“On The Border!” The Eagles Say Hello To Don Felder! Goodbye To Glyn Johns! Don Henley’s Brilliant #1 “Best Of My Love!”


“He who hesitates is lunch”

These “secret” words are found on one of the Eagles great albums – recorded in 1974 – a year that began with the four members of the band….and ended with five:

August 1974 --- The rock band, The Eagles, stand together outside a building.  The Eagles were the most popular band of the seventies and their reunion tour in the nineties was also very successful. --- Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

August 1974 — The rock band, The Eagles, stand together outside a building. The Eagles were the most popular band of the seventies and their reunion tour in the nineties was also very successful. — Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

Time to look at the turmoil that surrounded the release of the Eagles third album – a collection of music that showed the band showcasing a new, harder edge – AND containing their first #1 song as well!

Eagles On The Border

The Eagles “On The Border!”

After the success of their first album – and the commercial failure of their second – the Eagles knew they had to re-think their music. The result was “On the Border” – and album that saw their Record Producer Glyn Johns leave the project after only two songs were recorded.


The album was initially produced by Glyn Johns and recorded at Olympic Studios, London, but during the making of the album, it was clear there was a problem. The band’s second album is a beautiful record, with two of their best songs – “Tequila Sunrise” and “Desperado”…


The album didn’t sell well, however, and the band decided it was time for a harder, more rock-focused approach – but Glyn Johns didn’t agree!

As Glenn Frey said about the recording sessions:

“We just didn’t want to make another limp-wristed L.A. country-rock record. They were all too smooth and glassy. We wanted a tougher sound.”

The-Eagles Glenn Frey

After six weeks in the studio, the band decided it was time for a change, so they said goodbye to Johns, with only two usable tracks, “Best of My Love” and “You Never Cry Like a Lover”.

February 1974 --- The members of The Eagles stand against a wall.  The Eagles were the most popular band of the seventies and their reunion tour in the nineties was also very successful. --- Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

February 1974 — The members of The Eagles stand against a wall. The Eagles were the most popular band of the seventies and their reunion tour in the nineties was also very successful. — Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

The band headed back home to California, and hired Bill Szymczyk to produce the rest of the album. It was exactly the right choice for the band.

Eagles band with Bill Szymczyk

That’s Szymczyk in the Broncos jersey. These photos are by Henry Diltz, who captured the band throughout their incredible career. The Producer loved the harder edge that the band wanted, and he suggested they bring in a harder-edged guitarist to add slide guitar to the song “Good Day in Hell”.

March 1972 --- The rock band The Eagles rest upon a rock.  The Eagles were the most popular band of the seventies and their reunion tour in the nineties was also very successful. --- Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

March 1972 — The rock band The Eagles rest upon a rock. The Eagles were the most popular band of the seventies and their reunion tour in the nineties was also very successful. — Image by © Henry Diltz/CORBIS

Bernie Leadon suggested his buddy Don Felder, and after he began playing with them, the band invited Felder to become the fifth Eagle. The only other track he played on was the first song, “Already Gone”. They credited him as a late arrival on the album’s liner notes!

on the border foldout

That’s why the album’s inner sleeve photo only has the original four members of the band! I love the iconic cover of the album, and I also loved the stylized graphics that list the songs on the back of the album.

Eagles On The Border

\eagles on the border cover

Here is an amazing live performance of the album’s first song, the classic rocker “Already Gone” from the 1974 California Jam concert – full of great energy:

Thanks to the OntarioMotorSpeedway youtube channel for this classic, which is from the CaliforniaJamFanClub.com.

By the way, more of this performance was released last year in Europe…

It’s an unauthorized live recording, so while fans may be unhappy about that, it is a great musical document of the time.

See my review here:


The band was clearly having a great time, and that first song is a classic. Here are the Eagles performing “Already Gone” live on their 2013 “History Of The Eagles” tour as well:

Eagles on stage with eagles logo

The Eagles Soar To The Top Of The Charts!

The album includes the classic Eagles song, “Best of My Love”, which became the band’s first #1 single. Here is a beautiful live version from 1977:

eagles best of my love single

Of course, the single was noticeably shorter than the song that’s on the album, because the record label edited the song before releasing it – without telling the band!


The Eagles Have A Hidden Groove!

