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History of the Eagles is a 2013 two-part authorized documentary about the career of the Eagles, directed by Alison Ellwood and co-produced by Alex Gibney.

Summary Edit

The first part - two hours long - tells about how the band members became fascinated with making music when they were young and how they got together and began in early 1971 as a backing band for Linda Ronstadt before Don Henley and Glenn Frey decided they wanted to have their own group. Linda Ronstadt was supportive to them and advised them to get banjo player Bernie Leadon and they also wanted to recruite Randy Meisner - who could sing high notes - for their new-to-form band. We see how a surprising range of stars helped the group during their early years and they soon signed with Asylum Records, a new label started by David Geffen. They flew to England and recorded their debut album Eagles (1972) there with producer Glyn Johns, which spawned three Top 40 singles and propelled the Eagles to stardom. Don and Glenn explain how they got to the band's name, how they became a songwriting team and how they learned to write songs. We see how they weren't pleased with how their second - cowboy themed - album Desperado (1973) sounded and that they wanted to gain more influence over the recording process. Moreover they wanted to break away from the country rock style and move more towards hard rock. When they heard Joe Walsh's album The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get they decided: "That's what we want to sound like.", so they turned to Bill Szymczyk who was Walsh's producer, to produce the rest of the album they were making at the time: On the Border (1974). They felt they needed another guitarist now they have a more rock sound and they Don Felder.

Bernie Leadon had a hard time when the band was shifting away from their country roots, and as well as the inner-band conflicts it made him decide to quit the band and the aforementioned Joe Walsh would replace him, of whom Don Henley said "You never knew what he was going to do next, and it was fun most of the time, although not all the time...".

Later Randy Meisner departs from the band too, as he didn't like to sing the high notes on "his" song Take It to the Limit and couldn't stand the inner-band fights and the touring anymore.

Don Felder wanted to sing Victim of Love on the Hotel California (1976) album as he said "everyone was promised a song" and the song was initially recorded with Don Felder on lead vocals. He sang it dozens of times over the span of a week over and over, but according to Henley nobody was promised anything and it simply didn't come up to band standards. Irving Azoff - the Eagles' manager - took Don Felder out while the others were in the studio and put Henley's vocal on. It all resulted in an on-stage fight between Felder and Frey during the famous 1980 Long Beach concert that essentialy ended the group.

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