Triple Played: It’s been a long road for this Eagles fan
I have been a fan of the Eagles, one of the great American rock bands, since I purchased its first album at Mazzuca’s Tapes and Records in 1972.
I had a rule back then that there had to be at least three songs I liked on an album before I would buy it. So after “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Witchy Woman” were released as singles, I bought the LP.
Funny thing is I found that I liked several of the deep album cuts as much if not more than the singles. Songs such as “Earlybird,” “Nightingale” and “Train Leaves Here This Morning” still are some of my favorites.
The Eagles’ second album, “Desperado,” was a concept record about an outlaw and his untimely demise and is probably my favorite Eagles record. The third album, “On the Border,” with the addition of Don Felder on guitar started the Eagles’ transition from a country-rock band to a full-fledged rock ‘n’ roll outfit.
The second part of that transition would be “One of These Nights,” which after its release saw the departure of Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner and the addition of Timothy B. Schmit from Poco and Joe Walsh from the James Gang.
That version of the Eagles released its biggest-selling record “Hotel California,” which is also most people’s favorite, and “The Long Run.” “Long Road Out Of Eden” followed some 29 years later.
I lived on the Eagles first three LPs during a big part of the 1970s and probably listened to and followed the band more than any other band at that time. “On the Border” and “Desperado” are my favorite albums but my favorite Eagles song is “The Last Resort” from “Hotel California.”
I learned that Don Henley was in a Texas band called Shiloh with cousins Richard and Michael Bowden as well as Al Perkins and Jim Ed Norman. Shiloh released one LP and all but Michael Bowden are still involved in the music business.
Glenn Frey, who spent time in Bob Seger’s band, was in a duo called Longbranch Pennywhistle with John David Souther, who later became known as the fifth Eagle. Leadon was in a band called Hearts and Flowers releasing one record and then played on the classic “Fantastic Expedition of Dillard and Clark” with Gene Clark, Doug Dillard, Chris Hillman and Perkins.
Meisner was an original member of Poco, but left the band before its first album was released and was replaced with Schmit. Meisner then joined Rick Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band. These four guys all sort of met each other at the famed Troubadour in Los Angeles in 1970 and ended up backing Linda Ronstadt on her self-titled 1971 release on Capitol Records, along with the aforementioned Bowden cousins as well as Dean Webb and Herb Pedersen from The Dillards.
The reason I know all of this trivial information is that I own all of the LPs mentioned above, most of them for over 30 years. All in all, I like the original version of the Eagles best, when the band members were younger, wilder, hungrier, angrier and without stock portfolios. It just makes for better songs and ultimately better records.
After some friends suggestions, I recently watched the DVD “History of the Eagles” and will report on that in a future column.