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The Eagles were unquestionably the biggest mainstream American rock band to emerge in the 1970s. Not only did they sell more records and concert tickets than their peers -- Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) and Hotel California are two of the biggest-selling albums of all time -- but they captured the shifting zeitgeist of the '70s, riding the country-rock hippie hangover at the end of the '60s until it reached the slick, expensive, and expansive pop/rock of Southern California in the late '70s. Co-leaders Don Henley and Glenn Frey didn't seem like brothers, but rather partners who made a pact to lead a coolly professional outfit designed to maximize their impact. This was not a group of teenage friends who played local dances together. Every one of the original members -- Henley, Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner -- had headed toward LA with different bands and once those groups fell apart, they stuck around town, playing whatever gig that happened to show up. For all four, one of those gigs was supporting Linda Ronstadt in 1971. The chemistry was evident on-stage and in the studio, so the quartet decided to form a band, releasing their debut in 1972. Hits came swiftly but stardom didn't settle in until the latter half of the decade, after 1975's One of These Nights became a smash. Soon afterward, Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) turned their early years into canon and then came 1976's Hotel California, a record that defined all manners of '70s excess. By that point, the band's lineup had shifted -- Leadon and Meisner were out, as was Leadon's replacement Don Felder; guitarist Joe Walsh and bassist Timothy B Schmit were in -- and the group turned out to be ill-equipped to handle their mega-stardom. One more record, 1979's The Long Run, appeared before the band split, with Henley and Frey achieving considerable solo success during the '80s. Rumors of reunions never abated, not even when Henley quipped that hell would freeze over before the Eagles would play again and, eventually, an album materialized in 1993, when the Hotel California-era band adopted the MTV Unplugged format for their own needs on an album naturally called Hell Freezes Over. From that point on, Eagles tours were regular events -- sometimes they were ambitious endeavors, sometimes they were a gig or two, the one thing in common being their success -- and although the group continued to thrive on the existence of its back catalog, they recorded a brand-new double-album called Long Road Out of Eden, a record that once again put the Eagles on the top of the charts in 2007.


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