Flight of the Eagles
Audiophile stores across the country tend to play Hotel California, off the Hell Freezes Over concert DVD, while testing new equipment for potential buyers.
Why they do that has probably less to do with the song’s ability to push an audio system to its limit, than the fact that buyers are probably familiar with the song. It is, after all, a mainstay of India’s fledgling pub culture.
If you like the track (or did before it became so annoyingly over-played), this documentary should expose you to a lot more of The Eagles’ oeuvre. It starts with the band’s beginnings in the early ’70s, when Glenn Frey and Don Henley quit their jobs as session musicians for singer Linda Ronstadt and decided to form a group of their own. They obviously did something right because, by the end of the decade, they had a few Grammies under their belt, and Hotel California had landed a spot on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
What makes this documentary so fulfilling isn’t just the fact that it painstakingly covers those early years and the much-publicised break-up of the band in 1980. It’s the equal attention paid to the second half of the story, on Disc 2, covering an equally publicised reunion in 1994. The archival footage is great, the old songs still pleasant, and the cameos from a number of people associated with the band point to the exhaustive homework that must have gone into putting this together. What doesn’t make sense is the inordinate amount of attention paid to Frey and Henley at the expense of equally important members like Joe Walsh.
Then again, the film tells you why The Eagles sold more music than any other American band in US history; which is all that ought to matter.
-- History of the Eagles: The Story of an American Band, 2 DVDs, Universal, Rs 495 Available at all music stores