Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Excellence is ... The Eagles

We all have our own definition of excellence.

Three weeks today Annie and I will be going to see The Eagles in concert at the National indoor Arena, Birmingham. This is the UK leg of The Eagles ‘Long Road out of Eden' world tour.

To me The Eagles are an example of excellence by any measure – popularity, album sales, commercial success, live performances, vocally, musically, song writing, longevity; you name it – they score high on all aspects.

As a measure of their popularity on this side of the pond an extra performance has been added to their concert tour of the UK due to overwhelming ticket demand.

Glen Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy Schmit have been together for the greater part of the 35 plus years since The Eagles band was formed. Others have come and gone in that time namely Don Felder, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon

Frey and Henley are founder members with Frey generally regarded as the leader.

Apart from their phenomenal success The Eagles have been famous for a healthy (?) tension between band members throughout their existence. Whatever their differences the excellence is still there vocally and musically after all these years.

Some say the tension that exists is ironically what keeps them together and keeps them going.

Certainly the 14 year break up from 1980 to 1994 was a long time apart. When they reformed in 1994 Glen Frey famously opened their first reunion concert with these great words;

‘We never broke up; we just had a 14 year vacation”

We Eagles fans of course must grab every chance we can to see the band – because we keep on saying ‘this tour to the UK could be the last one.’ Frey is 60 while Henley, Walsh and Schmidt are all 61 years young so in reality there may not be many more UK tours I guess.

For excellence it doesn’t get much better than the utube video above of Glen Frey singing ‘Lyin Eyes’ live in the Farewell 1 Tour a couple of years ago. An Eagles classic – please enjoy.

Forgive the self indulgence but I certainly will enjoy it!


JOHN O'LEARY said...

Nice clip, Trevor! Yup, creative (and personal) tension seems to have worked wonders for the Eagles - as it has with so many other top-tier rock acts in the last 45 years. The Who are my favorite example of that (Townshend and Daltrey have ALWAYS been fighting), but it's characteristic of all the great ones.

Richard Lipscombe said...

Excellence for The Eagles is to be able to get that "adorable couple" gigging to their music for 6 plus minutes. Yeah that would constitute a working definition of Excellence for me. I love the glimpses we get of that couple in their moment with The Eagles. A lifelong memory is being made and shared right there - WOW!

Trevor Gay said...

John always good to get the inside track from and old Rock and Roll pro like you!!

Please forgive me the use the word ‘old’ my friend!

The Who were/are terrific and still performing by the way - though probably not wrecking so many hotel rooms these days I guess.

The Kinks were my favourite British band of all time but for me The Eagles still come out top of the pile.

Trevor Gay said...

Hi Richard – and thanks for that. Hope you and your family are keeping well.

Seeing The Eagles live 3 times in 4 years after a burning ambition to see them for the previous 25 years means I can die happy :-)

I’m looking forward to 7th July.

The banter between the four Eagles members is interesting to say the least. There is clearly loads of mutual professional respect within the equally obvious tension that John refers to.

Excellence indeed my friend!

Peter Cook said...

Love the Eagles and opinions on music vary as much as our taste for Marmite, but I'd humbly add Prince to the list. Not his public persona with the heels / meaningless symbols etc. but the real musician and leader that hides behind his purple garb.

A little more on this amazing man at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsIgYjQvsDw&feature=channel_page


Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Peter - glad you are an Eagles fan.

I respect your opinion given your backgound and the similarity of experience to my good friend John O'Leary.

I have never really been a fan of Prince but I will check out the clip. He is misunderstood by many people I guess.

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Good commentary - which inspired a post on the Who on my own site (which I moved to BusinessLessonsFromRock.blogspot.com).
I mentioned the Eagles in the Comment thread to make sure you checked it out, Trevor! Peter, Prince was/is a giant to be sure. I don't write about him much because it's more fun to focus on bands, where there's a "team" angle - especially with the "democratic" bands, as opposed to those who are backing up a lead singer/performer. But Prince was the real deal.

Trevor Gay said...

Cheers John - I will go and check out The Who posting - I seem to recall they were very good at wrecking stages and hotel rooms .... as well as the music :-)

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Wrecking hotel rooms is, I'm sorry to say, the legacy of rock bands. When I'm on the road now - as a consultant, not as a musician - I'm STILL tempted, but it always looks like someone else has beaten me to it.

Trevor Gay said...

LOL John - I've stayed in similar hotel rooms :-)

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Trevor, after listening and watching old Everly Brothers clips (which you turned me onto), I can see the Everly influence in the Eagles' harmonies. Obvious in retrospect, but I never made the connection before. What a musical debt we owe to Don & Phil! They were SO good even at age 18 & 20 when they recorded "Bye, Bye Love." Their nasally singing was edgy and in-your-face - at least in their early days - and their execution was flawless. They were a 2-person rock band even when it was just the 2 of them on acoustic guitar. Their influence is so evident in the harmonies of Lennon & McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel, the Byrds, the Eagles, and plenty of later singers like the Indigo Girls. I gotts do a post on those guys. And they're STILL performing at 70 and 72s. How cool is THAT?

Trevor Gay said...

Hi John – I love The Everly Brothers - I didn’t realise they still performed. I recall ther reunion concert at the Albert Hall in London sometime during the 1990’s … their harmonies were still as good as ever …. They were the best John … great memories

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Got to give Michael Jackson his props on this day. A tormented soul (and perhaps worse) - but in the category of Best Pop Performer of All Time he belongs on a very short list of nominees.

Trevor Gay said...

Indeed John - judging him on the impact of his performing talent there is no doubt Michael Jackson was simply outstanding. A very sad day indeed.