November 1, 2012
The Eagles had me from the a cappella type introduction.
“Heartache Tonight” was written by committee but what a committee it was. Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bob Seger, and J.D. Souther got together to pen one of The Eagles biggest hits.
The Eagles were huge stars when they released the song during early October of 1979. It would become their fifth number one single topping the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart for one week.
As usual the harmonies were impeccable. The song won a GRAMMY AWARD for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group. This is one the Grammy’s actually got right.
July 25, 2012
The Eagles are an iconic American rock band who are one of the most commercially successful groups in American history. Their first GREATEST HITS album is one of the two biggest selling albums in music history. It was number one but when Michael Jackson died, THRILLER passed it.
While their albums have sold ten-of-millions of albums, they also issued a number of successful singles, with five reaching number one on the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart.
“Please Come Home For Christmas” was issued during the late fall of 1978 and became a holiday hit by reaching number 18. The flip side, “Funky New Year,” was also a catchy holiday song.
It may have been an unusual release for the Eagles but it remains one of the better holiday discs of the 1970s.
March 1, 2012
The Eagles have sold close to 100 million albums and their first GREATEST HITS release is one of the two biggest selling albums of all time (with THRILLER by Michael Jackson.)
They also had a number of catchy singles make the BILLBOARD MAGAZINE Pop Singles Chart. “Already Gone” was released during early spring of 1974. It may have only reached number 32 on the American Singles Chart but it was just about the perfect single.
“Already Gone” was a rocker with perfect harmonies that just washed over you. It was one of the great rides in the Eagles catalogue.
May 10, 2010
The beauty of the 45 rpm format was that there was always a second song on the flip side. While these B sides would be throwaways or weak album tracks many times, every once in awhile there would be a gem which I would prefer it to the hit side.
The Eagles had a top ten hit with “I Can’t Tell You Why” during the winter of 1980. It would reach numer eight on the American singles charts. I must admit that I rarely played the A side as it is one of those records I turned over.
“The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks” is about as loose as The Eagles would ever sound. It is a high octane rock song that can be classiifed as modern frat rock. It remains one of my favorite Eagles songs and makes me wish they would loosen up more often.
July 15, 2009
Twenty-eight years between studio albums is a long time. Six years to actually record an album is an equally long time. Nevertheless The Eagles finally released Long Road Out Of Eden October 30, 2007. Was it worth the time and effort? Their fan base obviously thought so as it sold over seven million copies and continued the group’s string of number one albums in The United States. It would also win two Grammy Awards.
I remember watching a 60 Minutes segment devoted to The Eagles shortly after the album’s release. The dynamic between Glenn Frey and Don Henley was terrible. Henley appeared detached and irritable plus constantly stated that this would be the last Eagles album. The tensions within the group continued but the money was reason enough for some sort of unity.
Prior to the release there had been an ongoing argument between Frey and Henley whether to release a single or double album. I think they were both right in a way. Henley’s single album would have been stronger, but if this was truly the last Eagles album then Frey’s desire to include as much material as possible made sense. Frey won and it was released as a two disc, twenty song set.
Long Road Out Of Eden is a long and sprawling affair. At first listen, I quickly realized how accustomed I had become to hearing their greatest hits for the past 28 years. As such, the new songs had a difficult time measuring up.
The album starts very strong. “No More Walks In The Woods” is almost a cappella and reminiscent of “Seven Bridges Road.” It quickly establishes the modern day Eagles could still harmonize. “How Long” is probably the best known song and closest to their classic work. The harmonies are tight and the changes in tone exquisite. “Busy Being Fabulous” proved that Frey and Henley could still write a good song together as the melody is excellent. “What Do I Do With My Heart” features a fine Glenn Frey vocal laid against more pure harmonies.
The second disc is highlighted by the ten minute title track. There is some classy guitar work but the lyrics are a little too preachy for my taste.
There is a lot of good and some average as well among the twenty songs. It is certainly not their best release. Still it is admirable that they could produce a very credible album 28 years after their last effort. Since it is doubtful there will ever be another Eagles release this one will have to do.
July 15, 2009
So how long does it take for hell to freeze over? According to The Eagles about fourteen years. The animosity was so great within the group in 1980 that Don Henley stated, “Hell would have to freeze over before The Eagles would play together again.” The individual members of the group had gone on to modest solo careers and so in 1994 they re-grouped. It proved that in this case the streets of hell were paved with gold.
The re-formed Eagles would be as popular as ever with their concerts consistently selling out despite charging exorbitant prices. Hell Freezes Over would top the American charts and sell millions of copies.
This new album would consist of eleven live versions of their older material plus four new studio tracks. There is also a DVD version of this album which presents all the songs live plus contains some bonus tracks as well. In some ways it is superior to the CD as it allows you to see the purity of group’s vocal perfection without any studio wizardry.
The eleven live tracks have all been heard before and in several forms but after nearly a decade and a half it was nice to hear the vocal harmonies soar once more. No track is more flawless than “I Can’t Tell You Why” which just shimmers. On the other side of the musical equation “Hotel California,” with a new intro, and “Life In The Fast Lane” give Joe Walsh and Don Felder one last chance to unite their guitars into the sound that was so unique.
One of my favorite tracks was the new studio song, “Get Over It.” It could almost be a biographical statement as tensions would remain despite their new career. They would never really take their own advice as expressed here. The other new song of note was “Love Will Keep Us Alive” where Timothy B. Schmidt shows off his unique vocal style.
Hell Freezes Over may not have been the best or most creative album that The Eagles ever released but it did not matter as their fan base had been waiting fourteen years for a new release.
All in all it was a credible effort and while it has been superseded by other releases it nevertheless established the fact that the re-formed Eagles of 1994 had not missed a beat.
July 15, 2009
The Eagles were no more. Tensions within the group had caused their dissolution. “Hell would have to freeze over before The Eagles would get back together” or so stated Don Henley. It turned out that it took just under 15 years for hell to freeze solid.
The group owed their label one more album and so Eagles Live was issued in the fall of 1980. It was cobbled together from their 1979-1980 Long Run tour and their pre-release Hotel California tour from 1976. Producer Bill Szymczyk overdubbed some of the harmonies and guitar parts after the fact.
I believe the less you know about how the album was put together the better as it is actually a pretty good listen. It presents an accurate picture of The Eagles live at the end of the first part of their career. The performances are sharp and the harmonies and musicianship near perfect. Of particular note is the work of back-up drummer Joe Vitale who adds an extra dimension to the sound.
The track that always attracts my attention is “Seven Bridges Road.” I am still amazed at the purity of the harmonies at the beginning of the song. This gentle folk song, written by Steve Young, was a perfect addition to their stage act.
Joe Walsh shines with what are basically two solo numbers with The Eagles as his back-up band. There is a nine minute plus version of “Life’s Been Good” which allows him to improvise a bit more than normal for a member of The Eagles. His “All Night Long” is Walsh at his hard rocking best.
For the most part they stick to their well known material. “The Long Run,” “New Kind In Town,” “Take It To The Limit,” “Life In The Fast Lane,” and “Desperado” all make appearances. They vary from their hit parade with the unplugged “Saturday Night” which is another fine addition.
The final track, “Take It Easy,” rocks more than the studio version and benefits from that treatment. It is a perfect conclusion for a live album.
Eagles Live may not be the best live album ever released but it was quite good and served its purpose. Today it has been rendered somewhat obsolete by the Hell Freezes Over live material. Still if you want an entertaining picture of The Eagles circa 1976-1980 then this release is still worth seeking out.