The Eagles

Following the footsteps of Buffalo Springfield and Poco, the Eagles were the quintessential country rock band of the 70’s. And as country music goes, they told simple stories thru song. The Eagles made their mark singing these country tunes interwoven with rock . But in spite of this rock flavor, the songs managed to warm the heart and entertain the soul.

So when the band came out with Hotel California, I admit I was taken slightly off track. With Bernie Leadon’s departure from the band, gone was the ‘peaceful easy feeling’ that I was accustomed to as the band’s musical signature was replaced by arena-rock fashion.

The timing of this stylistic shift is just suspicious for me. Remember, that this was the era of rock superstars like Elton John and Stevie Wonder who were packing in stadiums by the tens of thousands. I’m just wondering if the Eagles wanted to cash in on this trend and join the bandwagon.

Well, as history reveals itself, Hotel California is the group’s most successful album. And courtesy of Walsh and Felder, the Eagles attained that big stadium sound.
But while some critics hail Hotel California (the song) as one of the band’s signature tunes, the nightmarish metaphorical lyrics somehow don’t cut it for me.
Henley was never considered a heavyweight lyricist in the league of Bernie Taupin, Michael Franks, or maybe even Don Mclean. For me, the song’s lyrical symbols, that are allegedly metaphors to America’s excesses, seemed to go a tad overboard. So much so that the song has attracted different interpretations that are more apt than what the writer originally intended it to be.
Some songs challenge you to delve deeper into its meaning.
Others simply to entertain.
As far as the Eagles are concerned, I miss how their earlier tunes did the latter.

Few groups/artists can pull off such a stylistic shift. Top of the hat of course is The Beatles with their release of Magical Mystery Tour.
Neil Young did some crossovers (Everybody’s Rockin’, This Note’s For You) with critical but less commercial success.
So did the Eagles pull it off with Hotel California?
I can’ t really say. But I noticed that their latest release, Long Road To Eden, is a throwback to their first 4 albums and lacks the similarity in style and structure to Hotel California.
I would have thought that the band’s latest offering after 13 years would have been patterned after their most successful album.

But having said the above, I am still a big fan of the Eagles.
Having them in the portals of Rock&Roll Hall of Fame is well deserved.

Listening to their songs after all these years still gives me that “peaceful, easy feeling”. 🙂


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