Published on July 4, 2016
The Eagles were an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. With five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and six number one albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California, were ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the United States according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and the band was ranked number 75 on the magazine’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
The Eagles are one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, having sold more than 150 million records —100 million in the U.S. alone—including 42 million copies of Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and 32 million copies of Hotel California. “Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)” was the best selling album of the 20th century in the U.S. They are the fifth-highest-selling music act and the highest-selling American band in U.S. history.
The Eagles released their self-titled debut album in 1972, which spawned three top 40 singles: “Take It Easy”, “Witchy Woman”, and “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. Their next album, Desperado (1973), was less successful than the first, only reaching number 41 on the charts; neither of its singles reached the top 40. However, the album contained two of the band’s most popular tracks: “Desperado” and “Tequila Sunrise”. They released On the Border in 1974, adding guitarist Don Felder as its fifth member midway through the recording of the album. The album generated two top 40 singles: “Already Gone” and their first number one, “Best of My Love”.
Their 1975 album One of These Nights included three top 10 singles: “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes”, and “Take It to the Limit”, the first hitting the top of the charts. The Eagles continued that success and hit their commercial peak in late 1976 with the release of Hotel California, which would go on to sell more than 16 million copies in the U.S. alone and more than 32 million copies worldwide. The album yielded two number-one singles, “New Kid in Town” and “Hotel California”. They released their last studio album for nearly 28 years in 1979 with The Long Run, which spawned three top 10 singles: “Heartache Tonight”, “The Long Run”, and “I Can’t Tell You Why”, the lead single being another chart-topping hit.
The Eagles disbanded in July 1980 but reunited in 1994 for the album Hell Freezes Over, a mix of live and new studio tracks. They toured consistently and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2007, the Eagles released Long Road Out of Eden, their first full studio album in 28 years and their sixth number one album. The next year they launched the Long Road Out of Eden Tour in support of the album. In 2013, they began the extended History of the Eagles Tour in conjunction with the band’s documentary release, History of the Eagles.
In March 2016, following the death of Frey and a tribute performance at the Grammy Awards, Henley told the BBC that the performance was a “final farewell”. In an interview with Rolling Stone on June 10, 2016, Henley confirmed the dissolution of the band.