[Review] Eagles (1972)

Linda Ronstadt’s backing band takes center stage as the second coming of The Byrds.

Kronomyth 1.0: Byrds of a feather rock together.

With The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers both grounded and CSN&Y splintered, Eagles picked the perfect time to try out their wings. Any doubt that you were witnessing the future of country-rock is answered in the opening minutes of Eagles. Take It Easy, one of two tracks on Eagles’ debut album written by an up-and-coming Jackson Browne, is a three-and-a-half-minute joyride that straddles the yellow lines between country and rock perfectly.

Like The Byrds and Buffalo Springfield, there was no pigeonholing Eagles. The next track, Witchy Woman, has more to do with Indian dances and disco than country music. And so begins a series of songs from strong musical personalities that offers a spectrum from country to rock, perhaps in order of Bernie Leadon, Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Randy Meisner, with Leadon on the country side and Meisner more inclined to rock out like Neil Young.

Eagles contains some of the band’s best music: “Take It Easy,” “Witchy Woman,” Peaceful Easy Feeling and Train Leaves Here This Morning. Now, you may notice that most of those tracks are written by other people; Browne already had the first part of “Take It Easy” written, “Train Leaves Here This Morning” first appeared on The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard and Clark. So maybe the first album is a case of something old and something new, something borrowed and something blue. It’s also a reason to get excited about country-rock all over again.

There’s no denying that half of this album is terrific, just as there’s no denying that half of it is not. Frey (Chug All Night), Henley (Nightingale) and Meisner (Tryin’) are each responsible for at least one clunker. As the band began to write together, the material became more consistent. Still, what Eagles lacks in consistency it makes up for in awesomeness. For the newly formed quartet, the sky was indeed the limit.

Original elpee version

A1. Take It Easy (Jackson Browne/Glenn Frey) (3:29)
A2. Witchy Woman (Don Henley/Bernie Leadon) (4:10)
A3. Chug All Night (Glenn Frey) (3:13)
A4. Most of Us Are Sad (Glenn Frey) (3:33)
A5. Nightingale (Jackson Browne) (4:05)
B1. Train Leaves Here This Morning (Gene Clark/Bernie Leadon) (4:08)
B2. Take the Devil (Randy Meisner) (3:59)
B3. Earlybird (Bernie Leadon/Randy Meisner) (2:58)
B4. Peaceful Easy Feeling (Jack Tempchin) (4:16)
B5. Tryin’ (Randy Meisner) (2:52)

Original 8-track version
A1. Take It Easy
A2. Take the Devil
A3. Chug All Night (part 1)
B1. Chug All Night (conclusion)
B2. Most of Us Are Sad
B3. Nightingale
C1. Train Leaves Here This Morning
C2. Witchy Woman
C3. Early Bird (part 1)
D1. Early Bird (conclusion)
D2. Peaceful Easy Feeling
D3. Tryin’

The Players

Glenn Frey (vocals, guitar, slide), Don Henley (vocals, drums), Bernie Leadon (vocals, guitar, banjo), Randy Meisner (vocals, bass, guitar). Produced and engineered by Glyn Johns

The Pictures

Photography by Henry Diltz. Design by Gary Burden for R. Twerk.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, 8-track and cassette on June 1, 1972 in the US (Asylum, SD/CS-5054), the UK (Asylum, SYTC/8X SYTC 101) and Japan (Asylum, P-6556Y) with picture innersleeve and gatefold cover (UK). Reached #22 on the US charts (RIAA-certified platinum record).

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1974 in Japan (Asylum, P-10046Y) with lyrics insert.
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1976 in the UK (Asylum, K 53009).
  3. Re-issued on cassette in the US (Asylum, CS-5054).
  4. Re-issued on compact disc in Australia (Asylum, 253009).
  5. Re-released on remastered compact disc in Germany (Asylum, 60623-2).
  6. Re-issued on compact disc in 2015 in Japan (Asylum, WPCR-80229).
  7. Re-issued on remastered compact disc on June 6, 2020 in Japan (Asylum, WPCR-75126).

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