How Did the Band The Eagles Get Started?

The formation of The Eagles began in 1971, when Don Henley and Glenn Frey were independently hired to perform as part of Linda Ronstadt’s band. Following a successful collaboration with Ronstadt, she encouraged the two to form their own band alongside Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner.

Henley and Frey, who would go on to become the major creative forces of The Eagles, arrived in California independently in the late 1960s. Henley moved to Los Angeles with his band, Shiloh, having previously resided in Texas, and Frey formed a band called Longbranch Pennywhistle after relocating from Michigan. Henley and Frey met at The Troubadour in 1970, and the duo became friends, leading to their collaboration as members of Ronstadt’s band.

Henley and Frey officially formed The Eagles in 1971, in conjunction with Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, both of whom were more experienced musicians. As such, the group’s record company, Asylum Records, expected Leadon and Meisner to be the major creative forces behind The Eagles. Instead, Henley and Frey came to dominate the band in terms of artistic control, ultimately resulting in the eventual departure of both Leadon and Meisner. Don Felder, a musician hired after Leadon’s departure, would also leave, resulting in the final line-up of The Eagles consisting of Henley, Frey, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit.