Uncategorized

I Love The Eagles! There, I Said It.

I first became aware of the Eagles when I was around ten years old. It was 1983, I was just beginning to listen to music, and generally, my tastes were quite diverse. My sister and I particularly liked their live version of Steve Young’s “Seven Bridges Road” from their Greatest Hits Vol. 2, and would try to match their matchless harmonies. We’d play it any chance we got. Family trips up to Lake Wasilla, Christmases, Mondays… Sometimes, at home, I would put on the vinyl and the giant space-age headphones my folks had (the kind that covered half your head) and just marvel at that song. It was my first taste of a cappella. And fingerstyle guitar. And I’ve never quite gotten over it.

Once I got older, around high school age, I became keenly aware that the Eagles were not cool. They were to be openly mocked by the young musical cognoscenti. Too rock for hardcore country fans. Not rock enough for stoners or metalheads. Not street enough for rap fans. And for my crowd? Alternative kids? Too ubiquitous and mainstream. I mean, their first Greatest Hits is one of the best selling albums of all time. Would my Doc Marten-wearing, backcombed black hair sporting, top 40 out-of-hand dismissing friends sign off on that? Not bloody likely.

Dutifully, I kept my Eagle-love hidden until my late 20s when I proclaimed my forbidden love to the world. My love of rockabilly took me deeper into country music, then on to country-rock, and deeper into the Eagles.

I was surprised and delighted to find that their roots in country-rock run deep, with Flying Burrito Brother Bernie Leadon stamping his twang all over their first three albums. His Gram Parsons tribute “My Man” is gold. And those harmonies, with heavy lifting on the high end from Randy “Take It To The Limit” Meisner? Again, they stomp everyone aside from CSNY. This is not up for debate. And the fact that Meisner was in Rick(y) Nelson’s Stone Canyon Band in the late 60s was just… damn.

For me, “Already Gone”, from their 1974 album On The Border straddles their rock and country sides perfectly. Lots of woo-hoos and tight harmonies, with that raucous (yet not quite unrestrained) guitar edge they’d take further as the 70s wore on. Don Felder rips at the end of the song, especially, and when they go up a half step in the coda, it still gives me chills. The song is rocking, pretty, economical and tight.

Generally I lean towards their early work, but I will admit that I once drove around the block 3 times, coming home from Walgreens, just to listen to Joe Walsh and Felder’s mind-blowing guitar duetting on “Hotel California”. Rewind, and rewind, and rewind…

For me, though, these songs, more than any fanboy music geekery, remind me of my family. Invariably, whenever my sister and I have hung out over the years, at some point the Eagles will come out. We’ll drive around Anchorage, Boston, or LA, wherever we are… blaring it, just enjoying, singing along, remembering.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s