History Of The Eagles Part Two

History Of The Eagles Part Two


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Those who have watched The History Of The Eagles Part One - charting the band's Seventies rise and ultimate falling apart in 1980 - could be forgiven for thinking that was pretty much the end of the story. But Alison Ellwood's second instalment boasts a brisk runtime and is, if not quite as fascinating as the first, still well worth a watch.

Picking up where Part One left off, she documents what happened to the band members after the split, with an emphasis on the fact that their music continued to be a mainstay of US rock radio. Hotel California was even played aboard the Space Shuttle to wake up the astronauts (if you're interested, there's a full history of space wake-up calls here). As Henley dryly, and perhaps just a little smugly, puts it: "That song has really got around."

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Anyone who lived through the Eighties will be familiar with the chart success enjoyed by the band's brightest lights Glenn Frey and Henley, but it's interesting to hear the two of them talk about their reaction to going it alone. Henley maintains "going solo was the scariest part of my life," adding, with a reference to a critic who said the band had a tendency to "loiter" on stage, "It was difficult for us loiterers to make the transition".

Frey seems to have embraced the chance to do his own thing much more readily and enjoyed a spell as an actor as well as a chart star. The band's other members, with their less alpha male tendencies, seem to have mourned more for what was. Timothy B Schmit, who had only been a part of the group for three years, says, "I was pretty devastated", while Joe Walsh adds simply, "When we stopped I was really sad".

In fact, when the Eagles stopped, Walsh was really in trouble. Although he continued to work, his addictions were rapidly spiralling out of control. "I ended up an alcoholic and very fond of cocaine," he admits with a refreshing candour that marks out all the interviews in both documentaries, adding, "If I was awake, I was doing that stuff".

The film goes on to show how, after years of literally sticking a finger up to the idea of a reunion, Frey finally came round largely as a result of Common Thread: The Songs Of The Eagles charity record for the Don Henley's Walden Woods Project to protect the environment. The group got together to help shoot one of the videos and finally the time seemed right to give things another go, a move that proved to be a particular godsend for Walsh, as it helped him on his road to sobriety. The story, of course, doesn't quite end there and Don Felder's split from the band is covered in surprisingly emotional detail. Ellwood continues to employ the same intercutting technique she used in Part One, marrying up well-edited segments from press conferences and concerts with talking head interviews from the band.

Although Frey and Henley seem a little too pleased with themselves on occasion - and let's face it, it must be hard not to let the sort of success they have enjoyed not to go to your head - the overall feel of this documentary is neither to glorify them or condemn them. Ultimately the portrait that emerges is of a bunch of guys whose love of music and friendship for one another afforded them, as Frey puts it, "that rarest of things in American life... a second chance".

Reviewed on: 27 May 2013
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Documentary charting the band after their split in 1980 and their subsequent reunion.
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Director: Alison Ellwood

Starring: Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B Schmit, Joe Walsh, Don Felder

Year: 2013

Runtime: 68 minutes

Country: US


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If you like this, try:

History Of The Eagles Part One