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Eagles' Sweet 16 (IMHO)


LC

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I've always felt I liked Don Henley's songs a hair better than Glenn Frey's, so I thought I'd make a list. My Sweet 16 Eagles songs, with an invitation for you to post yours:

1. "Hotel California": An iconic song that, for me, holds up well. Writers: Henley, Frey, and Don Felder.

2. "Lyin' Eyes": You couldn't (and can't) listen to this without visualizing the dark story-song inside. Amid so many love songs of the '70s, this one was about a purely evil woman... but with a cool country-ish melody. "City girls just seem to find out early how to open doors with just a smile..." What a great line. 

3. "Take It Easy": Frey and pal Jackson Browne wrote this one, which to me has always been the prototypical Eagles sound. "Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy."

4. "Tequila Sunrise": So classic — one that I might have taken for granted for a lot of years, but it's holding up so well.... "Take another shot of courage, wonder why the right words never come."

5. "One of These Nights": Such a cool, dark, almost grungy song that seemed a lot different than earlier Eagles hits. Actually, this was the song that really made me a fan of the Eagles, back in 9th or 10th grade. It was always on the radio, and a girl I knew said the "ooh-oohs" in the chorus sent chills up her spine. 

6. "Peaceful Easy Feeling": Another song that, if you wanted to describe the Eagles' appeal in a few minutes, would do the trick.

7. "I Can't Tell You Why": Timothy B. Schmidt (co-writing with Frey and Henley) does a great lead vocal on this moody ballad.

8. "Wasted Time": A hopelessly sad ballad—love it.

9. "New Kid in Town": This came out when I was in high school and had just moved out of state for my senior year. I was definitely the new kid in town, so I could relate. (Writers: Henley, Frey, JD Souther)

10. "Best of My Love": Henley lead vocal, written by Henley, Frey, Souther.

11. "Pretty Maids All in a Row": A Joe Walsh (with Joe Vitale) song that has always stood out, for me, on the Hotel California album.

12. "Try and Love Again": Same with this Randy Meisner song—part of what prevented me from ignoring Side 2 of Hotel California.

13. "Ol' 55:" An underrated Eagles song overshadowed by all those hits. I love the shared lead vocal by Frey and Henley. 

14. "Already Gone." Perfect flip-off cruisin' song (written by Jack Tempchin, Robb Strandlund).

15. "Desperado": Maybe a bit overplayed, but I couldn't leave it off. There are days where I might put this at No. 1 on my list, too.

16. "Love Will Keep Us Alive": Paul Carrack co-wrote this with Jim Capaldi and Pete Vale. Great vocal by Schmidt.

 

So there's my assignment to myself: Put all those songs into a playlist, in that order. Really, it's just another "greatest hits" compilation, mostly.

(Obvious choices I left off: "Take It to the Limit," "Heartache Tonight," "Long Run," "Witchy Woman," "Doolin' Dalton," "Life in the Fast Lane," "Seven Bridges Road," "After the Thrill Is Gone".... man they have a deep catalog.)

 

PS: Solo Eagles? A quick favorite five:

1. Henley: "The Boys of Summer"—I've always dug the urgency, feel, regret, and energy of this song, and everything else about it.

2. Henley: "End of the Innocence"—Henley made radio more palatable in the '80s, with "Dirty Laundry," "Leather and Lace," "Boys of Summer," and this song all in a row.  

3. Walsh: "Life's Been Good"—Humor has a place in rock'n'roll, and who better than Joe Walsh to handle it?

4. Frey: "The One You Love"—Awesome ballad. I love the premise and the wording ("Are you gonna stay with the one who loves you, or are you going back to the one you love?"). 

5. Walsh: "Rocky Mountain Way"—Classic rock at its most classic. (Cheated a little, because this came out before Walsh joined the Eagles.)

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Your list is great!  

I would maybe add "Seven Bridges Road"  somewhere

hmmm I also like  "Heartache Tonight" and "Take it to the Limit"  - oops, I just saw that these 3 are in your other obvious choices - you had a lot of great info in your post and some great lyrics as well!! I shouldn't have skimmed over so fast!
 

I will have to give Ol' 55 a listen!

can we make it a top 20?

Your two Henley solos are my favorites of his also. I really loved "Leather and Lace" with Stevie Nicks when that came out!

