n 1971 Don Henley (drums/guitar/vocals) and Glenn Frey (guitar/keyboards/vocals) met as members of singer Linda Ronstadt's band. Soon after they would form their own band when Bernie Leadon (guitar/mandolin/banjo) and Randy Meisner (bass) joined along with Ronstadt's manager, John Boylan. This first incarnation of what would become The Eagles, was intended to be a backup band.
In 1972 their status as "backup band" would be destroyed when they were signed by 'Asylum Records', for their first album. They travel to London to record with producer Glyn Johns. Their self-titled debut would subsequently be released later that same year, the first single of which, Take It Easy, earning them instant national recognition. Another single, Witchy Woman, hits #9 on the charts and the newly formed Eagles would tour through the end of the year.
While recording their follow-up album the next year, they decided they wanted a more rock-oriented sound and move recordings to California with producer Bill Szymczyk. The resulting album, Desperado (1973), is released and evolves into what becomes the group's hallmark of storyteller writing.
While recording their next album, On The Border (1974), Don Felder is hired in for guitar work. When the album is subsequently released Felder is made a permanent member of the band. The spun-off single Best of My Love hit #1 on the adult contemporary charts, placing them as a favorite among listeners. For its part, the album as a whole also gives the Eagles' their first gold single record as well as multiple Grammy nominations.
In 1975, the Eagles release their fourth album, One of These Nights. The title track One of These Nights, a rhythm and blues song, is released as a single early and helped to give the album gold certification within a week of its release. By year's end, Bernie Leadon departs from the band and is replaced by Joe Walsh.
By 1976, the band's success is still growing. 'Asylum' releases Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, the "best of..." compilation sells over a million units upon its release (7 million by year's end), earning the first RIAA platinum award given in that category. This album is also the third in history to sell at the million-unit mark upon release. The album would eventually become one of the biggest sellers in music history when it eventually went 29 times platinum (multiple diamond)! This same year, the band is also awarded its first Grammy for the single Lyin Eyes.
At years end, the adjusted membership band are back in the studio to subsequently release their next album, Hotel California. This was probably their most famous work, receiving outstanding commercial and critical success and reaching #1 on the Billboard Charts; quickly earning Gold status to sell some nine million units. The platter eventually goes 16 times platinum and wins them their second diamond award! A European and North American tour followed. In August of that year, Randy Meisner leaves the band and is replaced by Timothy B. Schmit.
1978 proves to be another successful year for the band. The Eagles receive two Grammy awards: Best Vocal Arrangement for New Kid In Town and Record of the Year for Hotel California. The band spends that year recording The Long Run to be released in 1979 (a 7 times platinum winner). The album was followed by a tour of the USA. During a recording break for this album, the Eagles released Please Come Home for Christmas and Funky New Year. The single became the first Christmas record to break into the top 20 on national music charts in over 20 years.
But it wasn't long before the band was falling apart. Over the next couple of years they spent their time honoring commitments, including the long awaited Japanese tour with a stop in Hawaii.
In 1981 the Eagle's separation was a strongly held secret until after the release of Eagles Live (1981), an album that hit #6 on the charts, eventually went 7 times platinum and their first live album. Shortly after the release of which, the members decided to go their own ways declaring that they will not get back together until "hell froze over".
14 years later, hell must have frozen over for the Eagles returned for an MTV special and a tour. The resulting live recording became the bands' 1994 release quintessentially titled Hell Freezes Over (named for Henley's recurring statement that the group would get back together "when hell freezes over"). It debuted at number 1 on the Billboard album chart. It included four new studio songs; Get Over It and Love Will Keep Us Alive both becoming Top 40 hits.
During the next two years, the band tours, breaking sales and attendance records for one of the most successful tours in music history. Hell Freezes Over went on to sell over 15 million copies.
In 1998, the Eagles were inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame.
1999, the new millennium was arriving and the Eagles decided to play a New Year's Eve show opening the new Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Later that year a four CD box set Eagles Selected Works 1972-1999 is released including highlights from that New Year's Eve show as well as hit songs throughout the bands' career.
But all was still not well within the band, however, and Felder was expelled from the lineup in February 2001. A protracted legal battle ensued when soon after, Felder filed two lawsuits against "Eagles, Ltd.," Henley, Frey and Does 1-50 for alleging wrongful termination, breach of implied-in-fact contract and breach of fiduciary duty, reportedly seeking $50 million in damages. He claimed he was coerced into accepting a re-distribution of royalties with himself receiving the lesser end of the deal. The matter ended off dismissed on May 8, 2007, after being settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.
The Eagles soldiered on as a quartet consisting of Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit to tour Europe in the summer and then releasing The Very Best of the Eagles (2003) two disc compilation to achieve minor success with the single Hole in the World. The Eagles returned with the band's seventh studio album, Long Road Out of Eden.
On January 18, 2016, founding member Glenn Frey died in the Washington Heights section of New York City at the age of 67, leaving Don Henley as the only remaining original member. According to the band's website, the causes of his death were rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia while recovering from intestinal surgery. His son, Deacon would be performing in his place place for the upcoming Classic East and Classic West events; Vince Gill would perform with the Eagles for their planned July concerts that year.