Eagles Have Over-Taken Michael Jackson's "Thriller" with Their "Greatest Hits" Becoming The Best-Selling Album in the US!!!
Something that has always been tricky for me about the Eagles is the name. It always shows up in Google and Spotify searches as just "Eagles", but if they're coming to town, no one ever says "Hey, are you going to see Eagles?" it's always "Hey, are you going to see THE Eagles?" Proper diction and articles aside, the answer to that question should always be yes. Eagles have something pretty monumental to be celebrating right now though. The baby boomers have proven that they are still the ones controlling the market when it comes to buying physical copies of music, and Eagles' "Greatest Hits" album has just surpassed Michael Jackson's "Thriller" as the top-selling album in the US.
Whether you get your rocks off living "Life in the Fast Lane", or you just prefer to "Take It Easy", you can't deny that Eagles have an extensive catalogue that has been a quintessential soundtrack in the lives of most people. If you don't believe me, maybe the 38 times platinum certification will change your mind. Throughout the extent of their career, Eagles have always flirted a fine line between country music and rock music. This perfect blend is definitely something they can attribute to their massive success, being easily accessible and relatable to people from all parts of the country. Today, we'll take a look back at the Eagles connection with country music, and just how it shaped the monumental band they became.
The Eagles would never have come into existence if it wasn't for the groundwork put in with country superstar, Linda Ronstadt. Back in the 70's, LA was the place where the best band in every hometown gathered to battle it out for a shot at being the next big thing worldwide. Don Henley migrated from Texas with his band, Shiloh, to record a record with Kenny Rogers. He met with Glenn Frey, who was new on the scene from Detroit, at LA's iconic venue, The Troubadour. The two became further connected through their mutual label, and eventually started playing as the backing band for a then unknown, Linda Ronstadt. The two realized that they had a natural chemistry playing and writing together, and they could do a lot more than just accompany a great artist. While on tour, they told Linda that they intended to branch out on their own, and she couldn't have been more supportive. In fact, she even got them connected with other founding member, Bernie Leadon.
Even though he famously left the band in 1975 by pouring a beer over Glenn Frey's head, Bernie Leadon was a crucial part of the early sound of the Eagles, and definitely a prime influence of their more country sounds. When Bernie was introduced to Don and Glenn, he already had quite a bit of clout to his name. He was a founding member of the influential country-rock groups Hearts & Flowers, Dillard & Clark, and most famously, the Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons. Leadon was an excessively versatile player, playing guitar, banjo, mandolin, dobro and pedal steel, all with finesse and confidence. When they released their debut eponymous album, it was met with instant success. This was largely due to the three HIT singles, "Take It Easy", "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Witchy Woman", (or as it's referred to on Seinfeld, Witch-AY Woman) all of which were co-written by Leadon and showed off his instrumental prowess.
When it came time for a follow-up to their wildly successful debut, Eagles went into the studio with a new idea. Glenn wanted to do something that would get other artists to take them more seriously. The idea was a concept album based around anti-heroes. While jamming with Jackson Browne, Jackson brought up a book that he had been gifted on gunslingers in the Wild West, and the theme for the album was quickly decided. Not long after that, Don and Glenn wrote the titular track, "Desperado", and the cowboy-themed record was ready to begin. According to Leadon, Glenn mapped out all of the characters in his fantasy western world. He explained which characters could have songs written about them or from their perspective, and he encouraged the band to get in the heads of these characters. Although the album only saw modest commercial success, with the lead single "Tequila Sunrise" peaking at 41 on the charts, compositionally, the album stands strong as one of their finest and most cohesive works. The parallels between the outlaw western life and the life of a rock and roll musician are outlined beautifully throughout the record, and I challenge anyone of you out there to make it through the song "Desperado" without tears rolling down your face.
Fast-forward to 2016. Yes we passed all the crazy years with the introduction of Joe Walsh, the break-up drama, the bitter hatred and then the eventual reunion, but for the sake of their country connections, let's just move on to 2016. On January 18th, 2016, the world lost the legendary Glenn Frey. Eagles fan's across the globe mourned the loss and the fact that many of them would never see their favorite band again. And for a year, there was nothing. However, they didn't feel like they were done yet. I heard a recent interview with Joe Walsh, questioning what the motives behind this reunion were. It wasn't about the money, they all had plenty of money. It was genuinely because they all just love playing music and they didn't feel like it was time for them to quit. In March of 2017, a string of Eagles shows were announced with Glenn Frey's son Deacon, and the legendary country artist, Vince Gill. Vince's smooth-as-butter voice and uniquely himself style of guitar playing filled a lot of the cracks left by the loss of Glenn. According to Vince, it had always been a dream of his to play with the Eagles.
Although no one could ever truly replace Glenn, the current line-up truly seems to be something special. I've seen Eagles twice in my life-time, and both times have been such surreal experiences. To see thousands of people from all generations and backgrounds come together and know seriously EVERY SINGLE WORD for a set that lasts at least two hours, that's not something that just any band can bring out. It's no wonder to me that they now officially have the best-selling US album of all time, and to them I wish them a big ol' CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!