The Truth About Don Henley, Glenn Frey, And Don Felder Feud
After being in the rock and roll world for years, rockstars tend to shift their focus from providing the world with rock songs to inflating their egos and fighting each other for credits. The Eagles weren’t the only band that this rivalry occurred in rock history, however, it is definitely one of the bands that reflected this ego fight pretty intensely.
The Eagles’ success was remarkable when the band members could collaborate peacefully. They were able to climb the ladders of success and became one of the world’s most-selling bands by selling 200 million records, 100 million being in the United States alone. Their album ‘Hotel California,’ which includes the iconic title track, was one of the best-selling albums of all time and reached No. 37 in Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Albums of All Time.
This timeless success has made the band members rich, motivated them, and given them the fame every talented musician dreams. However, the relationship between the band members was not as rainbows and butterflies as their success. Their lineup before they disbanded in 1980 consisted of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Don Felder, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit. The tension between Frey, Henley, and Felder is definitely worth mentioning.
The Disagreements Between The Band Members
Don Felder was constantly fighting for an equal role and share in the band. The people he opposed were mainly Frey and Henley. Felder claimed that Frey and Henley were tyrants in his book and considered themselves the leaders, which bothered him a lot. This was criticized by Henley in an interview with The Guardian. They fought way too many times that, in the end, they couldn’t control themselves on stage.
The late guitarist and singer Glenn Frey and Felder had a huge fight at a concert in 1980 where they both threatened each other with violence, and eventually, Frey even threatened to kill Felder. The band broke up after this heated day and thought they would never reunite again. To their and their fans’ surprise, they reunited in 1994 with the same line-up until Felder was fired in 2001.
The Aftermath of Felder’s Termination
The tensions hadn’t stopped with their reunion in 1994, and Felder was still frustrated at the egoistical behavior of Frey and Henley. He complained about their dominance in the band and spoke up about the financial inequality among the band members. After he was fired in 2001, he sued the band for wrongful termination and wrote a book about his time in the Eagles. As you can imagine, it did not portray their relationship that delightful.
Here is a comment by Henley about the book in 2015:
“The fact is, we are largely responsible both for the longevity and the success of this band because we did it our way, and a lot of people didn’t like that.”
Frey and Henley tried to stop him before publishing ‘Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles,‘ but that only postponed the book’s publication by two years. In the book, Frey and Henley are described as tyrants, dictators, and hungry for money. Their feud may have been less objective in Frey’s book, but according to Henley, the relationship was downplayed in the band’s 2013 documentary, ‘History of the Eagles.’
Henley’s Opinions On The Portrayal Of The Feud In Their Documentary
The documentary didn’t portray the arguments as accurately as real life, but they always regarded each other as family no matter how intense the fights got. According to Henley, families and brothers fight, and to him, this was all it was. Hence, this explains why they would reunite in 1994 after a dramatic break-up in 1980.
Here is what Henley had stated in 2014:
“There really hasn’t been too much to that. There’s certainly none of it on film. We have had our differences, we still do, but we’re a lot like brothers. We fight but we’re still family. We’ve been through hell of a lot together. We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles together. We still guide this band together. We understand we’re going to have our differences, and we get over it and get on with the work.“
Unfortunately, nothing in life is for certain. Felder felt that when his rival and bandmate Frey died in 2016 of rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia after suffering from painful diseases for years. As you can imagine, it hasn’t been easy for any band members, but for Felder, it was even harder and filled with regret as they didn’t mend their relationship before his tragic departure from the world.