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Eagles Co-Founder Recalls Their ‘Outlaw’ Persona

classic eagles

This spring marks the 40th anniversary of the Eagles’ second album, Desperado. The set, which was released on April 17th, 1973, was the band’s only true concept album, based around the old west band of outlaws the Dalton Gang from the late 1800’s.

Co-founding Eagles guitarist Bernie Leadon recalled that at the time of recording the album, the band actually felt a kinship to the gunslingers of the wild west, telling Uncut, “All of us went out west. People would go to L.A. and fail and the responsible one would move back home and start a family, while the malcontent never-say-die type personalities said, ‘No. I’m staying. That was our story. The idea was, ‘How are we feeling about our lives and what we’re doing, and would people in a gang feel the same way?’ Breaking out of societal expectations and doing something extraordinary. We were just kids but we were looking at our lives and trying to make reasonable comment about it.”

Leadon said that from the start, the Eagles never pretended they were brothers in arms or ever close friends, just guys who got together to get a serious job done right: “When we got together we defined our business plan: we wanted to be successful, world famous, acclaimed and rich. One of the first things (Glenn) Frey said was, ‘OK, let’s keep this simple, No Christmas cards.’ Did we go on holiday and call each other? No.”

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