TO THE LIMIT: The Untold Story of the Eagles by Marc Eliot

TO THE LIMIT: The Untold Story of the Eagles

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A comprehensive, sternly opinionated chronicle of the band that embodied with fabulous commercial success the sensibility of Los Angeles in the 1970s. Eliot (Walt Disney, 1993, etc.) interviewed ex-Eagles as well as many friends and business associates, and with resigned distaste these sources attest to the pile-up of personal conflicts, pharmaceutical excess, and cutthroat business shenanigans that gradually took shape beneath the band's lilting parade of hits until, on their 1976 concept album, Hotel California, they nakedly trumpeted their hitter, burnt-out, coked-up disillusionment itself as their aesthetic driving force. The four original Eagles converged on L.A. from the Midwest and Texas in the late '60s, struggling until they came together to back up Linda Ronstadt. Eliot gives a sharp overview of how the Eagles, Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne struck gold via Asylum Records founder David Geffen. The Eagles were, Eliot contends, as much a business proposition by Geffen as a musical venture. Singer/drummer Don Henley concurs: ""Money was a much saner goal than adoration . . . [I]f I'm gonna blow my brains out for five years, I want something to show for it."" Geffen, scary mogul Irving Azoff, and Henley all provide alarming insights here into how the music business operates. The band roster changed several times, but the members became progressively more popular--their greatest-hits collection is one of the two top-selling albums of all time--until melodramatic squabbles among all the members, but especially between Henley and co-leader Glenn Frey, dissolved the band in 1980. While Eliot's a fan, his judgments on individual songs and events are often acerbic. With the Eagles now middle-aged and detoxed, their recent reunion tour, he writes, ""was like watching a nineties production of Beatlemania performed by the Beatles themselves."" If you can take the pervasive atmosphere of cynical, calculating hedonism--that is, if you're an Eagles fan--you couldn't ask for a truer portrait.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 030681398X
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: "Little, Brown"