One of the most popular rock and roll bands in the United States in the last 50 years, the Eagles were one of the first to translate the highly politicized rock ‘n roll of the late 1960s into the earthy, sensible rock of the 70s. Their music was a master class in craftsmanship and the band, from Southern California, has sold more than 100 million albums during their 40+ year career.
Indeed, when they released their greatest hits album in 1976, aptly entitled Their Greatest Hits 1971 – 1975, it was the first album to ever be certified platinum, was second only to Michael Jackson’s Thriller on the all-time sales list and sold nearly 30 million copies in the United States alone.
What the Eagles did so well was to combine hard rock guitars and lyrics with a bit of a country tinged personality, and their songs ran the gamut from yearning to jaded to hard rock, sometimes on a single album. Between 1972 and 1976 The Eagles released an album every year and each one had higher sales numbers. Their ‘last’, 1976’s Hotel California, sold 16 million copies when it was released but, in 1980, the band broke up after their final album, In the Long Run which, while extremely popular, was a bit of a ‘letdown’ and only 8 million copies. (Imagine that!)
After their breakup in 1980 all of the members of the Eagles went their own way and had relatively successful solo careers. Don Henley was the most successful both critically and commercially.
In 1994 the band, after putting aside their differences, went on tour with their Hell Freezes Over tour and a subsequent album that sold over 10 million copies. They continued to tour into the 2000’s and were one of the most successful tours every year therafter. Another album in 2007, Long Road out of Eden, sold 7 million copies even though it was only sold exclusively at Walmart, Sam’s Club and Eagles.com for the first year after its release.
Interestingly, all four original members of the Eagles were already experienced professional musicians when they got together. That included Glenn Frey, Bernie Meisner, Bernie Leadon and Don Henley, all of whom met as the backup band for Linda Ronstadt. It was after touring with Ronstadt that Henley and Frey decided to form a group on their own and they recruited Leadon and Meisner to join them, calling themselves the Eagles.
Initially the boys wanted to follow in the footsteps of the Byrds and become a country band but instead turned towards hard rock. Their debut album was recorded in England with the help of producer Glyn Johns and both the album, as well as the single Take It Easy, went gold not long after being released. That same year another one of their singles off of the album, Witchy Woman, reached #9 on the charts.