Over the past few weeks, I have been writing about the greatest vocalists and few of the best drummers in rock music history. The guy who was an ace at both these arts was Don Henley of the Eagles. He along with Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner have given songs which have turned into earworms.
Their album ‘Hell Freezes Over’ is one of the highest selling rock albums. It was released when the band regrouped after a gap of 14 years. The album has a lot of trivia attached. To know more I not only called fellow cowboy and ‘music ka gyaani’ Narendra Kusnur but also invited senior journalist, music expert, fondly called (by us cowboys) ‘The Sheriff of Music’, Parag Kamani for our Album Talk of the week.
Note – Language may be changed to meet the publication’s requirements.
Me: The trivia over the album name, ‘Hell Freezes Over’ is that when the band split Henley was asked – “if they will ever regroup?” and he replied – “If hell freezes over.”
Kusnur: Ya and there is one more quote of his, “We never broke up, we just took a 14 year long vacation.”
Me: He said this when they were performing live
Parag: The reunion took place in 1994 but the roots to this so called reunion took shape in 1993. I was in BMG then and we were distributing a label called Giant Records. They had come up with an album, for a charitable organisation, called ‘Common Thread – Sounds of the Eagles.’ Don Henley was one of the founders of this charity. As the Eagles had ceased to exist, it was decided to record their songs using country musicians and the sales proceeds would go to the charity. A musician called Travis Tritt performed ‘Take It Easy’ and wanted to record a video of it. He approached all the members of Eagles and all of them agreed. During the shoot Henley and Frey decided to keep the past behind and regroup. This is the genesis of the album.
(This is why we wanted the sheriff on album talk, didn’t we?)
Me: The album kicks off with a new song ‘Get Over It.’
Kusnur: In fact there are 4 new songs
Me: The first 4 I suppose
Kusnur: ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’, ‘The Girl From Yesterday’ and one more…
Me: ‘Learning To Be Still’
Kusnur: Correct. We will talk about ‘Get Over It’
Me: Very Non-Eagles kind of a track
Kusnur: It has a bit of ‘The Long Run’ album influences
Me: A bit similar to ‘Life In The Fast Lane’ too
Kusnur: The song was very successful
Parag: Successful to the extent that it just kind of entered into the Top 40 and it is not one of my favourites as the lyrics go, “Kill all the lawyers, kill them tonight.”
(Apart from being a music expert, Sheriff Parag Kamani is also a qualified lawyer)
Me: It certainly isn’t the top 10 Eagles song of all time
Kusnur: It was played a lot on the radio at the time as it was a new song. The younger generation liked it and started listening to their old albums. Everyone knew ‘Hotel California’, ‘Tequila Sunrise’, ‘Lying Eyes’ but this song made people listen to the non-famous ones too. The two songs on this album which really hit me are the new version of ‘Hotel California’ and ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’ which has a very early Eagles sound
Me: I think on ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’, Henley proved his prowess as a singer. He was a drummer who could sing but here he switches roles completely
Parag: It is one my favourites too. If you pay attention to the songwriters, there are 2 established names. One is Jim Capaldi, drummer of the band ‘Traffic’ and the other is Paul Carrack who has not only sung with Roger Waters but also had been the vocalist for Mike and the Mechanics. It does remind of the old Eagles sound from the time when Glyn Jones produced for them. They had more of a country flavour then and later they completely switched to rock
Me: But why the heck did Eagles have to redo ‘Hotel California’?
Kusnur: The song grows on you. The intro of this version reminds of Jethro Tull’s ‘Locomotive Breath’. I don’t know if I am right but somehow I get this feeling
Parag: Naren you may be right. I was just mapping the two songs in my mind. There is a sync between the piano part of ‘Locomotive Breath’ and the acoustic part of ‘Hotel California’
Me: It must be the most requested English song in pubs, gigs and airwaves in India. Maybe because it was easier to understand though Naren Sir claims he doesn’t know the entire song
Parag: When the song is played, there is one of those rare moments when Naren is speechless
Me: This reminds me of the reason we invited the sheriff for this song. Parag Sir what colour socks was Henley wearing when they recorded this song?
Kusnur: As long as you stick to socks its okay, don’t ask about other things
Parag: Hardik is actually asking questions below the belt
Kusnur: He asks all these questions but never publishes the answers saying the editor censored it
The rest of the talk too was scrapped by the editor due to the reasons best not mentioned.
Until next week, Adios Amigos!