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Article 4

Rock On

Take it Easy-The Eagles

( Published in Times of India Pune, on 30th June, 2001 )


Which is the best-selling music album of the 20th century, having sold over 26 million copies? The answer to this question is bound to shock most people in India, especially the young, whose main exposure to Western Music is the pop/hip-hop fare dished out by the music channels in India. Yes, my music loving friends, it is the definitive hits compilation from one of the world’s foremost Rock bands, the Eagles. This group's first best-of collection, "Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975" was the first album to be certified platinum (1 million sold) by the Recording Industry Association of America, which introduced that classification in 1976. Since then it has created history by recently surpassing Michael Jackson’s "Thriller". What’s more, it is rumored that the Eagles are apparently on the verge of releasing a four-disc box set that will traverse the entire history of the band through the different stages of their musical history. Included is a CD dedicated to unreleased live material and "the Box set’ as it is tentatively called will also have an exhaustive 40-page booklet, with song by song notes from the band members. Set for a November release, there sure is a lot to look forward to for the diehard Eagles fan who just can’t seem to get enough, even after all these years!

The Eagles were a band from the Seventies who formed in 1971 and parted ways in 1980. They were reunited in 1994 and went on to record "Hell Freezes Over" consisting of four new studio songs, and 11 old favorites and topping the charts all over again. In fact, they were in the top 10 lists of the richest showbiz personalities of that year! For us Rock musicians in India, the Eagles were a source of great song writing skills, soulful guitar playing and fabulous harmonies. Every ‘lead guitarist’ worth his salt had mastered the ‘Hotel California’ guitar solos and as for us singers, Don Henley and company was indeed a tough act to follow.

Harmony singing in Popular Music is an art that has been perfected over the years by the great vocal groups of the fifties. In fact ‘acapella’, the form of vocal music without musical accompaniment became a necessity in the fifties when the musicians went on strike for higher wages! Ever since, there has been no looking back and in the Country/Rock field, the Eagles are definitely one of the best. Remo, Darryl and I had an acoustic vocal group in the seventies besides the electric rock band "Savage Encounter" and the Eagles were always looked upon with great respect. Mind you, at that time there were some great harmony bands around e.g. The Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Seals and Croft, Simon and Garfunkel, Bee Gees etc.

The Eagles had their own special, easy going style, which was a mixture of Country, Blues and Rock and Roll, a deadly combination as is obvious from the sales! Curiously, this extremely melodious combination was attacked by religious fanatics for its alleged references to the Devil, especially during the later years and what has been called the Eagles’ "Dark Ages"! Yet the followers of this great band of musicians continues to grow in droves and if anybody feels that today the Eagles are passť, they can think all over again. Last Saturday, at my show at the Jazz by the Bay, the highest number of requests was for the Eagles’ ‘Satanist’ "Hotel California"!

Nandu Bhende

http://nandu_bhende.tripod.com


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