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“Dirty Laundry” is the sixth track from Don Henley’s debut album, Can’t Stand Still.

“Dirty Laundry”

According to Eagles insiders, that laundry could get pretty stinky.

It’s not surprising that of all Don Henley’s massive hits — with the Eagles as well as solo — his most massive chart triumph was his first individual effort, “Dirty Laundry,” in 1982. Henley wrote the song as a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the sad state of the media biz, specifically the tawdry tabloid approach that categorized the TV industry at that time. “Crap is king,” he declared, making clear his disdain for the sensationalist tack news people pursued at the time, a trend that continues to the present day. In concert, he’s been known to dedicate the song to Rupert Murdoch and Bill O’Reilly, two men whose behaviour suggests they are direct descendants of the sleazy journalists Henley lambasted at the time.

In fact, Henley has plenty of dirty laundry of his own, so much so that the song was initially believed to be about his own missteps.


Although Henley has said the song’s inspiration drew from the intrusive media coverage generated by the deaths of certain celebrities, John Belushi and Natalie Wood in particular — he could also count himself among the media’s prey. However, in his case, Henley was hardly innocent…

On the morning of November 21, 1980, the Los Angeles fire department responded to Don Henley’s call to help someone at his house who apparently was having a seizure. The person turned out to be a naked 16-year-old girl who had been taking large amounts of cocaine and Quaaludes, while a 15-year-old girl found in the house was arrested for being under the influence of drugs.

Henley pleaded no contest to a misdemeanour charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and admitted the girl arrived after he called a madam to find girls to party with, he still claims that he didn’t have sex with her, didn’t know how old the girl was, and didn’t know how many drugs she was doing–he seems to place the blame for her mass ingestion on roadies who were at his house. In the end, Henley got a fine and two year’s probation, and avoided any harsher drug or sex-related charges.

If this was merely an isolated speed bump along the road of life… Fact is, Henley has had a long history of debauchery in his past. The book You’ll Never Make Love in This Town Again — a tell-all from four high-priced call girls with celebrity clientele — goes into Henley’s love of coke orgies. Apparently a comic in Los Angeles that “acted out” a supposed event from the book, where multiple prostitutes visited Henley in his hotel room. I won’t go into detail, except one of the call girls mentioned that she had never in her life been around anyone who reeked more of alcohol than Henley.

And while Henley kicked his drug and alcohol habits apparently some time in the 1980s, his well known egotism and flippant attitudes towards other individuals seems to have stayed well intact. According to Marc Eliot’s biography of the Eagles, this behaviour extended across his business, musical, and even personal relationships.

Henley has frequently been accused of egotism and arrogance, minor complaints compared to alleged indiscretions involving drugs, debauchery, and prostitution. The band’s history — not to mention best selling books like the Hollywood tell-all You’ll Never Make Love in This Town Again and Don Felder’s Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001) — is littered with tales of head butting between Henley and his fellow bandmates. Likewise, his torrid romance with Stevie Nicks also provided plenty of fodder for the gossip columns.

The most famous (or infamous) example of this was Henley’s relationship with Stevie Nicks right after her breakup with Lindsey Buckingham. The initially passionate relationship quickly flamed out after Nicks got pregnant, told Henley, he withdrew from the relationship and Nicks opted for an abortion, later penning the song “Sara” in tribute to the unborn child and he reacted extremely carelessly to the idea. According to Eliot, this deeply hurt Nicks, and caused her to realize that Henley had no interest in a long-term relationship. Nicks had the abortion while in the middle of the Rumours tour, and later later penning the song “Sara” in tribute to the unborn child for the Tusk album.

In 2015, Henley recalls trying to follow up 1976’s Hotel California (total sales: 32m) with 1979’s The Long Run – just as Fleetwood Mac, whose Stevie Nicks he was then dating, were struggling to match Rumours – and failing miserably before splitting, bloodily, in 1980. “We were in a dark place,” he offers. “We were doing way too many drugs, just f’d up all the time because we felt this tremendous pressure. We should have taken a year off, or hired a band psychiatrist. Or both.”

Henley decries contemporary pop culture for its crassness, but agrees the Eagles were no angels. Would he place them above Fleetwood Mac in the bad-behaviour superleague?

“No,” he says, laughing. “We didn’t sleep with each other … Zeppelin would be right up there, and the Who and the Stones. So would we. But I’ve never tried to chart it out like that. Obviously we weren’t as bad as our reputations, because we’re all still alive.”

How have they managed that? “We were binge-purge people. We didn’t debauch all the time. We had our periods of cleaning up. Plus,” he adds, “We’re genetically lucky, working-class kids from blue-collar backgrounds. We’re a bunch of tough little sons of bitches.”

