Eagles is the debut studio album by American rock band the Eagles. The album was recorded at London's Olympic Studios with producer Glyn Johns and released on June 1, 1972. It was an immediate success for the then-new band, reaching No. 22 on the Billboard 200 and achieving a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Three singles were released from the album, each reaching the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100: "Take It Easy" (number 12), "Witchy Woman" (number 9), and "Peaceful Easy Feeling" (number 22). The band, starting with this album, played a major role in popularizing the country rock sound.[2]

Studio album by
the Eagles
ReleasedJune 1, 1972
RecordedFebruary 1972
StudioOlympic, London; "Nightingale" recorded at Wally Heider Recording, Hollywood, Los Angeles[1]
ProducerGlyn Johns
The Eagles chronology
Singles from Eagles
  1. "Take It Easy"
    Released: May 1, 1972
  2. "Witchy Woman"
    Released: August 1, 1972
  3. "Peaceful Easy Feeling"
    Released: December 1, 1972

The album was ranked number 368 in the 2012 edition of Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time",[3] and at number 207 in the 2020 reboot of the list.[4] The single "Take It Easy" is part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll".[5]

Background edit

In 1971, the band had just been formed and signed by David Geffen, who then sent them to Aspen, Colorado, to develop as a band. For their first album, Glenn Frey wanted Glyn Johns to be the producer as they liked a number of rock albums engineered by Johns, including albums by the Rolling Stones, the Who, and Led Zeppelin. Johns was invited by Geffen to see the band perform at a club called Tulagi in Boulder, Colorado, in December 1971.[6][7] Johns, however, was not impressed by the band's live performance, thinking that it sounded confused and lacking in cohesion - Frey wanted it to be a rock & roll band while Bernie Leadon wanted a country feel—so Johns declined to produce the album.[8][9]

Johns was persuaded by Geffen to have a second listen in a rehearsal setting in Los Angeles, but Johns did not change his opinion of the band until all four started singing harmonies with acoustic guitar on a ballad written by Meisner, "Take the Devil".[10] Johns was impressed by their harmony singing, and later said: "There it was, the sound. Extraordinary blend of voices, wonderful harmony sound, just stunning."[8] In the albums he produced for the Eagles, Johns emphasized the vocal blend of the band, and he has been credited with shaping the band into "the country-rock band with those high-flyin' harmonies."[11]

Recording edit

The band went to London, where they spent two weeks recording the album at the Olympic Studios. The album cost $125,000 to produce.[12] Johns tried to introduce a more acoustic sound in the recording, and concentrated on the vocal blend and arrangements.[10] There were however frequent disagreements over the sound of the band between the producer and Frey and Don Henley during the making of the album.[12] Frey and Henley wanted a rougher rock and roll sound, while Johns was interested in using Bernie Leadon's banjo and Randy Meisner's bass to create a more country sound.[12] Frey later admitted: "[Johns] was the key to our success in a lot of ways", but added: "We just didn’t want to make another limp-wristed L.A. country-rock record."[11] Johns also instituted a no-drug and no-alcohol rule that Frey, but not Henley, was unhappy about.[12][13]

Three of the songs recorded in London feature Frey on lead vocals, another three with Meisner and two with Leadon. The chirping sound at the start of the song by Leadon and Meisner, "Earlybird", was taken from a sound effect library.[14] On "Take It Easy", Johns convinced Leadon to play double-time banjo on the song, a touch that Johns felt made the song different.[10]

Originally, Henley co-wrote and sang one song on the album, "Witchy Woman". Later, a further track, "Nightingale", was recorded in Los Angeles after Geffen and manager Elliot Roberts listened to the tape of the album and decided that it needed another song with Henley on lead vocals.[15] Johns had previously recorded a few takes of the song in London, but abandoned it as he felt it did not work. Geffen tried to get the song recorded with another production team,[16] and Johns, angered by the attempt to record "Nightingale" behind his back, then re-recorded the song with the band at Wally Heider's Studio 3 in Hollywood. Even though Johns judged this recording unsatisfactory, it was included in the album.[1]

The album was slated for Quadraphonic release and even given a Quadraphonic catalog number but it was never released in that format.[citation needed]

Artwork edit

The album artwork was created by album cover artist Gary Burden with photography by Henry Diltz. The album was initially designed as a gatefold album that would further open up into a poster; however Geffen thought it would be confusing, and glued it together so that it would not open, and the gatefold image of the band members at Joshua Tree then became orientated the wrong side up.[17] In the documentary History of the Eagles, Glenn Frey revealed that the band were all on peyote when the gatefold picture of the band members was shot in Joshua Tree National Park.[18]

Critical reception edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [19]
Christgau's Record GuideB[20]
Rolling Stone     [21]

Reviewing in 1972, Bud Scoppa of Rolling Stone believed the Eagles had "distinguished" country-rock backgrounds, and said the album is "right behind Jackson Browne's record as the best first album this year. And I could be persuaded to remove the word 'first' from that statement".[22] In Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau felt that the band wrote good songs, but he was unsure about the authenticity of their country roots so what they produced was "suave and synthetic-brilliant, but false".[20]

