Before They Were Eagles Part Two...

Before They Were Eagles Part Two...

Posted 31 Jul 2017

In part one we looked at the pre-Eagles work of Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner – the original Eagles – with some classic country rock from Linda Ronstadt,  the Flying Burrito Brothers, Poco, Ricky Nelson, Frey’s rarely heard Longbranch Pennywhistle and Henley’s equally under-exposed Shiloh. This time around we wrap things up with the early work of Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit.

Don Felder joined the Eagles in January 1974, having met the band a couple of years earlier through his old classmate and band mate in Gainesville Florida, Eagles’ guitarist Bernie Leadon. Felder and Leadon had together performed in a popular local group, the Maundy Quintet, who’d released a single in 1967. The Maundy Quintet had formed out of another group,  the Continentals, which had featured a young Stephen Stills, so Don had previously played with Stills too. Don at the time was giving guitar lessons to another young local – Tom Petty – and learning how to play slide from none other than Duane Allman. When Felder eventually moved to LA in 1973, he hooked right into the scene, replacing David Lindley in David Blue’s band, then briefly replacing Lindley again in Crosby Stills & Nash. He joined the Eagles ahead of their fourth album, One Of These Nights.


One Of These Nights was Bernie Leadon’s last album with the band; he quit and was replaced by Joe Walsh. Walsh had played in popular Ohio band the James Gang, with whom he had the regional hit as both singer and guitarist on "Funk #49", before releasing a number of solo albums. His second solo album, 1973’s The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, reached #6 on the Billboard album chart and featured the song that would become Joe’s signature tune, “Rocky Mountain Way”. His next album So What was released in late 1974 and featured Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Randy Meisner on backing vocals. He joined the Eagles in time to play on their best-selling studio album Hotel California.

The James Gang “Funk #49” 

Joe Walsh “Rocky Mountain Way” 

California native Timothy B Schmidt, who joined the Eagles in 1977 came from Poco. In the Eagles he replaced Randy Meisner – the very man he’d replaced in Poco back in 1970. Schmidt stayed with Poco until he joined the Eagles, and sang lead on Poco’s biggest hit, 1975’s “Keep On Trying”. His first Eagles album was the mega blockbuster The Long Run in 1979.


Poco “Keep On Trying” 

Preorder the Eagles Greatest Hits, Volume 1 & 2 on CD here.

Check out the Eagles on Spotify here, and if you want to hear more of the classic country rock sound of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, check out our Cosmic Country playlist on Spotify!


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