On This Day In Eagles History December 20, 1975

December 20, 1975    Founding member Bernie Leadon leaves the band.

The Eagles founding members were Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon. Frey and Henley were already friends when they were recruited to play in Linda Ronstadt’s backing band. It was here the two decided to form their own band and brought in Meisner and – at Linda Ronstadt’s urging – Bernie Leadon. They played one show together as Ronstadt’s backing band at Disneyland of July 1971.

The four made their debut in Aspen, CO using the name “Teen King & The Emergencies” since they hadn’t settled on a “real” name for the band yet. There are several stories about how the Eagles came up with their name but Don Felder credited Bernie with naming the band after a night in the desert.

Leadon (pronounced led-un) was a multi-instrumentalist with a strong background in bluegrass. He was obviously a strong influence in the band’s early country-rock sound but it only took a couple years before Frey started looking for a new direction for the band (less country-rock and more rock). The tension continued to grow and famously culminated with Leadon dumping a beer on Glenn Frey’s head saying “You need to chill out, man!”.

After months of denials, the Eagles announce on December 20, 1975 that founding member Bernie Leadon had left the band.

Coincidentally, on December 20, 1975 it is announced that Joe Walsh has joined the Eagles!

And the story continues….

1 Comment

  1. Morris

    Cool stuff! I remember having played James Gang songs and early Eagles and was quite surprised when I heard Joe was joining the band. Of course, by this time, Don Felder had already been added and the sound of the band was definitely changing direction.

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