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It´s a great list LC, I don´t disagree with any of them, though "One of these nights" is possibly my least favorite Eagles song, ironically it is the song that got myself and my Friends into the Eagles, anyway..

To me  what is salient here is the fact I will list several songs you didn´t list, off the top of my head, and each one is great enough to be the best song of many other bands.  That´s saying something.  The ones that come right to mind that you didn´t list: 

"Tryin"...great Meisner rocker I can relate to.

"Waiting in the weeds", "Do Something"....both brilliant songs from their 2008 álbum "Long Road out of Eden".....both are as good as anything they did in the 70s.

"Saturday Night"....a buried gem from Desperado.

"Hollywood Waltz"...my favorite from "One of these nights", though if I hadn´t Heard Lyin Eyes so often on the radio it would be my favorite from that álbum.

"My Man"....Bernie Leadon´s best, sometimes I think this is the best Eagles song of them all.

"The Last Resort"...this is so great it would be the signature song of 96% of the bands out there if they had the talent to write this one.  Arguably the Eagles greatest song.

"Is it true".....another one that is so great on some days it is my favorite Eagles song.  I think Hollies65 thought this one to be the Eagles best song.

"Take the Devil"....everybody says the Eagles didn´t rock till Felder and Walsh.  Not true.  This is as heavy as anything they did and it´s from their first álbum.  "Chug all night" rocked hard also and it was also from their first álbum.

........so many other songs we could include here, They were probably the most consistent band of them all with respect to having wall-to-wall good - great songs on every álbum.

Great thread LC, great job as always,

James

P.S. sorry about the accents and mistaken capital letters.  For some reason on this site only my spell check wants to do these things, and I´m often too busy to go back and edit.


 

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P.S.  Some misc thoughts:

Those guys were not so great as solo artists, IMHO....From Frey I liked "True Love" and that´s about it, at least from the songs I Heard.  Henley had a lot of bad songs on the couple albums I bought, having said that, "Heart of the Matter" is as great as any Eagles song, and "Last Worthless Evening" is up there with it.

"Pretty Maids all in a row".....a buried treasure,.....that song does something to me, so so great.  Followed on the álbum by my favorite Eagles song, "Try and love again".

And yeah, "Ole 55" is a perfect song, ..though they didn´t write it.  It´s also one of those that on some days could be their best song.

Lastly, the song "Long Road out of Eden"....probably their most adventerous song of them all,...I loved that song, it´s powerful, but sitll has a lot of latent power that, IMHO, needed Felder playing guitar to bring that power out, along with an adjustment in the production/arrangement.

Ok, I´ll shut up and look forward to reading some more comments from you guys.

:-)

 

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Great list, Larry! I am a huge fan of the songs "New Kid In Town", "Ole 55", "Desperado", "New York MInute" and "Heartache Tonight", so they might be a bit higher on my personal list, but you really hit the nail on the head.

I will tell you a funny story about the Glenn Frey tune "The One You Love"....back when that 45 came out, I worked at an accounting firm in downtown Chicago and the boss was quite a ladies man. He knew I was a musician and asked me if I would play a couple of songs at the holiday party on the piano and sing. So, I got this great idea from my youth playing weddings where people came up and offered the bride a dollar to dance with her. Knowing what a cheapskate the boss was and his liking for the ladies, I suggested we do that with HIM! So, I ended up doing about a twenty minute version of that Frey song, which was really popular at the time, and all the women were giving him money to dance with him, which he casually slipped inside his suit coat! Everyone dug it and he was in his glory....that was on a Friday night and on that next Monday morning, I got called into the bosses office, thinking "Uh-oh" and got promoted to supervisor at the new location! Haha! It pays to know what your boss likes.........

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Thanks, BHP, and great story. Too bad your "One You Love" jam was before the days of cell phones — or we'd be able to call up that session on YouTube! 

James, thanks also for the post-analysis. I'm with you on "Pretty Maids" and "Try and Love Again," per their lofty placement on my own list. Same with the underrated "Ole 55."  I'll have to give another listen to some of the deeper cuts you mentioned — I have the CDs, but it's been a long time.

I keep hearing people say the Eagles were the soundtrack to their growing-up and teen years. I totally get that — they were so enormous in the '70s....