Since its formation in 1971, the Los Angeles based rock band The Eagles have seen six of their albums sell more than a million copies. From left; Don Henley, drums; Joe Walsh, guitar; Randy Meisner, bass; Glenn Frey, guitar; and Don Felder, guitar. 1977. Photo. ANONYMOUS

When they first came to L.A., Glenn Frey and J. D. Souther knocked on the door of Richie Furay’s house in Laurel Canyon. Richie invited them in even though he didn’t know them; it was that kind of time. Buffalo Springfield was breaking up and Richie would go on to form Poco—one of the first four-part-harmony “country rock” bands. Glenn continued to drop by Richie’s house, sit on his floor, and watch Poco rehearse. Then, one night at the Troubador, Linda Ronstadt’s producer-manager, John Boylan, asked Glenn Frey and Don Henley if they wanted to make some money backing Linda on the road. It was in that backup touring band that Glenn and Don talked about forming the band that would become the Eagles.

In Los Angeles, Henley met Glenn Frey as they were both signed to the same label (Frey was signed to Amos Records as the duo Longbranch Pennywhistle), and they were recruited by John Boylan to be members of Linda Ronstadt’s backup band for her tour in 1971. Touring with her was the catalyst for forming a group, as Henley and Frey decided to form their own band. They were joined by Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon who also played in Ronstadt’s backing band (the four however had only played together once before as the band personnel changed) and became the Eagles.

The Eagles were formed in September 1971, and signed to David Geffen’s label Asylum Records. They released their first studio album in 1972, which contained the hit song “Take It Easy”, written by Frey and Jackson Browne. During the band’s run, Henley co-wrote (usually with Frey) most of the band’s best-known songs. “Witchy Woman”, which was co-written with Leadon, was his first commercially successful song, while “Desperado” marks the beginning of his songwriting partnership with Frey.

They toured as Linda Ronstadt’s backing band before launching the Eagles with guitarist Bernie Leadon and bassist Randy Meisner. ‘We lived for the moment,’ Henley said. ‘Our label, Asylum, booked us into a club in Aspen, Colorado, because we needed to play to people. It was a wooden shed, but we had some wild times there. It was a hippy town, and everybody was on drugs. ‘We tempered our bad habits, though. We never let bingeing get in the way of work. I’d drink and take drugs all weekend, but I’d go to the gym on Monday morning to clean it all out. We had a survival instinct.
If Joe Walsh’s 1976 arrival gave the Eagles a keener rock ’n’ roll edge, the wild-card guitarist’s unpredictable streak brought new problems. With friend Keith Moon, Walsh became known as the king of the hotel room-trash. Soon, the band were barred from all the best establishments.


Hotel California, the title track remains their most famous recording, a long and intricate rock ballad whose duelling guitar coda has been named the best solo of all time. It is ostensibly about a luxury hotel visit that crosses over to the dark side – but it is really an allegory about the hedonistic lifestyle the musicians enjoyed in the 1970s. Or at least, that’s the most popular interpretation. The song was also rumoured to be about heroin addiction, cannibalism or devil worship (the album cover allegedly shows Anton LaVey, leader of the Church of Satan).

“Everybody wants to know what that song was about, and we don’t know,” Frey said in a BBC interview in 2002.
“All of our songs were cinematic, but we wanted to open up with [a montage],” he said. “It was just one shot to the next – a picture of a guy on the highway, a picture of the hotel, the guy walks in, the door opens, strange people.

“We take this guy and make him like a character in The Magus, where every time he walks through a door, there’s a new version of reality.

“We decided to create something strange, just to see if we could do it. And then a lot was read into it – a lot more than probably exists.

“I think we achieved perfect ambiguity.” While Henley and Frey wrote the lyrics, guitarist Don Felder composed the bulk of the music, initially recording the song’s 12‑string riff in his four‑track home studio.

When a US spy plane made an emergency landing in China in 2001, the crew members were asked to recite the lyrics to prove their nationality. Apparently, their Chinese captors considered that “the song symbolised America.”

With Hotel California, the Eagles sought to capture the excesses and self-destructive behaviour that had become status quo in the rock world. It was a scene they were uniquely qualified to address. Their previous album, 1975’s One of These Nights, had spawned three Top 10 singles, and their greatest-hits album sold in such stratospheric numbers – on its way to becoming the best-selling album of the 20th century in the United States – that the RIAA had to invent to platinum certification. “We were under the microscope,” Glenn Frey said of the time. “Everybody was going to look at the next record we made and pass judgment. Henley and I were going, ‘Man, this better be good.'”

