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Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001) Hardcover – April 1, 2008
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From the Inside Flap
When guitarist Don "Fingers" Felder was invited to join the already platinum-selling Eagles in 1974, he had no idea what sort of rock-and-roll heaven and show-business hell he was about to enter -or how hard it would become to tell one from the other. For the next twenty-seven years, Felder found himself deeply involved in a musical career that was musically thrilling, emotionally exhausting, and surprisingly dangerous.
In Heaven and Hell, Felder shares this remarkable journey with a firsthand look at his tempestuous years with the Eagles. Even as he, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, Bernie Leadon, and, later, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit became America's most popular and successful rock band, selling tens of millions of records, Felder reveals that greed, jealousy, and creative differences constantly threatened to tear the Eagles apart.
From one sold-out arena to the next, some members of the Eagles blazed a trail of sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll that became as legendary as their music. Felder explains how the famous E3 (third encore) parties, which began as spontaneous, raucous backstage binges, evolved into highly organized orgies, with roadies recruiting gorgeous women from the audience to be chauffeured to lavish hotel suites, where nothing was off limits.
Even further behind the scenes, he reveals the grim test of wills between Leadon, Felder's friend since his impoverished boyhood in Gainesville, Florida, and the duo of Frey and Henley. Despite Felder's attempts to mediate this conflict, it would not be resolved until a tense meeting that very nearly came to blows, which ended when Leadon stormed out of the room, never to return to the band.
Felder also offers a rare glimpse into the creative melting pot that produced such great Eagles hits as "Life in the Fast Lane," "Hotel California," "Victim of Love," and many others. The writing of these songs often involved the entire band, as well as non-band members, such as well-known Eagles collaborator J. D. Souther, Bob Seger, and others. Frequently beginning as a simple guitar lick or a vague idea, these songs took shape through a fascinating process of free association and collaboration, yet, says Felder, even these exciting moments led to friction and bickering.
Filled with hilarious true stories of rock stars on the road, including Felder's first meeting with Keith Richards, who was passed out on a bathroom floor at the time, and Joe Walsh's genius for practical jokes, Heaven and Hell is the book Eagles fans have been waiting for.
Top Customer Reviews
Other Amazon reviewers have covered the basics of Felder's life story, tracing his beginnings in Gainesville, Florida; his growing focus on music and guitars; and his father's undue influence on his life. Knowing where he'll eventually end up, the pages make for interesting and anticipatory reading. We follow Felder's winding career path (which includes attending Woodstock) as it eventually leads toward the Eagles, to California, and to the celebrity and opulent lifestyle that only rock stars can earn. And of course: simultaneously to alcohol, drugs, extramarital liaisons, and chain-saw attacks on hotel room furniture. (You go, Joe!)
Those folks who have also read books like Jonathan Gould's "Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain & America" will no doubt be stirred by the resemblance of the Eagles to the Fab Four. Felder himself refers to the analogy on page 116 when Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon are said to have adopted "the George and Ringo positions" in the group. Ain't it the truth? Here we have a band made up of highly creative musicians, dominated by two of the original members (who seem to be writing most of the songs) and a manager who's behind it all, calling the shots.Read more ›
HEAVEN AND HELL may have exposed the Eagles dirty laundry but - substitute a few names here and there - and it could be the story of the Stones, Zeppelin or any major rock group creating great music amidst drugs, alcohol, groupies and oversized egos. Why should The Eagles have been different?
Actually, given Henley and Frey's demeaning treatment of other members of the group, I thought Felder did an even-handed job of describing the group's life in the fast lane. People may question why he wrote the book but why shouldn't he? He was there; he has a perfect right to record what happened. His version of events may not agree with the version Frey and Henley want the public to accept but so what.
As I was reading Felder's book, time and again I got the feeling I was getting 'The Rest of the Story.' For example, as much as I liked the Eagles' music, often-times it seemed almost too perfect, too mistake-free. Now I know why.Read more ›
We hear and feel Felder's frustration when attempting to talk to Henley and Frey through their Manager Irving Azoff. Azoff himself protected more of Henley and Frey than the other band members. They all stayed in different floors away from each other in hotels during touring. When it was promised that the percentage of income would be worked out with Felder, (It never Happened). After Felder was fired, he was forced to sue the Eagles over constantant mis-management and handling of the finances. This book put Irzoff, Henley and Frey in an extreemly bad light, and I must say I agree completely with Felder on many of his examinations. The Company created called "Eagles Limited" was the organization made up by all the original members including Don Felder. Each had a 20% part of the organization equally. When Bernie and Randy (original members) left the group, these shares were given back freely but not extended to Schmidt or Walsh. This is probably the beginning of the control ride that Henley and Frey started with the group. To this day Schmidt and Walsh are just hired session and performance members only. Felder did still retain all his membership rights.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a very fast read. I read it in a week while working my full time job and running a side business. I couldn't wait to read ahead even though I knew the story. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Patrick J. Corcoran
There is a lot of interesting things told in the book about the Eagles, felder and all involved. Without felder the Eagles suck, but this book is basically the story of how he... Read morePublished 11 days ago by AJD
I am a big fan of rock autobiographies, and this is one of the best I've read. I've seen the History of the Eagles, but Felder's account here is quite revealing.Published 26 days ago by TLK
Good book. Felder pulls no punches, even when it comes to himself. Sadly, it confirms what many people already knew, that Henley and Frey have no people skills whatsoever. Read morePublished 1 month ago by D. Kemp
I thoroughly enjoyable read. I grew up listening to the Eagles and enjoyed the behind the scenes narrative about the band. Read morePublished 1 month ago by ifromtennessee