Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fly Like The Eagles?

A co-worker of mine is a fan of The Eagles, but being the hard-ass that he is, he valiantly refused to knuckle under to Frey/Henley Inc. by buying their latest CD The Long Road Ouf Of Eden at Wal-Mart, so he took the circuitous route and borrowed it from his local library instead!  He let me give it a listen the other day, and I was largely underwhelmed by itit's nothing we haven't heard from these guys before.  And given The Eagles' penchant for reuniting for albums and/or tours only when there's a colossal payday involved, it's most fitting their new album has a track on it called "Business As Usual".

I've had a love/hate relationship (more accurately "like/hate") with this band ever since the '70s.  I absolutely hated themhated themat times.  They came across to me as rather snobbish and uppity, with a "we're better than everybody else" attitude, and I always thought they got played way too much on the radio.  They did have a few songs I liked, though (like "Witchy Woman" and "Already Gone"), and as I got older, I learned to appreciate their stuff a lot more, although there are some Eagles songs that I never need to hear again as long as I live (namely "Hotel California", "Seven Bridges Road", "Desperado" and "Life In The Fast Lane") because they've been played to death so much.

One good by-product of their various reunions is the double-DVD "Farewell Tour I" concert video they came out with a couple years back, which features phenomenal audio quality and a pretty good performance too.  While I tend to agree with Randy Raley's stance that he would prefer it to be an all-Eagles setlist instead of including Henley, Frey and Walsh solo stuff, "Dirty Laundry" and "Sunset Grill" do sound awfully tasty here, and "Life's Been Good" was a high point in the show.

My All-Time Eagles Top 10:
10) "Those Shoes" (1979)  Don Henley gets down and dirty, and Joe Walsh gets to play with his squawk-box contraption.
9) "Take It Easy" (1972)  Another one that gets played to death on the radio, but I'm sure the good folks in Winslow, Arizona don't mind.
8) "James Dean" (1974)  "Too fast to live, too young to die, bye-bye..."
7) "Take It To The Limit" (1976)  Former bassist Randy Meisner's high-water mark with the band.  This song's intro is eerily similar to that of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me By Now".  Meisner went on to have a minor hit in 1981 with "Hearts On Fire".
6) "Heartache Tonight" (1979)  I imagine more than a few bar brawls have been set to (or set-off by) this song.
5) "Already Gone" (1974)  This was the second song I cranked up the day I accepted my current job, thus freeing me from the miserable one I was stuck in (The Who's "I'm Free" was the first).  "I will sing this victory song..."
4) "Lyin' Eyes" (1975)  I absolutely couldn't stand this song when I was a kidtoo damn long, for one thing!  But when I started hearing it with adult ears and actually followed the juicy storyline in the song, I grew to love it.
3) "Witchy Woman" (1972)  Or as my older brother and I used to lampoon it, "Itchy Woman"!  For the longest time, I didn't even know this was The Eaglesfor some reason, I thought it was some other band when I was a kid.
2) "One Of These Nights" (1975)  Every time I hear this song, I think back to the summer of '75 with this one playing on the jukebox at Fun House Pizza while I spent all those quarters on pinball and playing those prehistoric video games.  This one comes off surprisingly well live in concert too.
1) "Get Over It" (1994)  I love songs with rapid-fire lyrics, mostly because they're usually funny too, and this one's a killer!  Full of attitude, Don Henley scores a direct hit on the daytime talk-show circuit, or "White Trash Theater", as I like to call it.  Love the line, "You're makin' the most of your losing streaksome call it sick, well, I call it weak..."  Oh, and if you don't like my opinion of this song, well, get over it!  (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

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