How the Eagles’ ‘Greatest Hits Invented a New Kind of Blockbuster


(via Rolling Stone)

by Steve Knopper

The old story goes that Glenn Frey, Don Henley and their bandmates were taking forever to finish Hotel California when their record label, Asylum, needed a new Eagles album to raise revenue in the first quarter of 1976. So the label released Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 as a sort of placeholder – a way of placating fans until the real album could come out. But Irving Azoff, the band’s longtime manager, says the truth is far simpler. “We decided it was time to put out the first greatest-hits because we had enough hits,” he tells Rolling Stone.

The LP containing “Take It Easy,” “Desperado,” “Take It to the Limit,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and six others has sold a massive 29 million copies in the U.S.; back in 1999, it leapfrogged Thriller as the best-selling album of all time. “I think when Michael Jackson sees this on television, he’s going to go out and buy a million-and-a-half copies of Thriller,” Frey, who died Monday at age 67, quipped at the time. (The Eagles returned to second place after Michael Jackson’s 2009 death.)

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