Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dealing with The Beagles

(Or: The six essential Eagles songs.)

The new girlfriend and I have only a couple of problems so far.
She doesn't have much use for the Beatles.
And I have a big blind spot when it comes to the Eagles.
She says the Eagles were the greatest American rock group ever.
Better than Creedence?, I ask. And how about the Beach Boys?
She insists that HELL FREEZES OVER is one of the great albums of our time.
And I counter that I'm only likely to listen to it when hell freezes over.
However, the Eagles do pass my "Reason For Being Here" Test musically -- they do have half a dozen songs that I'd find it difficult to get along without. These are:
Peaceful Easy Feeling, James Dean, Outlaw Man, Seven Bridges Road, I Can't Tell You Why, The Greeks Don't Want No Freaks.
I find it hard to recommend any of the others. Though they do have more great songs than Nirvana.
However, greatness is relative. Perhaps we should discuss some of their misses....
* Many Eagles songs died long ago from overplay. "Hotel California" is Exhibit A. But also "Take it Easy," "New Kid in Town," "Best of My Love," "One of These Nights," "Lyin' Eyes," "Life in the Fast Lane," "Already Gone," "The Long Run," "Heartache Tonight," "Take it to the Limit," etc.
* They have more than their share of women problems ("Take it Easy," "Lyin' Eyes," "New Kid in Town," "Heartache Tonight," "Already Gone," "Fast Lane," etc).
* Their only lasting friendships are with men ("James Dean," "Desperado," many others).
* Then there's the whole cocaine undercurrent (THE LONG RUN, "Life in the Fast Lane," etc).
* They can be a little vague. What is "Take it to the Limit" ABOUT? And does anyone CARE? How 'bout "Hotel California"? And then there's "Desperado," which I stopped being able to hear YEARS ago....
* I keep hearing other bands in the Eagles' work -- the Byrds' country-rock phase, Buffalo Springfield, Poco. Timothy Schmit, who wrote "I Can't Tell You Why," was in Poco. So was Randy Meisner.
* I don't like how they kept ditching members of the band so it could become more and more the Don Henley and Glenn Frey show. Meisner, Bernie Leadon and later on Don Felder fell by the wayside -- then to beef up the guitars they drafted Joe Walsh. Producer Glyn Johns said in an interview in MUSICIAN back in the '80s that the Eagles were always The Don and Glenn Show, and the longer it went on, the more those two crowded everybody else out. And he was right. Felder even sued, then wrote a book about the whole mess. Don't sound like a good work environment to me.
* The Eagles could do nice mood music -- "Seven Bridges Road," "I Can't Tell You Why," "Peaceful Easy Feeling." But then they'd throw a "Witchy Woman" atcha. That was OK the first few times, but after that....
* I like "Greeks Don't Want No Freaks" because it's FUNNY. It was a shock to me that they actually knew how to crack a joke. They shoulda got their sense of humor out more often. "Disco Strangler" (also on LONG RUN) should have been funny, but it wasn't. Boy, was it wasn't.
* Then there's the whole allegedly laid-back Southern California mindset, dealt with way too often on tracks like "Fast Lane," "The Sad Cafe," "The Last Resort," "Hotel California," etc. So laid back we can't even crawl out of our beds to express our lethargy and disgust. Very SoCal, man. Sure marks the era.
Maybe it was all just bad PR. Perhaps I'm overdoing it. Wouldn't be the first time.
Any advice? Can this relationship be saved?



R S Crabb said...

I Sense trouble in paradise! :O

R S Crabb said...

I tend to look at The Eagles with some sort of discontent. They started out as country rock, rock n roll, taking elements from Poco, CSNY Byrds etc etc and turned it into their own sound. They were a more consistent than Poco but as they got more and more famous, the less I cared. We are burned out over Hotel California or Life In The Fast Lane, but I think there's some sort of cool songs not heard on radio anymore, Outlaw Man comes to mind. The fallout from Don Felder did hinder, Long Road Out Of Eden was a 2 CD snoozefest unworthy of a second listen, surprisingly Joe Walsh hasn't taken over, settling for a song or two on the albums he's played on. In The City a highlight from The Long Run. Problem was Don and Glenn took the fun out of the album, Greeks Want No Freaks, Disco Strangler the exceptions to the rule. The Long Run is not a terrible record but if I want to hear more of a band collective effort, On The Border or Desperado would be the ones I pull off the shelf.

TAD said...

Thanks for your support, Crabby. We'll be working on this. More updates soon....

R S Crabb said...

I'm pulling for both of ya! I still believe in love ;)