Hers a fun fact I came across on wikipedia: this is the first album by the Eagles to be released in Quadraphonic surround sound. There is a hidden message carved into the run out groove on some of the original vinyl LPs that reads:

“He who hesitates is lunch”.

eagles hidden album groove on the border

Here is a look at each song on the album, along with the songwriters. As you can see, a lot of the band’s friends contributed to the songwriting effort:

“Already Gone” (Jack Tempchin, Robb Strandlund)

“You Never Cry Like a Lover” (J.D. Souther, Don Henley)

“Midnight Flyer” (Paul Craft)

“My Man” (Bernie Leadon)

“On the Border” (Henley, Leadon, Glenn Frey)

“James Dean” (Jackson Browne, Frey, Souther, Henley)

Here is a great live performance of “James Dean” from that California Jam concert in 1974!

eagles on the border cover

“Ol’ ’55” (Tom Waits)

“Is It True?” (Randy Meisner)

“Good Day in Hell” (Henley, Frey)

“Best of My Love” (Henley, Frey, Souther)

After the success of this album, the band never looked back…”On The Border” shows the band maturing in their sound, with a harder edge helped by the addition of Don Felder, and the music holds up more than 40 years later!

Linda Ronstadt Eagles backing band

I posted a story about the beginning of the Eagles, and Linda Ronstadt’s memories of them as her friends – and backing band!

You can see that story here:


It was a memorable time in music history, and the band would go on to write some of the best songs in rock…

GlennFrey RIP

Fans were stunned by the death of Glenn Frey, and here is a story of how he and Don Henley wrote “Lyin’ Eyes”:


I was so happy to have had the chance to see the band’s “History Of The Eagles” tour in 2013:

The Eagles harmonizing in concert

It was great to see Bernie Leadon performing the early songs with the band – here is my review of that concert:


And finally, Don Henley recently stated that the band won’t perform together again…but Henley continues to release great music:

Don Henley Cass County

Henley’s most recently album went to #1 on the country chart…see his great music video from the album here:


Leave a comment to let me know your favorite “On The Border” song!

Eagles On The Border

Categories: 70's Music, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, documentary films, Great Films, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Music, Obscure Music, Talent/Celebrities, TV Show, Uncategorized

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14 replies

  1. “good day in hell” has always been my favorite track on this one. others are “already gone”, “midnight flyer” and the title track(i like how frey says “say goodnight, dick” on the fade out. 😀 ). and “james dean” is cool as well. looks like fans got a lot more with the LP back in the old days. we who bought the CD didn’t get the fancy graphic or photos.

  2. Best of My Love is a fantastic song & the best one on that album. I too, as as blessed enough to see the Eagles in 2013 when they came to Jacksonville, Florida. In fact, that concert was sold out within 15 minutes of going on sale there.

    I was very saddened to hear of Glenn’s death. We lost such great personality & a very gifted musician!!!

  3. John,
    I remember being 12-13 years old and having this record and playing the hell out of it. Singing at the top of my lungs!!! The songs that standout for me were Midnight Flyer and that bluegrass banjo and the tonal vibe from major to dominant was just too cool and very evocative emotionally for me. But I did some rockin’ out to On The Border which is got that rock/funk groove thang going on. And James Dean; balls out from start to finish. dare i say i was banging my head?
    I have been a professional guitarist for 40 years and am currently playing in The Long Run-Colorados Tribute To the Eagles. (www.thelongruncolorado.com) A highly successful regional tribute band doing over 40 + dates a year and i am having the time of my 55 year old life performing the music and playing the highly crafted and cool guitar parts by Felder, Frey, Leadon, Walsh. As intentional and orchestrated as any thing that Jimmy Page did. That is no small feat IMO. I feel, especially now with Glenns passing my band and myself are blessed to be able to keep the music alive, and serve not only the memory of the band, but the fans memories of what the music meant to them as they journeyed through their lives. I constantly have people at the shows tell me what they were doing when a particular song on. Its true what Glenn said on the history DVD “People didn’t just listen to the Eagles, they DID things to the Eagles”
    I am humbled and blessed to do what i do!
    Thanks for the post!


  1. The Eagles Swan Song! “Long Road Out Of Eden”! Glenn Frey’s Farewell! – johnrieber
  2. The Eagles’ “Desperado” Disaster! Brilliant Music! Shocking Album Snub! Beautiful “Tequila Sunrise”! – johnrieber
  3. Musical “Heaven And Hell”! The Eagles Dump Don Felder! His Candid Eagles Memoir! – johnrieber
  4. The Eagles! Their Smash Hit Debut Album! The Iconic “Winslow Arizona” Statue! – johnrieber
  5. The Eagles End Their “Long Run!” Their Last 70’s Music! Hit Singles! Band Fights! The End Of An Era… – johnrieber
  6. NEW Live Eagles CD! My “Lives Of Outlaw Men” Review! Different Version of “Tequila Sunrise”! Classic Eagles Live! – johnrieber
  7. “One Of These Nights!” The Eagles Meltdown At #1! Bernie Leadon Quits! Joe Walsh Electrifies The Band! – johnrieber
  8. The Eagles Cry Like A Lover! Music With A “Y” Has Carole King And Neil Young! The Youngbloods Get Together! “Yes” Indeed! – johnrieber
  9. The Eagles! Album By Album! My Favorite Deep Cut Album Tracks! – johnrieber

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