The tumultuous inter-band struggles that plagued The Eagles would finally come to an end on stage. It had been a place where the band had usually come to forget the turmoil of being in one of the biggest bands of the seventies. The spotlight had been providing a refuge from their issues; however, on one fateful night, their tempestuous natures would get the better of them, a fight would break out in front of the crowd and confirm that The Eagles would be no more.
In truth, the break-up had been on the cards for some time. Aside from the fact that most of the band was struggling with a substance abuse issue or two, the group also struggled artistically. Following a mega-successful album is a difficult thing to do and the band’s 1976 effort Hotel California was so wildly successful that it was almost impossible to top.
In fact, the sessions for their next record The Long Run went on for years. Picked up and put down, the songs were eventually cobbled together into a severely disjointed record.
However, with record labels to please and an audience willing to buy tickets, the group set out on tour to support the album. It would result in singer and vocalist Glenn Frey coming to blows with the band’s other guitarist Don Felder during their show at Long Beach, California, on July 31, 1980.
The show wasn’t actually part of the band’s tour but was intended to be a fundraiser for Senator Alan Cranston. The Senator had spent much of the pre-event meet and greet thanking the band for showing to which, according to Frey, guitarist Felder responded to with: “You’re welcome, Senator… I guess.”
“I felt Don Felder insulted Senator Cranston under his breath, and I confronted him with it. So now we’re onstage, and Felder looks back at me and says, ‘Only three more songs till I kick your ass, pal.’ And I’m saying, ‘Great. I can’t wait,’” Frey later recalled. “We’re out there singing ‘Best of My Love,’ but inside, both of us are thinking, ‘As soon as this is over, I’m gonna kill him.’ That was when I knew I had to get out.”
Tensions would boil over, and as tempers flared, Felder ended the show by smashing a guitar against the wall backstage and intimidating the band members before speeding away in his waiting limo. It was the final time The Eagles would perform in their pomp, all moving on quickly to enjoy varyingly successful solo careers.
Their break-up wouldn’t be final, though. The band may have been happy to swat away rumours for years, but, in 1993, they would reunite to appear in the video for Travis Tritt’s cover of ‘Take It Easy’.
With the clamour for a reunion at a fever pitch, the band gave their audience what they wanted and launched a full-scale reunion. However, it wouldn’t last too long, especially with Frey and Felder in their midst, and Felder was fired from the band in 2001.
The band continues to tour today with Deacon Frey replacing his father following Frey Sr.’s sad passing. Listen below to The Eagles song ‘Take It Easy’ — a piece of advice that would have served them well back in 1980.