Eagles: Up Ahead in the Distance
The Eagles were a group of working musicians who met in the L.A. music scene and started their own band. The initial lineup, composed of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner, sought their shot at the big time. Music Executive David Geffen saw potential and signed them to his record label, Asylum Records. Geffen sought out renowned producer Glyn Johns to record the Eagles’ first album. Johns was nonplussed on his initial hearing of the foursome. Geffen urged patience, the band would spend nights out in Joshua Tree, and amidst the camaraderie and bonding, the roots of the album began to take shape.
The success of the album was spurred by the release of their first single, “Take It Easy.” Their laid-back sound of country-infused rock garnered them mainstream attention. However, their continued success was not assured. They would need to maintain an exhaustive touring schedule, which initially paired them with progressive rock acts such as Jethro Tull and Procul Harum. The Eagles would also need continual success with each successive single dropped on the radio airwaves. Their second album, “Desperado,” would not be received with as wide acclaim as their debut had been. Songs such as “Tequila Sunrise” and “Outlaw Man” failed to resonate as their predecessors had.
Despite the initial bumps in the road, the band’s upward trajectory was helmed by the strong duo of Frey and Henley. Their songwriting improved with each album, culminating in the triumph of “Hotel California” in 1976. By their fifth album’s release, Leadon had left, Meisner soon to follow. The band was buttressed by the addition of noted guitarist and hellraiser Joe Walsh and Don Felder. Four years later, the band would be exhausted with recording, touring, and each other. A chapter was concluded, but the band still had unfinished business.
Eagles: Up Ahead in the Distance is a deep dive into the rise and fall of a rock and roll band over a tumultuous decade. Authors Rik Forgo and Steve Cafarelli provide a wealth of information about the band’s recording process, starting with their inaugural album, “Eagles,” in 1972 through the torturous development and release of “The Long Run” in 1979. The book is chockful of interesting factoids from the chart success of various singles dropped throughout the Eagles’ rise to the top of the charts to the numerous collaborations they each were involved with and their relationship with the press. The second volume in this well-written and exhaustive chronology lays all the cards on the table, from the Eagles themselves to collaborators, producers, and writers. A well-written and informative book that will appeal to fans, both old and new.
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