No Gimmicks – Just Music: The Eagles


Don Henley feels that the Eagles can attribute their success to serving their music first.  Henley, who’s currently out on the road with the band for its 40th anniversary trek, was asked by MSN why the band’s music has aged so well decades after breaking on the scene.

Henley explained, “I think there are a number of reasons, including the fact that we never bought into fads or trends. We stuck to classic elements – country & western, bluegrass, blues, rhythm & blues, soul, rock — and combined them into our own sound. As I’ve said many times, we are a musical mutt.We weren’t purists, we weren’t cutting edge, but we never aspired to be. We were painstaking but not perfectionistic in our songwriting and production values.”

He went on to say: “We dealt in universal themes, rather than the insular and the unaccessible. We never let any of the ‘cult of fashion’ or ‘cult of personality’ crap overshadow the music. We didn’t have any robot masks or giant mouse heads, but for a long time we managed to stay relatively low-profile or incognito as individuals, letting the music do the talking. It was a different world, back then, in terms of media; artists were able to cultivate a little mystique. This was before “celebrity news” became a genre, before so-called ‘entertainment media’ and tabloid reporting merged and tramped into the field of proctology. We also had demographics on our side, all of us being born near the beginning of the post-World War II baby boom generation.

Don Henley remains confident that the Eagles are still performing at the top of their game: “The music is really tight. We’ve got some really good backup musicians, an incredible horn section, we’ve really worked on putting a good show together. The show is about three hours long, 30 songs, and it’s just very, very polished.”