The Eagles never did anything the easy way.
That’s certainly true when it came to the creation of the cover artwork for their five ’70s studio albums. From consciousness-expanding peyote trips in the desert to an Old West-style cosplay session that kicked up so much dust the neighbors had to call the fire department, there are memorable stories behind the photographs and paintings used on famous Eagles records like Desperado, One of These Nights and Hotel California.
In a 2016 interview, Don Henley explained that the new band traveled to California’s Joshua Tree National Monument to participate in a peyote ritual a couple of times, including when the cover of its self-titled 1972 debut was shot. “There was a lot of laughter and a sense of camaraderie,” he told Rolling Stone. “It was on one of those trips that Glenn [Frey] saw a huge eagle fly right over him at a relatively low altitude. Naturally, we took it as a sign.”
In the below gallery you’ll learn how a last-minute label decision led to the Eagles flying upside down on the gatefold of their first album; how their playful recreation of the Dalton Gang’s arrest involved Jackson Browne and eventually several firemen; how the original painting used on 1974’s On the Border cost just 25 cents; and why the group was nearly sued by the owners of the building used on the cover of 1976’s Hotel California.