Eagles revolved around the axis of a partnership with Don Henley for most of Glenn Frey‘s life. This complete guide to Eagles lineup changes makes clear, however, that the band didn’t start that way – and it won’t end that way either.
Their self-titled 10-song debut featured eight songs that were written or co-written by others. In fact, Frey and Henley didn’t collaborate on an Eagles song until 1973’s Desperado LP. Fast forward decades later, and the Eagles could be found continuing after Frey’s sudden passing, initially with his son Deacon taking over alongside stalwart members Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit.
In between, Bernie Leadon and Don Felder made important contributions. For the country rock-leaning Leadon, that meant playing a key role in their earliest albums, where he co-wrote songs like “Witchy Woman,” “Saturday Night” and the title track from 1974’s On the Border. Felder’s arrival helped the Eagles transition from those rootsy sounds toward the more rock-oriented era with Walsh and Randy Meisner, while others added a touch of soaring romanticism: Meisner was the voice behind “Take It to the Limit” and “Try and Love Again,” while Schmit sang “I Can’t Tell You Why” and “Love Will Keep Us Alive.”
When Felder was fired in 2001, only two members of the Eagles – Frey and Henley – had enjoyed longer tenures in the band, and they dominated the next era. Long Road Out of Eden arrived six years later as the Eagles’ first LP of all-new material since 1979, and the duo wrote or co-wrote 14 of its 19 tracks. That made it all the more surprising when the Eagles decided to go on following Frey’s death in 2016.
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