--LC

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My good friend, Pat, told me about this thread. I have not been on this site in ??? years. People who have known me since EC.COM first came to be, know that the Eagles have been my favourite band for the last 45 years. They were a band that I grew up with, a band whose songs marked many important moments in my life. I wrote the following note on FB after the passing of Glenn Frey. Pat thought that I should share it here. Apologies for the length:

The Eagles, Glenn Frey & the days of youth

I’ve told this story many times, so apologies for the redundancy. If you follow me on FB, you know that my favourite band in the early 1970’s was, Raspberries. After their last album in 1974 and eventual breakup, I felt a musical void. Was there another band that I could be passionate about? Hey, I was 14, give me a break for being over-sensitive! ;)

As I approached those introspective late teenage years, I started to focus on singer-songwriters, and the especially the sounds coming out of California. It was a fertile, creative time in Southern California, as an unprecedented number of artists such as Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, and the Eagles, were starting to make inroads. The quality of the songs that these musicians were writing, and especially the lyrics, connected with me immediately. Right from the start, there was something about the Eagles that intrigued me. Sure I was aware of the early hits such as “Take It Easy,” and “The Best of My Love,” but I hadn’t spent any time with their music. For me it was always about vocals, strong melodies and musicianship, the Eagles seemed to have each of these qualities in spades.

A Christmas 1975 gift was the album ‘One Of these Nights.’ My homework began. I started reading everything I could find on the Eagles. Back then you had to wait for a monthly music magazine (in my case, Hit Parader and Circus), because there were few other resources available. I also backtracked and purchased their previous three albums, ‘On the Border,’ ‘Desperado,’ and their self-titled first album. I was overwhelmed by the vocals, the strong songwriting, and the guitar interplay between Bernie Leadon (later Don Felder) and Glenn Frey was melodic heaven. Don Henley and Frey were writing songs that spoke to me on every level. Yes, I had found my new Raspberries.

The strength of a well-constructed song cannot be denied. The Eagles sought perfection with their music, and most of the time (imo), succeeded. Yes there was an over-attention to detail that alienated many critics and music fans, and I’ll admit there were times I wished they would just release the music and not fret over every single note. Regardless, in my mind, every aspect of every song was brilliantly arranged (thank you, Glenn Frey) and showed that at times their devotion to perfection was worth the struggle.

When a beloved musician dies, it always hits me hard. I know that one person is no more important than another, but I’m affected by music because of its force throughout my life. Elvis’ death in 1977 was the first musician death that I remember clearly. Even though he was not of my generation, it resonated with me because his music was very popular in our household. The first musician death that did have a tangible effect on me was John Lennon in 1980. I clearly recall the tears that seemed to last forever, and how for many it seemed like the end of their dreams. The end of their youth.
 
And that’s what it comes down to - beyond the music, there is this sense of a loss of youth. I have this impossible wish that these musicians will grow old with me. I imagine that comes mostly from emotion and nostalgia. The reality of course is, that as I get older it’s inevitable that these musicians that were part of my youth, musicians who are 10-20 years older than me, will pass. Glenn Frey’s passing reminds me how easy it is for people you’ve never met to still have an impact on your life. At the same time it also feels like someone tugging at my youth, saying, “I guess it’s time to let go.”
 
It seems like yesterday since my initial indoctrination to the Eagles. I’ve taken that ride now for close to 45 years, and never looked back. Even when the band took a recording and touring ‘break’ from 1980 to 1994, they were never far from my thoughts, my turntable or my guitar. Radio and their respective solo careers kept them alive in my heart. For some who are reading, these words will come across as over-the-top. For others who might be like me – those who have had music be a touchstone in their lives, connecting them to events - you’ll nod your head and say, “I get it.” The days of youth passed a long time ago and that’s ok, because that special music that formed my youth, will be with me forever. #RIPGlennFrey
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Very nice, Marv. I totally get it. 

Our "life soundtracks" are very similar, you know. And as our musical heroes disappear, it can be tough on us. I'm not as "deep" of an Eagles fan as you are, but I do love that sound and always have. Those great old songs mean a lot to those of us who grew up in that era....

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  • 2 years later...

Got a half hour? Here's an awesome vintage Eagles clip that I sometimes play when I'm trying to get out of the office in 30 minutes.... It's sort of a pleasant timer: "New Kid in Town," "Take It to the Limit" (which I severely underrated on my Sweet 16 list—I think In need to swap it with "Ol' 55"), "Lyin' Eyes," and a killer "Rocky Mountain Way." Check it out if you haven't seen it. Glenn Frey was pretty cool.

 

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