According to Don Felder’s autobiography (which Henley in part tried to have quashed, the Eagles is not a band with a democratic distribution regarding either decision making, or the pay split amongst its members, but an actual corporation, including a board containing the remaining original members of the group. With Felder kicked out, the only group members left to vote on Eagles-related matters were Henley and Glenn Frey, who, according to an article in a 2008 issue of Rolling Stone, has finally come around to deferring to Henley’s position on Eagles matters: “Without Don…we’d be Air Supply.”

The Eagles and producer Glyn Johns parted creative company after three albums because Johns had the nerve to tell them they weren’t a convincing Rock Band. He knew about Rock Bands: he’d worked with The Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and for whatever reason (the evidence of his ears, let’s say) he just didn’t feel that The Eagles cut it. The band was miffed, especially Glenn Frey, and so they switched producers and went on to become one of the biggest bands on planet earth.

The band which crafted the monumental piece, “Hotel California,” was noted for its own indulgent excesses. The four founding members of the Eagles — Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, and Don Henley, (none of them California natives) — along with their future bandmates Joe Walsh, Don Felder, and Timothy B. Schmit, arguably defined FM American rock in the ‘70s and topped the charts with numerous albums and singles. They also were surrounded by, and displayed their very own style of, curious behaviour.

Although the sounds of the group moved initially from country-rock to mostly middle-of-the-road rock, any sign of mellowness behind the scenes was practically nowhere to be found. Glenn Frey once captured the essence of his band’s history. “(We) went on the road, got crazy, got drunk, got high, had girls, played music, and made money.” Well, that actually sums up the profession as a whole. The Eagles were notorious for their wild parties, which they dubbed their ‘third encore’ after concerts, and they consisted of the band, music hangers-on and executives, and as Frey puts it, “as many beautiful girls as we’d meet from the airport to the hotel.”

“Life in the Fast Lane” was inspired by a conversation with Glenn Frey’s drug dealer at 90 miles an hour.

The Eagles’ success made them, by their own admission, well versed in most forms of debauchery: illicit pharmaceuticals, hotel destruction and elaborate forms of sex play. Some of these late nights yielded memorable lyrics. One of the album’s standout tracks was inspired by Glenn Frey’s particularly harrowing car ride with his bagman.

“I was riding shotgun in a Corvette with a drug dealer on the way to a poker game,” he recalled in 2013 documentary The History of the Eagles. “The next thing I know we’re doing 90. Holding! Big Time! I say, ‘Hey, man!’ He grins and goes, ‘Life in the fast lane!’ I thought, ‘Now there’s a song title.'”

He held onto the phrase for months, until a hard-hitting riff spilled out of Joe Walsh’s guitar during a band rehearsal. The lick stopped Frey in his tracks. He asked Walsh to repeat it, and soon realized that he was hearing the sound of life in the fast lane. From there, the song began to take root.

The final track brought Frey uncomfortably close to the drug-fueled reality that surrounded the band. “I could hardly listen to [‘Life in the Fast Lane’] when we were recording it because I was getting high a lot at the time and the song made me ill,” he told Rolling Stone in 1979. “We were trying to paint a picture that cocaine wasn’t that great. It turns on you. It messed up my back muscles, it messed up my nerves, and it messed up my stomach, and made me paranoid.”

Glenn Frey and Don Henley at Frey’s house in Los Angeles …

While most of the bandmates comforted themselves with the benefits reaped by the aforementioned pleasures, guitarist Joe Walsh was inclined to spend some occasional time redecorating. Basically, Joe followed in the footsteps of Led Zeppelin and especially, the master of thrashings, Keith Moon of The Who, and put his own brand of mayhem to the lodging industry’s tolerance test. Don Henley dismissed Joe’s proclivities as being inflated in a Spin Magazine interview. “Most of his legend looms larger than it actually was.” But he went on to say, “Frey and I made him stop that s**t eventually. There weren’t any f**king hotels we could stay in. We were gonna have to start camping out, and I thought it was pretty childish.” Exactly, what did Joe do?

He told Bam magazine in 1981 how it all would start. “So, I’ll be sitting in a hotel room wide awake, buzzin’ with the energy of the concert, thinkin’ ‘hey, where’d everybody go?” So, I would break things and smash things, have a great time, kind of blowing off steam, so I can relax and go to sleep. And I get mad, or sometimes I just enjoy it. If I’m in a Holiday Inn or a Howard Johnsons, why not break everything? They’re all cheap anyway. And its fun – you ought to try it sometime.” Irving Azoff, Joe’s manager, as well as the manager for The Eagles, told Hits magazine of a time when he and Walsh were at a Holiday Inn in New Haven, Connecticut. “Walsh was having an insomnia attack. He had his electric chainsaw along. He was next door, but there was no adjoining door, so I made one. Marshall Tucker was also on the bill (touring with The Eagles), and Toy Caldwell (Tucker’s lead guitarist) and some other people were walking around the circular Holiday Inn with mike stands, punching holes in the ceiling. It was horrible, what with the police and everything.” Azoff went on to relate his favorite Walsh trashing.

