The History of the Eagles (Part I and Part II) has been nicely condensed into a three-hour production on the Showtime network.
This first-ever documentary of the California-based band inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, epitomizes the stereotypical drama that plagued a lot of bands in the 1970's.
Too many drugs. Too many egos. Too much greed.
But, in the end, its also a story about redemption and a band getting, as Don Henley put it, "A Second Act". That Second Act has bode well for The Eagles. Still recording and touring today after a 14 year hitatus between 1980 and 1994, The Eagles are about to celebrate their 40th Anniversary with a show in Las Vegas on March 23rd. In fact the Eagles "Second Act" has gone on much longer than the First Act albeit with far less original recordings.
The documentary features interviews from every Eagles member past and current. Those members include Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Bernie Leadon, Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit and even a brief sound bite from current touring guitarist Steuart Smith who replaced Felder in 2005 but is not considered a member of the Eagles.
Felder, recently interviewed by Billboard Magazine about the documentary feels that the film "glorified Frey and Henley's work, giving little credit to the others."
The History of the Eagles covers the band's highs and lows of meeting its modest beginnings as Linda Ronstadt's backing band to touring stadiums around the world. It also does the best job of explaining exactly what is "Hotel California" really all about? "A journey from innocence to experience" says Henley who dimisses any accounts of Satanic references to the song.
The reasons for the departure of Meisner, Leadon and Felder are explained in painful detail. Frey, in particular still seethes when talking about Felder who hasn't been in the band for at least ten years.
Whatever you take away from The History of the Eagles, the historical footage, home movies and concert clips are a must see for any fan.