Sunday, September 22, 2013

Music Sunday: The Eagles Edition

The Eagles are a genuine phenomenon. One of their albums, "Eagles-Their Greatest Hits (1971 - 1975)" (1976) is said to have sold 29 million copies in the United States and 13 million additionally worldwide for a total of 42 million copies. That ties it with Michael Jackson's "Thriller" for the best selling album of the 20th century. Additionally, the album "Hotel California" (also from 1976) has sold at least 16 million copies in the US and 32 million copies worldwide.

That's a lot of records.

The Eagles formed in Los Angeles in 1971, broke up in 1980, and then famously reunited in 1994 and are still touring. In between, two of the band's members, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, went on to solo careers of some note. Their history of good music and sometimes not so great relations between band members is legendary. But my purpose today is not to rehash the gossip, but to share some of their music.

The first single the Eagles released was "Take It Easy", in 1972. Written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, the single reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, not bad for a first single. Here is a live performance of the song from California Jam, in 1974:

In 1974, their song "James Dean", from the album "On the Border", didn't do so well, only making it to #77 on the charts when it was released as a single. It's a good song, though, written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne, and J. D. Souther. They also performed this song as part of their set at California Jam. If you look closely at both this clip and the previous one, you can see Jackson Browne playing piano:

One of my favorite of The Eagles' songs is "Hotel California". Written by Don Felder, Don Henley, and Glenn Frey, it is sort of legendary all on its own, largely because of the controversy it has stirred. It has been interpreted many ways, has been called Satanic by some, and has collected a whole list of accolades, including being named the 49th greatest song ever on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time". It hit #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 and #10 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart. It won Record of the Year at the Grammys. Even the band members themselves cannot quite come to a definitive version of what the song is about, however. Here is the performance of the song from the Eagles induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998:

My favorite Eagles song was never released as a single, but was the title song on the album "Desperado", released in 1973. This song just keeps getting better and better, and Henley's voice seems to get better as he ages:

I'm running a little short in this week's Music Sunday post, but I've been having trouble finding the things I really want to share, so I'll leave it at this for the day.

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