“He once pushed a piano out of…(a) top floor suite at the NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) convention. It was the Astor Towers in Chicago. They pushed a grand piano through a plate glass window…That sucker flew 22 floors and landed on the manager of the hotel’s Cadillac. What was amazing was seeing them knock out all those plate glass windows to get that piano out. And it was all because they wouldn’t let Walsh in the restaurant without a tie.”

Walsh revealed to Bam magazine his own favourite moment of demolition, which also occurred in Chicago. “It was the end of a tour, and I was mad at the record company. A vice president had come out (of his hotel room), so I trashed his whole suite. It had wallpaper like this (referring to the tacky foil-face kind), and I couldn’t stand it, so I took all the pictures down, tore all the wallpaper off, then hung the paintings back up. I said, ‘Hey, it isn’t my room – I didn’t do nothing’…He was crying and s**t – it was wonderful.”

Joe Walsh playing slide guitar with a Gibson Les Paul Special, 1975.

Don Henley brought his own mattress to each hotel during the Hotel California tour.To combat grueling tour schedules, many bands go to great lengths to approximate the comforts of home while on the road. The Eagles were no exception, even chartering an elaborate private jet for their travels. But the band’s head electrician, Joe Berry, recalls Henley’s special request for the Hotel California tour. “He insisted on having a king-size bed and mattress available at all times, which the crew had to drag around everywhere,” he told Marc Eliot in To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles. “The tour seamstress made a special cover for it, with handles, to make it easier to pack it in the truck every night. It was Don’s bed, it went everywhere.”

Henley defends this apparent extravagance by chalking it up to excruciating back pain exacerbated by the nightly performances. “I used to have to hold my body in such a position that my spine got out of alignment,” he explained to Modern Drummer. “Between playing the drums and keeping my mouth in front of the microphone, it really twisted my whole body. I got to a point in the Seventies where I literally could not sleep.”

The discomfort wasn’t helped by the poor quality bedding at their accommodations. “Hotel mattresses are awful – the worst goddamn thing in the room,” he told Eliot. “So I brought my own mattresses and had it trucked around with the equipment.” Unfortunately, the concierges were less sympathetic to Henley’s bad back. According to Berry, the mattress “never once got used, because no hotel would allow us to bring it in.”


Around the time The Eagles released their chart-topping album “One Of These Nights” in 1975, guitarist Bernie Leadon was sharing his life with live-in partner Patti Davis, daughter of former California governor and future President Ronald Reagan. A track from the LP, “I Wish You Peace” was credited to both Leadon and Davis. Patti must have thought she was an integral member of the band because she told a few friends she was now writing for the group. She exclaimed to the Las Vegas Sun newspaper, “I was very lucky. I made quite a lot of money, and I still get royalties.” Drummer Don Henley became miffed at her bragging rights, a rather harmless claim-to-fame in hindsight. He felt compelled to respond to her article, writing a letter stating that Bernie Leadon was responsible for most of the song and that Patti’s contribution was minimal at best, and just a few words. Okay, Don, take it easy. Wait, he wanted to deflate her some more. Henley alluded that he considered the song to be “smarmy cocktail music and certainly not something The Eagles are proud of.” Needless to say, Bernie didn’t quite warm to Henley’s chest-beating counterpoints. Henley later said, “There was a lot of tension in the band at that point.”

In fact, the strain really hit its breaking point after the success of the “Hotel California” album. Eagerly encouraged to come up with another smash success by Elektra, their record company, The Eagles, having replaced Leadon with Joe Walsh and Randy Meisner with Timothy B. Schmit, holed up in a Florida studio and proceeded to spend a lot of money tinkering with tunes. Frey and Henley had written most of the band’s huge hits, and had been allies, living in their big mansion in the Hollywood Hills, but by the time they started to craft “The Long Run” album, their relationship was crumbling. Frey and guitarist Don Felder were practically frothing at the mouth to tear each other apart. Henley turned his accusatory finger at Walsh, branding him a troublemaker. As the months dragged on, Elektra sent the band a rhyming dictionary to not-so-subtly help with jumpstarting their songwriting. Henley, at one point, spent time meticulously typing up a long-winded memo to the recording studio’s manager on the proper spindle direction for unrolling the toilet paper in the lavatory. He argued that, instead of dispensing from the bottom of the roll, the paper should come from the top of it; otherwise the manufacturers would have printed the little pink flowers on the underside of the sheets. (millions of dollars were being spent for this album?) Henley later claimed in Rolling Stone magazine that it was a joke, yet he was quick to counter, “Don’t you think it should come off the top?” 18 months later, the recording was complete. Frey later said to the Los Angeles Times, “I knew the Eagles were over about halfway through the “Long Run” album. I told myself I’d never go through this again. I could give you 30 reasons why, but let me be concise about it. I started the band. I got tired of it, and I quit.”

