, and the drugs(not necessarily in that order).

The Eagles, by all accounts, fit that description.  Henley and Frey were in it, right from the start, to get rich and famous.  There are numerous interviews with them which back that up. That seemed to matter to a lot of people back when the music first came out.  I’m not sure it matters that much now.  I would argue that, regardless of their goals, they made some damn good music which has held up remarkably well, especially considering that we’ve heard this music a thousand times or more in the last 45 years.

I only got to see The Eagles once, 12-22-79, but what a show it was.  Maybe I’ll write about it sometime in the future.  For now, I’m just going to pull out some old Eagles albums and pop them on the turntable.

 

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2 thoughts on “American Eagle

  1. They certainly did present an image. Just look at some of the photos. On the Border was probably my favorite Eagles album, start to finish but first heard them on One of These Nights from my parents vinyl collection. I think they certainly liked their image and their California sound but I always remember how Glenn Frey, as soon as the Eagles split up, went right to the Detroit sound. Quite a departure from the Cali Country sound. I saw him open for Tina Turner many years ago. Quite a bit different than the Eagles (who i never did see unfortunately).
    As, i write this another California songster, Jackson Browne, is on the radio.
    What’s fun to read from the 70’s music scene,,especially in California, are all the stories about who was hanging out with whom. Who was sharing an apartment or playing in a band with so-and-so. Think of the Eagles originals and the bands they played with. Poco, Flying Burrito Brothers. Randy Meisner left Poco and Timothy B. Schmidt joined…then RM left Eagles and Timothy B. joins the Eagles.

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    1. I remember being disappointed when I found out that their California cowboy image was just a put on, meant to sell more records. From this distance, it just doesn’t matter anymore because the music holds up. At the time though(especially the miami vice period), it turned me off.

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