Life in the Fast Lane

Mick Wall
Life in the Fast Lane

Despite personality conflicts and substances galore, The Eagles created impeccably crafted music. Mick Wall’s book explains how Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Don Felder, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit became an all-time best-selling act, exemplifying ’70s self-indulgence.

Frey and Henley bulldozed the rest of the band members for control; later, Walsh and Schmit hung on for the ride. The often-ignored contributions of Leadon, Meisner, Felder, and Schmit are, fortunately, covered.

Guitar tales abound. Songwriting partner J.D. Souther calls Leadon “one of the best and most overlooked guitar players around.” Frey, praising Felder’s slide playing, says, “If he isn’t Duane Allman reincarnate, I don’t know who the f–k is.” Felder wrote the “One of These Nights” bass part when Meisner was home ill, and his guitar solo is described here as “diamond-cut lightning.” Walsh, meanwhile, was courted by Humble Pie, the Who, and Rolling Stones.

For the finale to “Hotel California,” it took Walsh and Felder nearly three days to record the landmark guitar duel. And several “The Last Resort” takes were scrapped when tapes caught Black Sabbath’s roar as they recorded in an adjacent studio! Occasionally sardonic – but still, an engrossing read of the multi-platinum American band.

This article originally appeared in VG’s October 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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