The Eagles are one of the most successful bands ever, selling over 150 million albums worldwide. In fact, they are the best-selling American band ever. They were inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Along with Fleetwood Mac, they perfected the California pop sound of the 1970s. I believe one of the main reasons for their tremendous success is due to the songwriting and singing talents of all of the band members. So many of their songs had multiple writers and featured different band members taking turns singing lead and background vocals. It’s no wonder that with that deep pool of talent they are ranked as one of the top 100 artists of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Let’s take a quick look at current and former Eagles Band Members:
Glenn Frey – Glen co-founded The Eagles after singing backup vocals for Linda Ronstadt. His first professional experience was singing background vocals for Bob Seger, who gave him some great advice. He told him to write his own songs. Glenn took him up on that advice and co-wrote some of the best-selling singles from the seventies including “Hotel California”, “Take It Easy”, “Desperado” and “Life In The Fast Lane”.
Don Henley – The Texas born drummer and singer moved to Los Angeles in 1970 and began his recording career in a band called Shiloh. Like Frey, Henley sang backup vocals for Linda Ronstadt. This meeting can be seen as the inspiration for them forming the band. His writing credits include “Best Of My Love”, “New Kid In Town”, “Heartache Tonight”, “Hotel California”, “Witchy Woman” and “Lyin’ Eyes”.
Joe Walsh – Rolling Stone ranks Joe as one of the top 100 guitarists of all time. He joined the band in 1975 after playing in the band Barnstorm with a moderate amount of success. He has also produced projects for Ringo Starr and Dan Fogelberg. Like his fellow bandmates, Joe has had a very successful solo career. His Eagles writing credits include “Life In The Fast Lane”, “Pretty Maids All in a Row”, “In the City” and “The Sad Café”.
Timothy B. Schmit – California born and raised, Timothy started out as a folk singer in his teens. He has been a session player and has also played bass and sang for the band Poco. Schmidt took over bass for The Eagles after Randy Meisner left the band. The main song that Schmit wrote during the bands peak years was “I Can’t Tell You Why”, co-written by Henley and Frey.
Bernie Leadon – Growing up with a love of bluegrass music, Bernie was a major influence in shaping the country-rock sound of The Eagles early work. As the band moved away from that sound, he became more frustrated and ultimately quit the band in 1975. His songwriting credits include “Witchy Woman”, “Hollywood Waltz”, and “Earlybird”.
Randy Meisner – Meisner was a founding member of both The Eagles and Poco. In addition to his bass playing, he can be heard on the soaring high harmonies in most of the early songs and on the lead vocal for“Take It To The Limit”, which Meisner co-wrote with Henley and Frey. Some of the other songs that Meisner has writing credit on are “Try and Love Again”, “Too Many Hands” and “Certain Kind of Fool”. He quit the band after a backstage confrontation with Frey.
Don Felder – Gainesville, Florida was fertile ground for budding rock stars. Don Felder grew up there, started a band in his teens with Stephen Stills and gave piano lessons to fellow rocker Tom Petty. Best known for co-writing “Hotel California”, he also co-wrote “Victim of Love”, “Too Many Hands” and “The Disco Strangler”.
With the abundance of talent coming together in one band, The Eagles were all but destined to have some of the best-selling albums in rock history. “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)” has sold over 42 million copies and “Hotel California” has sold over 32 million copies.