Music News

The Eagles

If one strictly adheres to the tenets of the hipster Bible, which can be as narrow as Bush Republicanism, it is dogma that the Eagles sucketh. To say so comes as easy as shooting duck decoys in a wading pool with a bazooka. And from the group's myriad excesses, the case can be made. Then there's the arrogance that seems to ooze from Don Henley . . .

But pluck away the molting feathers of the premier American rock band of the 1970s, and their merits start to emerge. In fact, if you scratch beneath the surface, in the dark recesses where we furtively stash the truly guilty pleasures of our past, there, in an old shoebox, you might uncover a long-buried love for the Eagles.

More than 30 years ago, there was reason enough for it. Can you imagine hearing their debut single, "Take It Easy," on Top 40 radio in 1972? It was as much a soaring breeze of freshness as first hearing the Everly Brothers in a transistor radio earphone late at night in 1959, or "Mr. Tambourine Man" by the Byrds on pop radio in 1965. "Take It Easy" was, like the latter, a vibrant and musically beautiful reassertion of a distinctly American roots musical ethos into the pop music landscape. These were the harmonies of the Beach Boys and the Bakersfield twang of Buck Owens within the ambiance of a John Ford Western.

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Rob Patterson