By the end of 1977, Leadon was gone, as was Meisner. Schmit arrived from Poco. Walsh, an explosive player known for destroying hotel rooms, and guitarist Felder, nicknamed “Fingers,” allowed the group to shift effortlessly from soft rock to the electric funk of “Life in the Fast Lane.” Now they just had to get along.

“I would say struggling is a good word,” Walsh says. “We were all struggling to keep doing what we were doing and more things were expected of us. I mean, one of the big things was how in the world are we going to top ‘Hotel California’?”


Before that happened, the band toured in support of their new album. During their final 1980 performance in Long Beach, California, Glenn Frey told the London Times, “we were onstage, and Felder looks back at me and says, ‘Only three more songs until I kick your ass, pal.’ And I’m saying, ‘Great, I can’t wait.’ We were singing ‘Best Of My Love,’ but inside both of us were thinking, ‘As soon as this is over, I’m going to kill him.”

The Long Run” took almost two years to finish. By then, drugs were flowing, and lyrics were not. And Felder found himself at odds with Frey and Henley, still smarting when they refused to let him sing lead on a song he had brought them, eventually recorded as “Victim of Love.” The tensions could not be hidden. On a summer night in 1980, the Eagles played a concert for then-Sen. Alan Cranston (D-Calif.). An argument between Frey and Felder spilled onto the stage, captured on tape and included in the surprisingly bare 2013 documentary “History of the Eagles.”

“I’m gonna f—in’ kill you,” Frey taunted Felder at one point. “I can’t wait.”

The Cranston gig marked the last time the Eagles would play together for 14 years.

Felder felt he should be given more opportunity to sing lead vocals. Frey, and the rest of the band, disagreed. Before the show, Frey had broken a beer bottle against the dressing room wall. Afterwards, Felder smashed his guitar before storming off into the night.

Don Felder was originally slated to sing “Victim of Love.” In addition to the title track, Felder’s primary contribution to Hotel California was the relentless “Victim of Love,” which showcased a rougher sound for the band. “We were trying to move in a heavier direction, away from country rock,” he told Songfacts. “And so I wrote 16 or 17 song ideas, kind of in a more rock & roll direction, and ‘Victim of Love’ was one of those songs. I remember we went in the studio and we recorded it live with five guys playing. The only thing that wasn’t played in a live session was the lead vocal and harmony on the choruses. Everything else was recorded live.”

In tribute to the song’s genesis, the phrase “V.O.L. is a five piece live” was proudly inscribed on the album’s run-out groove – signaling that “Victim of Love” was recorded live by the five Eagles. The message, etched by Bill Szymczyk, served as a middle finger to critics who accused them of being too clinical and soulless in the studio.

Felder himself provided lead vocals on the initial takes of the songs, but some of his bandmates were not pleased with the results. “Don Felder, for all of his talents as a guitar player, was not a singer,” Frey said in The History of the Eagles. Henley echoed the sentiment. “He sang it dozens of times over the space of a week, over and over. It simply did not come up to band standards.”

The Eagles’ manager Irving Azoff was given the task of breaking the news to him over dinner, while Henley recorded the lead part back at the studio. “It was a little bit of a bitter pill to swallow. I felt like Don was taking that song from me,” Felder said in the documentary. “But there was no way to argue with my vocal versus Don Henley’s vocal.”

The Eagles were nominated for several Grammy awards in January 1978, including the prestigious Record of the Year for “Hotel California,” but Irving Azoff didn’t buy the “It’s an honor to be nominated!” line. Despite their meteoric sales, the band’s image had taken a beating in the popular music press, and he was unwilling to subject them to any kind of PR humiliation. So when Grammy producer Pierre Cossette asked the Eagles to perform during the 20th annual ceremony, Azoff reportedly refused. The only way the band would play – or even attend – was if they were guaranteed that “Hotel California” would nab the prize.

Rigging the awards was obviously out of the question, so Azoff suggested hiding the band in a secret dressing room, where they would emerge only if their name was called for Record of the Year. This scheme was rejected, as was the request that another artist accept the award on their behalf (Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt were mentioned as possible surrogates).

When the Eagles’ ultimately won, host Andy Williams was left standing expectantly, haplessly waiting for someone to come forward and accept the honor. Azoff hastily put out a release saying that the band was in Miami working on their new album, ending the statement with a dismissive “That’s the future, this is the past.” Guitarist Timothy B. Schmit later said they watched the telecast in the midst of their band rehearsal. If they were disappointed that they weren’t there to accept the award in person, they didn’t show it. “The whole idea of a contest to see who is ‘best’ just doesn’t appeal to us,” Henley told The L.A. Times.

