Many consider the Eagles one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Whether you like them or not, their brand of SoCal rock changed popular music and sold millions of albums. But the band backstage led a more stressful and argumentative lifestyle than their easy-going songs may suggest. A decade of super-hits and sold-out shows was also marked with blowouts, brawls, and enough white powder to down an elephant. The Eagles' rapidly changing roster and the egos that drove band members apart are the stuff of rock 'n' roll history.
Like other early '70s music legends, such as Fleetwood Mac, the personalities behind the band are often just as memorable as their hit songs. These Eagles behind-the-scenes stories show what these artists went through to tell America to "Take It Easy."
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They Used Enough Coke To Clog A Mixing Board
The music scene was rife with hard substances in the 1970s, but the Eagles were especially notorious users. While sharing sessions with the Eagles at a recording studio in 1976, Black Sabbath member Geezer Butler claimed they left "about a pound" of coke in the mixing board that had to be scraped out before they could use the machine.
Glenn Frey recalled a time he shared a ride with an inebriated dealer going 90 mph. When Frey expressed concern, the dealer supposedly only said, "Life in the fast lane!" which later inspired the band's subsequent hit.
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They Had To Record Their Final Album In Separate Locations
After breaking up, the Eagles still owed another album to Asylum Records - which had merged with Elektra Records. They decided to release an album of live tracks, 1980's Eagles Live, to fulfill the obligation, but it required new recordings.
By this time, the band members reportedly hated each other to the extent that they refused to meet up even for brief sessions. Producer Bill Szymczyk allegedly had to piece together harmonies by phone and mail.
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Band Members Secretly Erased Don Felder's Lead Vocals
Don Felder started as the Eagles' acclaimed guitarist in 1974, but he got his first chance to sing lead on the track titled "Victim of Love" for Hotel California. Felder co-wrote the song and recorded take after take to get the sound right, but his bandmates were not pleased. Glenn Frey later said, "Don Felder, for all of his talents as a guitar player, was not a singer."
Their manager, Irving Azoff, took Felder to dinner as a coverup while the other Eagles members wiped Felder's vocals and recorded over them. While Felder eventually found out and admitted the end result was better, he apparently never forgot the deception.
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They Refused To Record Two Songs That Would Have Netted $2 Million
The Eagles' recording label, Asylum, pushed hard to resolve the group's differences while putting together Eagles Live. They allegedly offered the band members a total of $2 million to record two new songs for the album.
In the end, though, the antagonism among the band members was too great - the Eagles reportedly turned the offer down.