The Best American Band: The Eagles

Eagles

Eagles

A lot of music, I think, is really about time and place. I tend to associate certain bands or songs with particular points in time, when they seemed to capture and even help to define the moment. So it was with the Eagles and 1975-76. My high school friend J.D. was a huge Eagles fan who might croon “Take another shot of courage” at any point. In 1976, when I worked at Alpine Village in Lake George, New York, the first three Eagles albums — Eagles, Desperado, and On The Border — formed the soundtrack. (It’s funny how the memories associated with songs can change, however. Ol’ 55, one of my favorite songs from On The Border, took on a different set of memories when Russell was assigned 55 as his uniform number on the Columbus Academy football team.)

The Eagles were a great country rock band that also could play straight ahead rock, folk, and ballads. They wrote songs with great hooks and refrains, and penned one of the great opening lyrics of any American rock song with Take It Easy‘s “Well, I’m a-runnin’ down the road trying to loosen my load, I got seven women on my mind.” In addition to the excellent music, the Eagles also were embodiments of the great arc of many successful American bands. They recorded wonderful early albums, became increasingly popular, and soon started playing enormous venues and moving away from their roots. Some of their members left, new members joined, and they recorded huge-selling albums that seemed a bit more rote and a bit less interesting than their early work. Soon there were personality conflicts between band members, recording and touring became more difficult, and ultimately the band broke up in a cloud of acrimony, vowing never to play together again — only to break that vow years later.

While the Eagles were at their best, however, they recorded some tremendous songs. The trusty Ipod attests to that fact, with songs like Take It Easy, Witchy Woman, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Desperado, Tequila Sunrise, On The Border, Ol’55, James Dean, Good Day in Hell, and Already Gone. I’m not alone in my admiration for the early Eagles music, by the way. Their first greatest hits album, which was released during my early college years, is one of the best-selling albums of all time.

Edited to add: Time to Vote for your choice for Best American Band!

A Nice Graduation Present

Here’s a surprise: the job market really stinks for new college graduates.

As the article also notes, coincidentally many of this year’s graduates are the children of people like Kish and me, who graduated from college in the 1980-1984 time frame when the job market was even worse than it is right now. My advice, drawn from my experience, is that graduates take a decent job that is offered, even if it might not be the job of their dreams. Once you get a job and establish a track record, it becomes easier to get a better job. Being too choosy at the front end has a tendency to lead to prolonged unemployment, which just makes it more difficult to land that first job. This is no time to create gaps on the resume that may raise suspicions on the part of would-be employers.

Bird Seed

Blue Jay

Blue Jay

This year Richard and I bought a second bird feeder for the back yard, and I’m using different bird seed mixes for the two feeders as a kind of experiment. Currently, one mix is to attract the northern cardinal and other songbirds; the other is just a standard mix. Both have been successful in bringing more birds to the yard, and it is a joy to listen to the chirping and songs — as it was this morning, when we slept with the window open and were awakened by the back yard chorus greeting the new day.

We’ve had a good assortment of different birds, including cardinals, blue jays, sparrows and some other birds that I can’t identify. I freely admit that I don’t know as much about bird varieties as I should, so I am hoping to use this website and other sources to get some education on the types of birds we might attract to our feeders and how best to do so.