The Eagles were kaput. Each member splintered off to pursue their solo careers. Joe Walsh modestly submitted his 1980 nomination for the office of The President of the United States. (Think of the potential destruction to the Lincoln Bedroom!) Of the bunch, Henley scored the most media for his disturbing antics after the break-up. He was very fond of cocaine, prostitutes, and partying, not necessarily in that order.


Everyone was adamant that the band would never re-form. Glenn Frey was the most outspoken. He told Oui magazine in 1983, “I don’t want to be 39 years old with a beer belly singing “Take It Easy” because I need the money. I just think there’s a time and a place for everything, and nine years was fun, but it’s enough.” When prodded that maybe in his 40s they would reunite, Frey replied, “Never. They say, ‘Never say never.’ Well, you can print it. It will never happen.”

After the Eagles, Frey traded in his jeans for white suits and had hits with “Smuggler’s Blues” and “The Heat is On.” Henley’s ’80s material was more melancholic, including “The Boys of Summer” and “The End of the Innocence.” When asked whether they might reunite, he would famously say “when hell freezes over.” In 1990, manager Irving Azoff managed to get Henley to agree to a reunion, but Frey didn’t show for rehearsals. Three years later, he had better luck. Henley, Frey, Felder, Schmit and Walsh came together for a video shoot of Travis Tritt’s cover of “Take It Easy.”

“That’s the first time we had all been in a room together for a while, but I don’t think that precipitated the reunion,” Henley says. “I think enough time had gone by, and Irving had talked to everybody one on one. He realized that we were still a big deal, that we were still popular. We didn’t realize it, we didn’t really think about it.”

In 1994, the Eagles got back together for the “Hell Freezes Over” tour. They would continue to play live, even after firing Felder in 2001 — a dispute that led to lawsuits, resentment and the guitarist writing a tell-all memoir. Felder, who declined interview requests, urged fans on Facebook to sign a petition demanding the Eagles add him, Meisner and Leadon to the Kennedy Center Honours. medallions.

On April 25, 1994, when the full band reunited to perform on an MTV “Unplugged” program, Frey was 45 years old. I’m not sure if it could be quantified as to whether he had a beer belly or not.

In 2015, It sounded like the plot of a film noir movie. A so-called friend of Eagles and Poco bassist Randy Meisner alleges that the musician’s wife is squandering his finances and trying to drown his good buddy in alcohol. The accuser, James Newton, tells TMZ that Meisner’s wife Lana is keeping him in a “state of near-constant inebriation” and “hopes he drinks himself to death.”  He also claims the bass player is a brain-damaged alcoholic whom Lana keeps unbathed for long stretches. Perhaps not surprisingly, Newton is now taking legal action to gain conservatorship over the former Eagle’s estate, according to the celebrity news site.

The only catch is that Meisner and his wife say the allegations aren’t true. They believe Newton’s actions are part of a strange scheme to steal his assets. Speaking to TMZ, the bass player says he’s “doing great,” has given up hard liquor and enjoys a good relationship with his wife. Meisner rarely performs in public any more, due to heart problems he began experiencing in 2004, according to his website. Sadly, this isn’t the musician’s first brush with intrigue of this nature. In 1998, San Francisco police apprehended an Atlanta man named Lewis Peter Morgan after pursuing him for four years on charges related to impersonating Meisner.

Bass player Meisner was on the receiving end of disturbing behaviour throughout the ‘90s. It seems one Lewis Morgan of Atlanta, Georgia had jumped bail in Las Vegas and had begun a cross-country spree of theft, both monetarily and in identity. He was effectively passing himself off as Meisner, wooing women to spend thousands on him, absconding with their credit cards, and moving on to the next town. He was extremely knowledgeable about the music industry. Meisner and his attorneys spent the better part of the decade trying to nail the twerp. Randy told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1997, “God, I want to get this guy. It’s been eight years of this.” Strange women were contacting Meisner, accusing him of wronging them, and one went so far as to show up at one of his concerts armed with an ice pick.

Jackson Browne stood in for Frey on “Take It Easy,” a song Browne co-wrote and the Eagles perform a tribute to Glenn Frey during the 58th Grammy Awards on Feb. 15. That week, Henley, Walsh and Schmit also performed at a private memorial with several guest singers, including Glenn’s son, Deacon. That may be the last time they play together. (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)

From hell raisers to family men, The Eagles have mellowed over the years and are grateful to have survived the drugs that fuelled the sex and rock ‘n’ roll of their early years. Drummer and singer Henley, one of the band’s founders, said they behaved liked “kids” then, enjoying all the trappings that came with fame until tensions between band members led to line-up changes and their break up in 1980.

