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Eagles hits album named best-selling of century


The Eagles perform "Tequila Sunrise" on CNN Showbiz Today

Full audio performance:
1.3Mb MPEG-3
Audio clip: 340k WAV
Video clip: 2Mb QuickTime

December 8, 1999
Web posted at: 2:55 p.m. EST (1955 GMT)

In this story:

New tour, new songs

Splitting shows to warm up


LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- "The Eagles, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975," released in 1976, was honored Tuesday as the top-selling album of the century by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Although the award only takes into account the album's 26 million sales in the United States -- in worldwide album sales, Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album is at 46 million, versus the "Greatest Hits"' 40 million sales -- the band is nonetheless gratified by the recognition.

"I think it's just an amazing award," Eagles guitarist Don Felder told CNN's Jim Moret on "Showbiz Today." "It's kind of a testament to the songwriting of these two guys over here, Don Henley and Glenn Frey. The songs on that record really kind of withstood the test of time."

Timothy B. Schmit

Two of the group's current lineup, guitarist Joe Walsh and bass player Timothy B. Schmit, joined the band after the album came out, but still get RIAA plaques for the achievement, as will the musicians they replaced, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Singer/songwriters Henley and Frey, along with Felder, round out the band.

First formed in 1970 as the backup band for Linda Ronstadt's "Silk Purse" album, the band released its first, self-titled album in 1972, following it up over the next 20-odd years with seven more albums and eight compilations and box sets, including "Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)."

The bandmembers have also developed special bonds in their work together -- and despite reports of friction between the musicians, relations between the members today appear cordial.

"I think any worthwhile relationship has peaks and valleys, and so this band has had some valleys," Frey says. "But that's just the way it is in any relationship. We're probably in pretty good shape right now."

Adds Henley, "We have a new set. We're playing some songs that we've never played before, that should be interesting. We're also playing some songs that we haven't played in 20 years, maybe."

Don Henley and Glenn Frey

Splitting shows to warm up

The group plans year-end concerts at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (December 28 and 29), and at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (December 31). Like many of this year's pricey New Year's Eve extravaganzas, tickets are still available for both shows; premiere seats were made available to the public for the first time Tuesday.

Available seats for the Las Vegas shows are going for $95 to $450, according to Ticketmaster. The Staples Center show, a triple-billing with Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne, is even more expensive, with available tickets ranging from $50 to $1,000 a seat.

The Eagles are being paid a guaranteed sum for the latter performance, and will also get a percentage of the ticket sales for the 22,000-seat arena. The deal earmarks a portion of the proceeds for L.A's Best: After School Enrichment Program.

The group decided to play the two separate venues in order to warm up its act. "We can only get into Staples for New Year's Eve," Frey says. "They have hockey and basketball, a lot of activities there. And we didn't want to come into the show cold, so we were looking for a place close to Los Angeles that we could go to.

"Vegas is perfect for us. We are allowed to go in the venue at Mandalay Bay a day early. So we really get to play this show three days in a row before it comes to Los Angeles, so that's why we chose Vegas."

They're looking forward to playing before a live audience in their first live shows in the United States since 1995.

"The audience really is the key to playing live," Felder says. "You know, you get immediate reaction to what's going on. The energy from the audience back into the performance really kind of just makes the music a lot different than just playing the tape."

Don Felder and Joe Walsh

Time-proven hits 'so new' for fans

And, says Frey, they don't even mind trotting out the fans' old favorites "because it's so new for them. They've been waiting for years for us to do this.

"I think our millennium shows, the nostalgia and the feelings that are associated with a band like The Eagles are going to be amplified to a degree that we've never experienced," he says. "To stand in Southern California on New Year's Eve and play all these songs which are so much about California, so many of them written in California, where we lived, I think I'm looking forward to a pretty emotional evening myself," Frey says. "I'm going to cry."

Fans will have a little something extra to look forward to at the concerts, as well. "We decided for our millennium shows that we wanted to do something a little different," Frey says. "So coming out of intermission, in the second part of the show, we're going to show about a 15- or 20-minute film that's sort of a musical and pictorial view of the last century. We'll start in the 1900s and go through to the '90s."

The Eagles are included in the '70s segment of the film, he says, with "a very interesting and truthful look how we actually came together, wrote all the songs and, ultimately, disbanded."

New Year's Eve tickets go unsold
December 3, 1999
Eagles to play L.A. on New Year's
May 7, 1999
Eagles, Fleetwood Mac enshrined at rock hall of fame
January 13, 1998

Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino
Staples Center
Recording Industry Association of America
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