Updated: May 5, 2020
By Joe Florance:
Starting with the self-titled album Eagles, I put in my new Bluetooth headphones and listened as I wrote and read. I'm writing an unfinished script that has sat on the shelf for a couple years and reading the Wikipedia page of this album when I need a break. The goal was inspired writing through inspired music. I found myself doing more reading than writing, and a new sub-goal sprouted: Wikipedia knowledge would seep into my lexicon so that I could cooly bring up a cool factoid about this band to someone one day. The someone being a good friend; not going to waste this knowledge on a civilian—want to shore up existing relationships here.
The debut album was released in 1972. I was one year old. "Take It Easy," "Witchy Woman," and "Peaceful Easy Feeling"—staples I grew up with on KMET and KLOS in Southern Cal as a kid and teen, and I loved them. Classics. I forced myself to listen to the entire album start to finish.
Jackson Browne helped write "Take It Easy"—heard that before. Maybe not common knowledge, but not going to risk it. What about the song "Take the Devil" by Randy Meisner? It's credited as the song where producer Glyn Johns noticed "the sound" of the Eagles; I'd say that is kind of important. With this unknown song, a difference-maker noticed something in what would become the most successful American band ever. I never heard of that song before—not on any radio station, not from anyone I know; no one. And who is Glyn Johns? No clue. This is too obscure. It's a fine line. The knowledge should add to one's experience but not confuse or overwhelm it. If that happens, then you are no longer interesting but a bore. I would focus on Randy Meisner.
To the commoner, that's not a name synonymous with The Eagles. Glenn Frey, Don Henley, and even Joe Walsh, who joined the band on the Hotel California album (knew this before Wikipedia), are way more known than Randy Meisner. But remember The Eagles' hit "Take It to the Limit"? Do you know who sings that? Randy Meisner, that's who. Yep, one of the original members of The Eagles. Most people would probably say Glenn Frey, but it was Meisner. A song Meisner wrote on their first album is credited as the song where a producer noticed their sound. Pretty cool, huh? And . . . scene.
Now, all this may lose some people, so you need to know your audience before trying this willy-nilly. The best is a group of people in your age range who would know the basics of the band . . . and you can throw in a nugget. Now you are cool, knowledgeable, and humble. You are trying to help round out the experience. Obviously, it is great to make sure everyone knows your knowledge is superior to theirs, but that needs to be done ONLY with great friends who love you no matter what. Again, existing relationships. Add to any conversation you find yourself in and you will go a long way.
I went on to listen to the rest of The Eagles' albums, ending with The Long Run. Six albums from 1972 to 1979. Very prolific. Hard to compare artists today with a band like The Eagles. Glyn Johns heard the heart of this band in an unknown song from, at the time, an unknown band. It didn't stay that way. The first step of replicating the rise and relevance of The Eagles? Find your sound.
Joe Florance owns and operates Circle of 10 Talent.
He encourages people to pursue their dreams, and helping them do that fulfills his own.