May 24, 2017
FROM LEFT: The Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Joe Walsh performing at Universal Studios Hollywood, California, in 2011
When the Eagles play AmericanAirlines Arena this month on their History of the Eagles tour, it will be a much-needed homecoming for band members Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit. After all, the group, known for its incredible harmonies and mix of country, folk, and rock, wrote and/or recorded many of its chart-toppers on South Florida soil in the 1970s, including the albums Hotel California, The Long Run, and One of These Nights. They were all recorded, at least in part, at the famous Criteria Studios in North Miami, while the band—which formed in Los Angeles in 1971—rented houses on Key Biscayne or stayed at a hotel in Coconut Grove (Frey called the secluded getaway home for a full year while recording The Long Run). “We just locked ourselves in [the studio],” Henley, drummer and lead vocalist, told Rolling Stone. “We had a refrigerator, a ping-pong table, roller skates, and a couple of cots. We would go in and stay for two or three days at a time.”
When the guys needed a break from recording, their producers would send them out to enjoy the beautiful Miami scenery for a quick fishing trip or a round of golf, but it wasn’t all fun in the sun. While in Miami on and off from 1975 to 1979, they worked on some of their smash hits, like their biggest, “Hotel California,” the six-and-a-half-minute rocker that tells the journey from innocence to excess.
At the time, though, the band was going through other kinds of highs—in the History of the Eagles documentary, which debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, guitarist Frey revealed they were doing cocaine while recording The Long Run. The band’s fighting over finances and creative differences was the beginning of the end. After years of band members coming and going, the writing was on the wall, and they parted ways in 1980. “The darkest days were when we were in Miami working on The Long Run in 1978 and early 1979,” Henley said. “Making that album was hell, but it went on to sell millions of copies.”
Now older and wiser—with a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, six Grammys, and more than 100 million albums sold in the US—the History of the Eagles tour promises to be the smooth sailing the band has always longed for. But the fans are really the ones who win. The two-and-a-half-hour set is filled with favorites like “Witchy Woman,” “Life in the Fast Lane,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Best of My Love,” “One of These Nights,” “Hotel California,” “Take It Easy,” and “Desperado.” There’s talk this may be the Eagles’ last reunion tour, so it’s fitting that they are back on top, and ready to rock Miami—the place that took them to superstar status. The Eagles perform at 8 pm on Friday, November 22, at AmericanAirlines Arena, 601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 786-777-1000; ticketmaster.com
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLEY GALLAY/GETTY IMAGES FOR CITY OF HOPE