As a teenager I enjoyed the first three albums quite a bit, in particular 1974’s ‘On the Border’ and to this day it’s one of only two Eagles discs I own.
Written by: Eric
ALBUM: On The Border
CD REISSUE: 1999, Asylum 7E-1004-2
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Glenn Fry – vocals, guitar, slide guitar, piano * Don Henley – vocals, drums * Bernie Leadon – vocals, guitar, banjo, steel guitar * Don Felder – guitar, slide guitar * Randy Meisner – vocals, bass
TRACK LISTING: 01 Already Gone * 02 You Never Cry Like A Lover * 03 Midnight Flyer * 04 My Man * 05 On The Border * 06 James Dean * 07 Ol’55 * 08 Is It True? * 09 Good Day In Hell * 10 The Best Of My Love
WEBLINKS: Site Link
I’ve gone on record several times in my dislike for the Eagles. Really not so much their music, although I could go the rest of my life without ever hearing anything off the ‘Hotel California’ and ‘The Long Run’ albums again. It’s Glenn Frey and Don Henley whose arrogance is well documented in both print and film that bug me most. Check out Don Felder’s recent bio ‘Heaven And Hell: My Life in the Eagles 1974-2001’ for further insight into this ruthless bunch.
With that said, as a teenager I enjoyed the first three albums quite a bit, in particular 1974’s ‘On the Border’ and to this day it’s one of only two Eagles discs I own, the other being ‘Desperado’ which was released the year previous.
It was recording ‘Desperado’ when the Eagles felt under producer Glyn Johns direction they were becoming a little too country and not enough rock ‘n roll. Wanting a harder edge for the next album Bill Szymczyk was brought in to produce as well as Felder to beef up the band’s sound. Szymczyk of course had previously produced James Gang and Jo Jo Gunne and some of that sound can be found here.
Radio classic ‘Already Gone’ kicks off the album with Felder’s influence felt immediately. With Frey on lead vocals, its Randy Meisner’s background vocals that made the early Eagles sound what it was and he hits it out of the park on this tune.
‘You Never Cry Like A Lover’ finds Henley in a rare poignant mood and it’s certainly of his best while ‘Midnight Flyer’ with Meisner on lead is similar to the stuff Poco were doing at the time.. The funky title track rocks hard with a clear message to America’s ‘leaders’ who at the time were struggling to grapple with Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal.
‘James Dean’ never did much for me although far better is ‘Good Day In Hell’ featuring some mean slide guitar from Felder and sounding very much like early REO Speedwagon who the Eagles toured with the same year.
And then there’s ‘Best Of My Love’. Written by Henley, Fry and JD Souther, the song went to number 1 in early 1975 as it should have. A sweet, simple melody with a tremendous hook and beautiful chorus, they don’t make ’em like this anymore.
The Eagles would scale dizzying height of popularity while becoming the epitome of 70’s rock star excess and although my interest waned early on, they’ve left an indelible mark on both rock and country music.
Entire Album (Select Tracks)