Years after they first called it quits, in 1980, members of the Eagles realized the emotional power of FM ubiquity, that their songs had fused permanently to a blue-jeans American experience. It was, as one of their early hits described, that “peaceful, easy feeling” of an era that has grown increasingly remote and exponentially nostalgic.
People “did things to [the music of] the Eagles,” frontman Glenn Frey observes in director Alison Ellwood’s tender and fascinating “History of the Eagles,” a two-part documentary beginning Friday night on Showtime.
People fell in love to Eagles music. They also broke up to it. They took spontaneous road trips to it, many of them through Winslow, Ariz., looking for the girl (my Lord) in that flatbed Ford. They brawled to it. They worked on their cars to it. They piloted space shuttles to it. It can’t help but make you think of ice chests and summertime, girls in tube tops and their shaggy-haired boyfriends. When listening to an Eagles song, “Everybody remembers a ’70s that they may or may not have had,” says J.D. Souther, a songwriter who collaborated with the band and watched it rise to the top.