The iconic 70s rock and country band, the Eagles, occupy a difficult to explain space in pop culture. For much of their career, they were both under-appreciated and overestimated at the same time. While they’ve consistently sold out stadiums and arenas for nearly four decades, they’ve barely released any new music since 1979. It’s in the space between being deeply loved by millions and being completely unassuming to others that they’ve managed to become a quiet but massive force in music.
It makes perfect sense their work would become the subject of a Classic Albums Live (CAL) interpretation. For those who may not have caught their shows in past years, Classic Albums Live is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an all-star group of musicians that travel around performing some of the best rock ‘n’ roll music ever recorded, note for note, cut for cut, live on stage.
“Growing up, I was surrounded by the Eagles,” says CAL singer Nick Hildyard. ““I heard it around the campfire and on the radio.”
Classic Albums has presented Eagles music in the past, as Hotel California is often mentioned as one of rock’s greatest masterpieces, but this time around they are doing something unusual, even for them: a compilation record.
On Oct. 12, CAL will present The Eagles’ Greatest Hits at the Rose Theatre.
“As of a couple weeks ago, it’s the biggest selling album of all time in North America,” explains Hildyard. “It sort of sets a standard, as far as popular culture goes, for what an album of music can be.”
The Eagles’ Greatest Hits is an early in their career compilation of music from 1972-1975, that was put out in 1975 to keep their music selling while they worked on the aforementioned Hotel California. Sales exploded then and haven’t stopped since. In addition to passing Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the best-selling album of all time, this same record is also the best-selling album of the entire twentieth century and features ten songs that you probably know well, even if you think you don’t.
Desperado, Witchy Woman, Take it Easy, Take it to the Limit and One of These Nights make up just half the record.
“The song-craft is second to none,” says Hildyard. “It’s the placement of parts. It’s the placement of guitar fills and string sections.”
While the use of these parts are unquestionably what makes the Eagles’ music memorable, recreating them is no easy task.
“The vocal harmonies are lush. There’s always five or six parts,” Hildyard continues. “It’s not just a matter of hitting the notes, it’s a matter of delivering them in a lush way.”
Fortunately, CAL makes sure to bring as many musicians as they need to get the job done. This isn’t a tribute show where people “play” members of the band. The show at the Rose will feature three guitarists, two keyboard players, a string section along with a lead singer, drums and bass. It’s also likely that everyone onstage will be singing too.
“It doesn’t jump out at you, this album makes friends with you,” says Hildyard. “At first listen, it doesn’t seem to have too much going on, but sitting down to learn it you’re almost overcome by its subtlety.”
In this respect, this music is perfect for Classic Albums Live. It requires a symphonic listen.
“People just close their eyes, listen to the music and get taken away.”
Classic Albums Live presents Eagles’ Greatest Hits at the Rose Theatre on Oct. 12. Tickets are available by clicking here.