Glenn Frey’s Defense For Making More Money Than Other Eagles Members

One rarely discussed, but critical aspect of the music industry is income disparity within bands. It is related to the complex dynamics of how revenue is distributed among band members, which often reflects varying levels of contribution, songwriting credits, and individual agreements. Glenn Frey had some ideas on why he, as a key member of the Eagles, earned more than his bandmates.

Following the release of the 2013 documentary ‘History of the Eagles’ Frey and Don Henley sat down with ArtsBeat to discuss the film. Regarding the band’s 1994 reunion and the financial arrangements, the late singer was open about his belief that he and Henley deserved a larger share of the earnings, as he explained:

“That’s the way I felt. I watched Don Henley work really, really hard for 14 years. I felt like he and I were the guys that continued to work in our business, and it was a way that we perpetuated the Eagles as well. I just felt that fair was fair.”

Don Felder’s Dispute Over Revenue Sharing

This issue had been a problem for the former Eagles member Don Felder in the early 2000s after the reunion. Originally, the band members had equally shared profits from albums, concerts, and merchandise. However, for the reunion, Henley and Frey proposed a new corporate structure, where they would each hold about 30% stakes in new companies, double that of Felder, Timothy B. Schmit, and Joe Walsh.

They also controlled all voting stock. Felder filed a lawsuit against the Eagles members and accused Henley and Frey of self-dealing, diverting funds from the Eagles to these new companies. It also claimed they overpaid their manager, Irving Azoff, by making deals that benefited his record label and merchandise company.

Henley And Frey’s Justification For Higher Earnings

Still, in a 2014 interview with Australia’s News, Henley said that Frey felt they deserved more because they wrote most of the band’s hits, shouldered more responsibility, and secured the record deal with David Geffen. He explained what they deserved to get paid more with the following words:

“Glenn has no qualms about talking about that. He feels like we deserve it because we started this mess. We guided it; we’re the ones who had the connections that got the record deal with David Geffen, and we wrote most of the hit songs. We felt like, and still feel like, we are the leaders of this band.

Later, Henley and Frey also sued Felder for breaking their contract, claiming he tried to sell a book about his time with the Eagles, ‘Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles,’ which was delayed until 2007 in the UK and 2008 in the US. The Los Angeles County Court combined these lawsuits in 2002. They were settled outside of court in 2007 for an unknown amount.