Monday, June 18, 2012
40 Year Itch: Hating The Eagles
[Purchase it, see if I care]
After backing up Linda Ronstadt on her 1971 album Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles --Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner-- formed their own band, signed with Asylum Records and recorded their West Coast country rock album in that sunniest of Southern California cities : uh...London, England.
That's how much the band wanted to work with Glyn Johns who had produced or engineered The Who, The Stones and Led Zeppelin. They knocked out the album in three weeks. (Not that The Eagles ever "knocked anything out". They were nothing if not perfectionists) Johns would later say "I don't think I'd been as excited since probably Led Zeppelin --they were amazing but they didn't really know what they'd got."
What they had on their debut album , released June 17, 1972, were three Top 30 US singles: the lead off track "Take It Easy" ( while writing the tune Jackson Browne got stuck at the line "I'm standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see." Frey added "It's a girl my lord in a flatbed ford/Slowing down to take a look at me"). "Witchy Woman" and "Peaceful Easy Feeling".
Naturally they'd be one of the biggest acts in the world. They'd sell millions of albums but they wouldn't sell all the critics. In his June 1972 article for Newsday, critic Robert Christgau who worte:
Another thing that interests me about the Eagles is that I hate them. "Hate" is the kind of up-tight word that automatically excludes one from polite posthippie circles, a good reason to use it, but it is also meant to convey an anguish that is very intense, yet difficult to pinpoint. Do I hate music that has been giving me pleasure all weekend, made by four human beings I've never met? Yeah, I think so. Listening to the Eagles has left me feeling alienated from things I used to love.
Maybe you've hated the good looking big men on campus for whom everything--and every hot looking girl-- comes too easily. The kind of guys who bond by chugging brews all night and telling each other about the hot chick who slowed down to take a look at them. Those are The Eagles. And because every goddamn country band in America is still trying to sound like them, I'm over them. Yeah, I hate The Eagles too.