Customer Review

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Checked out but can never leave - must read for Eagles fans, 29 Feb 2008
This review is from: Heaven And Hell: My Life In The Eagles, 1974-2001 (Hardcover)
Most of the other reviewers have said it already - the book is a must read for Eagles fans and I found it very compelling!!! It doesn't matter whether you're a Felder fan or not (I am because of the music he wrote) just read it. He doesn't promise objectivity (but nor should he - since autobiographies are personal stories). Yes, he dishes the dirt on Henley and Frey and all it does is cement what others have said about them anyway (but from a very reliable source I'd say). So as far as I can see there's no inconsistancy there compared to other books - like Randy Miesner's veiws expressed in Mark Shapiro's book. The tone is neither bitter or condescending and he does acknowledge how incredibly lucky his life is given he started out dirt poor.
His account of Joe Walsh (much as I adore Joe's talent) is not surprising and seemingly accurate given my brief experience with Joe. I met Joe some 20 years ago when he was still an alkie and playing solo, teaching music, etc. Nice guy, humble, very talented and whitty - but not the sort who would stand up for himself least of all for Felder. I have not met Felder, but the persona he projects seems to tie in with the writing in the book; low key, humble and balanced. Not surprisingly why he and Joe got on so well (and presumably still do now the litigation is all over).
In some ways the non-Eagles stuff was more interesting. The account of his freindships with Stephen Stills, Duane Allman, Bernie Leadon and Graham Nash, to name a few - all of who have increased respect from me since reading the book (not that they didn't anyway) as fantastically talented muscians but also decent people. The pre-Eagles antics as a 60's hippie, Woodstock, and living with Flow had me in stitches of laughter, so much so I missed my train stop and was late to work (doh).
The 70's stuff was interesting in that it was consistant with what was happening in the industry at the time and from Felder's view being thrust into that and how he did (or didn't, as the case was in many instances) cope is a testament to the character that comes through. Felder survived in the Eagles for so long because he loved the music and put up with so much. Contrast that to Bernie Leadon, who was a strong fiesty character (rather than taking Felder's laid back approach) and see what happened to poor Bernie. Even mild mannered Randy Miesner cracked in the end. Such a huge price for all three to pay for being an integral part of such immense talent.
The latter years were a little sad (unsurprisingly) and the last chapter is heavily edited - apparently to get it through the scrutiny of the lawyers just so it could be printed. But at least it ended in a positive and uplifting manner. Despite coming across as underappreciated and undervalued, I found the lack of rancour refreshing and am pleased he has moved on. It's just sad to think that fans will not see him play that doubleneck Hotel California solo any more..., maybe someday they will "officially" release on DVD some clips of Felder playing an "electric" version of Hotel California.
Maybe there was just too much talent?
One thing is for certain - as nearly all the other reviewers rightly said - Felder's addition to the Eagles elevated them musically and his contribution should not be underestimated. The Eagles finest moments were during the years 1974-1977 (On the Border, One of These Nights and Hotel California), the Felder years. The new album does not stack up musically. As an ex-studio techie/sound engineer, it seems to me over-produced and lacking something (ooopmh).
I was never prepared to pay to see Don Henley or Glenn Frey perform as solo acts (only Joe stands up as a solo act in my books) but as a "whole band" the Eagles are pure magic and I've been hooked on them as a group since I first heard Don Felder on the radio (back in 1976) promoting "that" guitar solo for One of These Nights during their world tour. THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS - so true.
A great read and I recommend it to all fans.
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