The Eagles are known for having accommodated a number of popular musical styles into their songs. For instance, they are primarily a rock and roll band, but they occasionally included elements of folk music or blues. Many of their songs (especially on their second album, Desperado) also included notable elements of country music. Despite all of these influences, however, they managed to maintain their own sound. The songs “Take It Easy,” “Desperado,” “Hotel California,” “Heartache Tonight” and “Long Road Out of Eden” may all sound completely different from one another, yet any listener familiar with the band will instinctively recognize the stylings of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner or Joe Walsh.
Frey and Henley were especially gifted in terms of their writing abilities. All of the band members had creative input, no matter who their lineup consisted of at the time (members not mentioned above include Bernie Leadon, Don Felder and Tim Schmit), but Frey and Henley were ultimately the main songwriting duo behind some of the band’s most successful hits. Their lyrics often combined relatable feelings and emotions with vivid imagery in a way that was both smart and succinct, enabling them to inundate their albums with sensational lyrics that made it easy for their songs to achieve success.
The combined influences of multiple genres did not always come out in the music itself, but were sometimes embodied by the way in which the band combined their music with their lyrics. One of their earliest hits, “Take It Easy,” had lyrics that easily could have been written by any major country singer. The background music, however, made it clear that this was a rock and roll band.
The ability to balance disparate genres in this fashion made it easy for their music to encompass a large and diverse audience. They appealed to fans of country and folk music with songs like “Desperado,” but they also had fast-paced rock songs like “Life in the Fast Lane.” Other popular singles included “Tequila Sunrise,” “Best of My Love,” “Take It to the Limit” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling.”
The Eagles were primarily active in the 1970s, but they went through something of a revival in the 1990s. In 1994, Glen Frey stated at a performance that the band had never truly broken up but had simply taken “a fourteen-year vacation.” They went on tour together for the next couple of years, and were eventually added to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Their Hall of Fame performance was a landmark performance for the band, as it included every member that had ever been included in the Eagles’ lineup. Over the next few years, they would write some new material for the first time since 1979, eventually resulting in the release of their 2007 album Long Road Out of Eden.
The Eagles have established themselves as one of America’s most timeless rock groups, with hits such as “Hotel California” resonating with listeners that were not even born during the band’s original tenure. Their 1990s reunion showed that they still possess the traits which made them legends, from their ability to write solid lyrics to their capacity to perform instrumental parts that complement the lyrics with astounding fluidity. As long as enough members remain for them to continue performing, there is a solid chance that they will continue to please audiences everywhere with their diverse style of music.
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