“Best of My Love” may be one of The Eagles’ greatest hits. But if the band had their way, the No.1 single would have never graced the radio.
The genesis of the rock classic occurred during a late afternoon jam session. Guitarist and vocalist Glenn Frey began playing the notes that eventually would become the basis for the song.
“I was playing acoustic guitar one afternoon in Laurel Canyon. And I was trying to figure out a tuning that Joni Mitchell had shown me a couple of days earlier,” Frey wrote in the notes for The Very Best of the Eagles. “I got lost. And ended up with the guitar tuning for what would later turn out to be ‘The Best of My Love.'”
Frey turned to fellow band member Don Henley to help flesh out the song. The two sat in a booth at their local haunt Dan Tana’s in Los Angeles and worked on the lyrics to the song. Frequent collaborator J.D. Souther provided the missing ingredient by creating the song’s bridge. Souther flew to London where the band was working on their third album On the Border to help complete the song.
The Eagles Wanted to Move in a New Direction with Its Music
For their third album, The Eagles initially worked with Glyn Johns at Olympic Sound. Johns had produced the band’s first two albums. But the band and its producer soon had a conflict of opinion after recording just “Best of My Love” and another. Johns enjoyed the country-rock vibes that dominated their early albums. But the band wanted to move into a more rock-oriented direction with faster tempo tunes.
Ultimately, the band left Olympic and finished its album at Record Plant. They released “Already Gone” and “James Dean” as their first singles to reflect their new sound. But the record label decided to release “Best of My Love” as the album’s third single after it received high traffic on a radio station in Michigan.
The band felt betrayed by the decision and resented a simplified track the record label cut for the radio. The band felt it represented a regression for them as artists. Henley even demanded the song be pulled from the radio.
The song would go on to top the Billboard charts and become the Eagles’ first No.1 hit.
[H/T: Taste of Country]