On This Day: Eagles Guitarist Don Felder Fired From the Band in 2001

by Madison Miller
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The Eagles started to become a powerful force in music back in 1971. They were one of the most influential rock bands of the ’70s. Now, they are one of the world’s best-selling bands with over 200 million records sold in the U.S. alone.

The Los Angeles band has had six No. 1 singles, six No. 1 albums, six Grammy Awards, and five American Music Awards.

The band consisted of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner originally. In 1974, Don Felder joined the group as a guitarist. Right at this time, the band released “Best of My Love,” which was their first overseas hit.

The band had gone through different members over the years. Joe Walsh replaced Leadon in 1975. Timothy B. Schmit replaced Meisner in 1977. The band had also taken breaks and gotten back together throughout the years. There was a lot of tension and drama and band members quitting over the years.

For example, they broke up in 1980 and reunited in 1994 for “Hell Freezes Over.”

Through it all, during the hits, new members, and world tours, only one band member was fired, however.

Bandmates Fire Felder

The band had been mostly led by Henley and Frey. However, this caused a lot of hurt feelings and some heads and egos pumping together. Specifically with full-time guitarist, Don Felder.

According to Grunge, the tension became nearly unbearable when the band released the song “Victim of Love.” