Thursday, May 10, 2007

In Praise of the Eagles

Have to admit I have the Greatest Hits on my iPod. New York offers 32 Reasons Why the Eagles Are the Best Band in the Universe.


7. The career arc of Glenn Frey, from “Chug All Night” — a song from the first Eagles album, about wanting to be “high on a pleasure wheel” — to “Smuggler’s Blues,” a nuanced critique of U.S. drug policy (seriously!) that inspired a really good Miami Vice episode.

8. The moment in “Already Gone” when Glenn tells somebody “You’ll have to eat your lunch all by yourself,” like he’s disciplining a fourth-grader.

9. The excellent pro-sloth anthem “Earlybird,” a banjo-led number about how the whole catching-the-worm thing is for suckers.

10. “Desperado” — their version, and the children’s-choir cover version by the Langley Schools Music Project — which is one of the most heartrending pieces of music ever committed to tape.

Like most great music of the past, they are held back only by the embarassments of age and nostalgia. Grey, thining hair. Paunchiness. Irrelevance. Concert audiences filled with the grey, the paunchy, and the irrelevant.

The music, on the other hand, is timeless.