In the genre of classic folk rock, The Eagles are a household name. A band formed in the city of Los Angeles, California, The Eagles have reached the country’s ears nationwide with songs of love, loss, hope, and demise. From their beginnings in 1971, The Eagles have continued to stay relevant in the music industry, touring the world with songs that have withstood the test of time as well as new songs that have continued to be accepted by fans worldwide. Their vocals, their instrumentals, and their overall signature soft rock, blues, and country blend together to create the familiar “cruising with the top-down on a road trip through Route 66” Americana feel.
10: New Kid In Town, 1976. Off of their 1976 album Hotel California, New Kid in Town quickly gained deserved recognition as a number one hit in the US. Glenn Frey takes lead vocals with Don Henley as supporting harmony singing the unforgettable lyrics of a romance that could, but never did. New Kid in Town earned a Grammy award for “Best Arrangement of Voices.”
9: Victim of Love, 1976. Another great hit off of Hotel California, Victim of Love was an ambitious move out of the Eagle’s country style music. Don Felder wrote Victim of Love in trying to lead the band in the direction of a harder, more rock ‘n roll sound. There is no doubt denying this change throughout the song, from the introductory riff to the staccato electric guitar that follows throughout the song. Very bold move and still very Eagles in its quality.
8: The Long Run, 1979. This song was released off the album The Long Run in 1979, the year before the band’s dismemberment. This album was the first to feature new bassist and vocalist Timothy B. Schmit (who replaced the original Eagle, Randy Meisner) and the last to feature Don Felder. This song plays encapsulates the feel good style and soul of the classic Memphis sound adding a dash of funk and R&B to their rock persona.
7: Take It To The Limit, 1975. Written by Meisner, Henley and Frey, this song talks about an unfortunate love lost, but has a melody that is far from depressing. What’s interesting about this song is that it is one of the few that features lead vocals not from Henley or Frey, but from Meisner. Take it to the Limit became Meisner’s signature song and was a staple in Eagle’s concerts.
6: Love Will Keep Us Alive, 1994. Not written by any of the Eagles, this love ballad was first introduced to the public during the “Hell Freezes Over” reunion tour. This song has an almost lullaby like quality to it, from acoustic guitar melody, the accompaniment of the electric guitar’s soft “twangs” that are noted throughout, and the gentle lead vocals led by Schmit. It was never released as a single off their Hell Freezes Over album, but did earn great fame. It led the Billboard adult contemporary chart at first place for three weeks in 1995. One listen to the song, and it’s easy to see why.
5: Heartache Tonight, 1979. Bob Seger (Old Time Rock ‘n Roll) another noted rocker of the age, a long time friend and mentor to Frey, helped co-write Heartache Tonight. The chorus in particular replicates that Seger style. This toe tapping, hands clapping melody won a Grammy for Best Rock Vocal Performance By A Duo Or Group.
4: Lyin’ Eyes, 1975. Another Grammy award-winning song, Lyin’ Eyes tells the story of an unhappily married woman searching for the feeling of a refreshing new love in the arms of another man. She continues the affair, leaving her husband to meet him in a secret rendezvous, and although it is happiness she is searching for, she finds nothing but guilt and regret. In the Hell Freezes Over concert DVD, the Eagles said they were inspired by the many young Hollywood women married to usually older, richer men wondering if these women were ever really happy.
3: Tequila Sunrise, 1973. Writers Frey and Henley wrote this song and backed it up with melodies of the country. A song off their second album, it told the story of a shy “hired hand workin’ on the dreams he planned to try” who meets a woman, but is reluctant to talk to her. “Take another shot of courage”, a genius line, ties the song together. Another shot of any strong alcohol would give anyone the courage to speak, however for this guy, “The right words never come.” The words in the song, however, are perfect.
2: Best of My Love, 1974. Released off of their third album, On The Border, Best of My Love became Billboard Hot 100 number one for the Eagles. The steel guitar that carries the song throughout gives the song its’ recognizable country feel. The chorus in Best of My Love features the stunning vocals and harmony that only the Eagles can give. Although this song may seem like a sentiment of love, it is another “break-up song”, but still tastefully done. One would never notice the sad sentiment and would call it a true love song.
1: Hotel California, 1976. But of course Hotel California is the Eagles’ number one hit. Everything in this song is perfect. From the almost sinister bass line to the ending guitar solos, Hotel California is the most recognizable Eagles tune. The lyrics are nothing short of incredible, full of meaning and longing to be deciphered. Hotel California caters to all the senses from the “cool wind in my hair” to the “warm smell of colitas” to the “pink champagne on ice.” It is a metaphor to the dream of success and fame, how it pulls you in. It talks about losing your character to gain the world, and once you’ve realized, you’ve realized it too late. “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”