Allmusic's William Ruhlmann, in his retrospective review, sums up the album as balanced in terms of songwriting, but noting that the three hit singles were sung by Frey and Henley, who would later go on to dominate the band.[23] Rolling Stone listed it as number 368 on their 2012 edition of the 500 greatest albums of all time list with the comment that the album "created a new template for laid-back L.A. country-rock style".[3] It rose to number 207 in the 2020 edition of the list.[4] It was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[24]

Ultimate Classic Rock critic Sterling Whitaker rated the non-single album track "Most of Us Are Sad" as being among the Eagles' 10 most underrated songs.[25]

Commercial performance edit

The album debuted on the US Billboard 200 chart at number 102 in its first week of release,[26] rising at number 22 in its sixth week on the chart.[27] The album was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on March 20, 2001 for shipment of 1 million copies in the United States.[28]

Track listing edit

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Take It Easy"Frey3:34
2."Witchy Woman"Henley4:10
3."Chug All Night"FreyFrey3:18
4."Most of Us Are Sad"FreyRandy Meisner3:38
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."Train Leaves Here This Morning"
2."Take the Devil"MeisnerMeisner4:04
  • Leadon
  • Meisner
4."Peaceful Easy Feeling"Jack TempchinFrey4:20

Personnel edit



Charts edit

Chart (1972) Peak
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[30] 13
US Billboard 200[31] 22

Certifications edit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[32] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Silver 60,000^
United States (RIAA)[28] Platinum 1,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References edit

  1. ^ a b Johns, Glyn (November 13, 2014). "The Eagles, 1971". Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Eric Clapton, The Faces. Plume. ISBN 978-1-101-61465-5.
  2. ^ Michael Ray, ed. (December 1, 2012). Disco, Punk, New Wave, Heavy Metal, and More: Music in the 1970s and 1980s. Britannica Educational Publishing. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-61530-912-2.
  3. ^ a b "500 Greatest Albums: The Eagles – The Eagles | Rolling Stone Music | Lists". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  4. ^ a b "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2020-09-22. Retrieved 2021-09-07.
  5. ^ "Experience The Music: One Hit Wonders and The Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll". Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Brown, George (June 1, 2004). Colorado Rocks!: A Half-century of Music in Colorado. Pruett Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-87108-930-4.
  7. ^ Matt Sebastian (January 19, 2016). "Glenn Frey and the Eagles a storied part of Boulder's music history". Daily Camera.
  8. ^ a b History of the Eagles. 2013. Event occurs at 34:50–36:55.
  9. ^ Eliot, Marc (2004). To The Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles. Da Capo Press. pp. 72–73. ISBN 978-0-306-81398-6.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ a b c "Glyn Johns – Album by Album". Uncut.co.uk. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Cameron Crowe (September 25, 1975). "Rolling Stone #196: The Eagles". The Uncool.
  12. ^ a b c d Eliot, Marc (2004). To The Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles. Da Capo Press. pp. 74–75. ISBN 978-0-306-81398-6.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ History of the Eagles. 2013. Event occurs at 37:15–39:00.
  14. ^ Browne, David (June 10, 2016). "Eagles' Complete Discography: Don Henley Looks Back". Rolling Stone.
  15. ^ Eliot, Marc (2004). To The Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles. Da Capo Press. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-306-81398-6.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Bill Halverson. "Unreleased Eagles Music".
  17. ^ History of the Eagles. 2013. Event occurs at 47:20–48:00.
  18. ^ The Eagles' Greatest Hit Grantland, August 14, 2013.
  19. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Eagles". Allmusic. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  20. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: E". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 24, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  21. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (2004). Eagles. Simon and Schuster. Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  22. ^ Scoppa, Bud (June 22, 1972). "The Eagles – The Eagles". Billboard.
  23. ^ William Ruhlmann (2011). "Eagles – Eagles | AllMusic". allmusic.com. Retrieved September 13, 2011. by Frey and Henley.
  24. ^ "1001 Albums You Must Hear – 2008 Edition". rocklistmusic.co.uk. 2011. Retrieved September 13, 2011. Eagles
  25. ^ Whitaker, Sterling (January 18, 2016). "Top 10 Underrated Eagles Songs". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2023-01-09.
  26. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard. June 24, 1972.
  27. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard. August 5, 1972.
  28. ^ a b "American album certifications – Eagles – Eagles". Recording Industry Association of America.
  29. ^ "Eagles – Eagles". Discogs.
  30. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 4170". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  31. ^ "Eagles Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 6 February 2021.
  32. ^ "Warner /Elektra /Atlantic Sets Canada's AII- Time,12 -Month Sales Record - 44 Gold and Platinum Albums:Gold-Album" (PDF). Billboard. October 2, 1976. p. 63. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  33. ^ "British album certifications – Eagles – Eagles". British Phonographic Industry.