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Eagles took flight 50 years ago today with release of self-titled debut album

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Asylum Records/Rhino

Fifty years ago today, June 1, 1972, the Eagles soared into the music world with the release of their self-titled debut album.

The band’s country-rock sound, multiple-part harmonies and accomplished musicianship immediately were embraced by pop and rock fans.

The Eagles were formed in 1971 by a quartet of singing musicians — guitarist Glenn Frey, drummer Don Henley, guitarist Bernie Leadon and bassist Randy Meisner — all of whom were playing in Linda Ronstadt‘s backing band when the group came together.

Eagles yielded three hit singles — “Take It Easy,” “Witchy Woman” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” which peaked at #12, #9 and #22, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100. The album reached #22 on the Billboard 200 and has sold over 1 million copies in the U.S.

“Take It Easy” was co-written by Frey and his friend Jackson Browne, “Witchy Woman” was co-written by Henley and Leadon, and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” was composed by Glenn’s friend Jack Tempchin.

The album was produced by Glyn Johns, whom Frey wanted to record with because Johns had previously worked with The Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin. Johns initially turned the band down, but changed his mind after hearing the members performing the Meisner-penned song “Take the Devil” acoustically while singing harmonies together.

While the Eagles eventually were dominated by Frey and Henley, Johns told Uncut magazine in 2021 that at the time of the band’s debut album, all four members were “equally important.”

“Henley’s strongest contribution was his voice. The same with Frey,” Glyn said. “Bernie Leadon was great on banjo and guitar, and Randy Meisner was a fine bass player, with a voice of extraordinary range … Without any one of them, it wouldn’t have been the same.”

Here’s the Eagles album’s full track list:

“Take It Easy”
“Witchy Woman”
“Chug All Night”
“Most of Us Are Sad”
“Nightingale”
“Train Leaves Here This Morning”
“Take the Devil”
“Earlybird”
“Peaceful Easy Feeling”
“Tryin'”

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