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Walter Becker and Donald Fagen captured it in one line: the Eagles were suburban conformity, writ large — the music you mom and dad would let you play on the living room hifi (you could go upstairs and listen to the Clash after dinner).Even the Eagles’ signature hit, “Hotel California,” endures only because of its mysterious lyrics, which hint at political upheaval in the Golden State.THE EAGLES' DON HENLEY, GLENN FREY SUE LONG ISLAND MAN FOR CASHING IN ON BOOTLEG CONCERT FOOTAGE There’s a reason Walsh wasn’t an original Eagle, but asked to join the band. His solo (with Don Felder) in “Hotel California” is the only reason to listen to the song.Even the band’s most-played song, “Take it Easy,” is a soulless take on Jackson Browne’s version, which at least suggests that the girl in rapidly decelerating flatbed Ford might have something on her mind than sharing a soda at the diner.Frey even co-wrote the song — which shows how poorly his Eagles bandmates did by him.EAGLES LEGEND GLENN FREY DEAD AT 67: STARS REACT TO LEGENDARY GUITARIST'S PASSING Through the early 1970s, the Eagles defined the “easy listening” genre, as if rock and roll is supposed to be a warm glass of milk to get you to bed.Remember during the peak of this band’s fame — 1972-76 — Lou Reed put out “Walk on the Wild Side” and the LP “Berlin.
David Bowie did “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.” The Stones did “Exile on Main St.” The Sex Pistols formed.Even Eagle-influenced Neil Young went on a bender with “On the Beach” and “Tonight’s the Night.” EAGLES LEGEND GLENN FREY DEAD AT 67 But the Eagles kept churning out pop pap: “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Desperado,” “Take it To the Limit,” “One of these Nights,” “Already Gone” and “Best of My Love,” which to this day sounds even too soft for an elevator.EAGLES MUSICAL MAY BE COMING TO BROADWAY How generic were the Eagles?When the much edgier and much more musically inventive Steely Dan needed a band to mock, it chose the Eagles.
But the song offers little for anyone but a small group of nerds trying to decode it.
It’s the Eagles’ version of “American Pie,” a solid song, but ultimately a novelty one. The greatest of all Eagles always kept his soft-rock comrades at arm’s length, the better to maintain his sanity and his outside identity as a musician who had a pair (a pair of hits, I mean: “Life’s Been Good” and “All Night Long”).