In 2013, Guitarist Joe Walsh, who joined the band in 1975 and was known for trashing hotel rooms, said he was uncomfortable seeing footage of himself in such a mess but it was important for the documentary to be honest about those years. “There was a point when we would do pretty much anything we wanted and so we did,” said Walsh a guitar great who keeps up the rock star image with long blond hair, black T-shirt and chunky necklace. He said he ran into serious trouble after the band split, with little left in his life and dependent on alcohol and drugs. He didn’t clean up his act until Henley and Frey came to him in 1993 talking about a band reunion but insisted he was sober. “That is the reason I had been waiting for all those years so it was pretty much a no brainer,” he said.

However they felt about each other, Frey and Henley did not re-form the Eagles to sloppily play though their old hits. Leadon discovered that when he rejoined the group for the “History” tour in 2013. “We went through seven weeks of rehearsals before the tour, and then each day we did a sound check and a mini-rehearsal on things that Glenn thought needed to be gone over from a previous show,” Leadon says. “In addition, every show was recorded at the mixing console, and Glenn would often say, ‘I went in and listened to this and we need to go over the vocals on this particular song.’ ”

They were older now, long past late-night parties. Henley wouldn’t even go to dinner after a gig, preferring to retire to his hotel room to rest his voice. He brought a stationary recumbent bicycle with him on the road. He’s in good health but admits drumming has left him with tingling in one hand from nerve damage and a shotgun punch in his left ear whenever he whacks a snare.

Frey’s health problems were different. As far back as the 1980s, he had been forced to cancel gigs to deal with chronic intestinal problems. His rheumatoid arthritis grew worse over the years. “He would have to tape his hands up like a football player,” says Henley. “I watched his hands, his fingers, became bigger and more gnarled and stiff. I knew what those fingers used to look like.”

Since approximately 2000, Frey suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, which affected various joints of his body. The medication that he was prescribed to control the disease eventually led to colitis and pneumonia, and in November 2015, the Eagles announced that they were postponing their appearance at the Kennedy Center Honours as Frey required surgery for intestinal problems and a lengthy recovery period. Following surgery, he was placed in a medically-induced coma at Columbia University Medical Center. Frey died there on January 18, 2016 age 67 from complications of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia, while recovering from gastrointestinal tract surgery. Medications for rheumatoid arthritis or ulcerative colitis can compromise the immune system’s ability to fight off pneumonia.

Frey was publicly mourned by his friends, fellow musicians and bandmates. At the 58th Annual Grammy Awards, the remaining members of the Eagles and Jackson Browne performed “Take It Easy” in his honour. A life-sized statue of Frey was unveiled at the Standin’ on the Corner Park in Winslow, Arizona, on September 24, 2016, to honour his song writing contributions to “Take It Easy,” made famous by the Eagles as their first single in 1972. Frey is survived by his wife Cindy and children Taylor, Deacon and Otis.

The Eagles have sold over 150 million albums worldwide, won six Grammy Awards, had five No. 1 singles, 17 Top 40 singles, and six No. 1 albums. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and are the biggest selling American band in history. As a solo artist, Henley has sold over 10 million albums worldwide, had eight Top 40 singles, won two Grammy Awards and five MTV Video Music Awards. Combined with the Eagles and as a solo artist, Henley has released 25 Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. He has also released seven studio albums with the Eagles and five as a solo artist. In 2008, he was ranked as the 87th greatest singer of all time by the Rolling Stone magazine.

While it seems The Eagles have now put away much of their rivalries and bickering, they haven’t curtailed all of their eccentric ways. A small, non-profit organization known as the National Foundation to Protect America’s Eagles operated their business out of Tennessee. Dolly Parton had adopted a few eagles and placed them in her Dollywood park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Sadly, two of them, named after Eagles songs, Desperado and Best Of My Love died of hydration in their nests in July 1995.

Don Henley even adopted an eagle from the preservation group. So, when these devotees of the feathered friends decided to start a web page, they naturally thought to list it under an eagle URL. They registered as Well, as silly as it sounds, The Eagles actually felt threatened by this action, citing copyright infringement, and sued the tiny foundation for wrongfully using their name. The preservation group’s founder said, “It’s so obvious to anybody – even a child, I think – that the reason we use the word ‘eagle’ is because that’s what we do. What other word can we use?” Happily, it’s been reported that the foundation still retains the website.

Following the death of Frey in January 2016, Henley stated in several interviews that he did not think the band would perform again. However, in March 2017 it was announced that the Eagles would be headlining two concerts in July 2017.

