This is my second stab at this great Don Henley/Glenn Frey/J.D. Souther song. Hopefully Cass County Music will allow this clip to remain online, given I am not profiting at all from sharing this with my friends. Isn't singing a favourite classic song at home by one of my favourite groups considered fair use Don? Your empire is secure.
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I grew up with this song. I was a smalltown boy, and The Best Of My Love 's lyric had a universally connective narrative anybody could respond to. Don Henley and Glenn Frey had a knack for writing catchy songs, with great harmonies and deceptively simple yet poignant lyrics that captured time and place, moment and environment.
Eagles were part of that country rock style that emerged from bands like the Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Mike Nesmith, Gram Parsons and Linda Ronstadt, but Eagles synchronized what was happening with that rootsy flavour, and became the forebearers and masters of that sound. Eagles used harmonics that were simpler than the Beach Boys, more fluid, perhaps a bit more rural (and I mean that as a compliment), but not necessarily less structured, and just as polished and honed. Many would argue that you need at least four voices to properly convey the complexities of the Eagles sound, but I believe their songs hold up when deconstructed and laid bare, with one instrument and one voice.
J.D. Souther was another singer/songrwiter from that era who collaborated with Henley and Frey on this classic ballad, about someone trying to make sense out of a loving relationship about to go bad due to an impass of some sort.
Henley's lead vocal on the track is staggering in its sandpaper precision.
I was aware of Eagles songs on the radio as a young child, but it wasn't until my childhood friend Sue Theriault started playing Hotel California at her place that I fell in love with their California sound. This was around Christmas 1976 if I recall correctly. I was 11.
It's funny how Eagles were labeled a California band, given that Henley was from Texas and Frey was from Detroit!
I loved the Eagles LIVE album from 1980. The accapella harmonies in Seven Bridges Road blew me away. I think that's when my obsession kicked in. I bought all the Henley and Frey solo albums after the band broke up. I also remember pining for the dollars to pick up the solo Randy Meisner, Don Felder, Timothy B. Schmidt and Joe Walsh albums I would peruse in the stores, but I was a teenager on a tight budget at the time! I did have Don Felder's version of Heavy Metal from the motion picture soundtrack with the same name.
I saw Henley perform in July 1985, at Pine Knob, in Michigan. Great show, but I longed to see him sing with his old band. Never got the chance, even though they did reunite a couple of times.
The chords to The Best Of My Love are pretty basic, but it's all in the feel in how they are played and layered that gives this song part of its power. It is a perfect menage of harmony, melody and lyric. It's a quintessential guitar song, but I play piano, so there ya go.
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