Back together for almost 20 years, the band is still amazed people want to hear them play. These days the fights and tensions are under control. “We are a lot more mature. We are more accepting of each other. Things changed for us in this band once people started having kids,” said Frey. The fourth member of the band, bassist Timothy B. Schmit who joined in 1977, said people might view the drug use and promiscuous behaviour in the 1970s with disapproval.

“But we had a lot of fun,” said Schmit.

In 2012, Henley was estimated to be the fourth wealthiest drummer in the world, behind Ringo Starr, Phil Collins and Dave Grohl, with a $200 million fortune. In 1995, Henley married Sharon Summerall. Performers at the wedding included Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Billy Joel, John Fogerty, Jackson Browne, Sheryl Crow, Glenn Frey, and Tony Bennett. Henley later wrote the song “Everything Is Different Now” from the album Inside Job for Sharon. Sharon has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas, with his wife and three children.


In 2017, Joe Walsh phoned up Rolling Stone for a Last Word interview, where he shared a lot of hard-earned wisdom he’s learned over his seven decades.

The worst part of success is that a lot of things come along with it that you didn’t really know you were gonna get in the package. There are distractions: Money, drugs, women, partying. You get a royalty check, and you go get a new car, and then you party, and then you get high – and then you forget what got you there in the first place. It’s all ego stuff. When you’re young it’s really easy to lose your perspective, which I did, really losing sight of who I was. I started believing I was who everybody thought I was, which was a crazy rock star. You know “Life’s Been Good,” that story. It took me away from working at my craft. Me and a lot of the guys I ran with, we were just party monsters, and it was a real challenge to stay alive and end up on the other end of it.

Joe also said, “When I got a nice royalty check from the Eagles, I had always had this fantasy, basically, of “Oh man, I’m gonna get some land and I’m gonna get out in the country. I’m gonna live off the grid. I’m gonna hunt like Ted Nugent and chop my own wood.” So I found this farm in Vermont that had an 80-year old farmhouse, it had a lake, and almost a square mile, like 800 acres. And I thought, “That’s it, that’s it.” And it cost a lot of money, but I got it. And I showed up and I thought, “Wow.”

Then I had to live it. And it was too hard. There was no time for music. I had to get up at five in the morning because there was so much to do. Chopping your own wood ain’t fun and the winters ain’t fun. Just to take care of the place is a full-time job, and I couldn’t find anybody to do that for me so I could just visit my cool place.  Some things are just better off being a fantasy. I spent a lot of money to find that out, but I sold the farm in three years because it was too hard. I just saw the cool part of it, I didn’t see the “living it.”

Joe Walsh has been married five times. Walsh’s eldest daughter, Emma Kristen, was born in 1971 and died in 1974 at 3 years of age as a result of injuries suffered in an automobile accident on her way to nursery school.

WALSH: “It affected my life perspective in that probably the worst thing that can happen to someone is losing a child. That happened to me, so I know. That was a long time ago, and I’m at peace with it now. I wrote a song for her on my album So What. It’s called “Song for Emma,” and it was a kind of goodbye to her. That song was good because it gave me closure on it, and I could move on. I think of her often, and she was a good little kid. Having had that experience, sometimes I am in a position to be able to comfort people. I’m in a position to put an arm around them and tell them they are not alone. I’ve talked to several parents whose sons were killed in Iraq or Afghanistan, and they know about my daughter. Sometimes they’ll contact me to let me know their kids were killed in the war and that they were fans, or that my music really helped them deal with their grief. That’s a good thing that came out of it.”

When discussing their relationship, in 2007 Stevie Nicks described Walsh as the “great, great love of [her] life. Walsh said, “I’m very humbled by it. She’s a great songwriter, a great singer and a great person. We spent about a year together, and she helped me write a bunch of music, and I helped her write her music. We had a great relationship. Romantically, it shifted, but in terms of friends and respect for each other, that’s all still there.”

The one aspect of his heyday he doesn’t miss is the drugs. Walsh battled alcohol and cocaine addiction for over two decades, cleaning up before the Eagles reunited in 1994, after 14 years and the declaration that they would get back together “when Hell freezes over.”

“It wasn’t like you flick a switch, and you’re sober. It takes a while. You have to learn how to do everything all over again.”

In 1989 while touring with New Zealand band Herbs, Walsh experienced an “epiphany” during a visit to an ancient Māori pā site in the Hawke’s Bay region. In 2004 on a return visit to New Zealand, Walsh described the experience and referred to it as the beginning of his recovery from his addiction. Walsh related the story that in 1994 he woke up after blacking out on an airplane to Paris. When he arrived, he had his passport, but did not remember getting on the plane. That was his turning point, and he has been sober ever since.

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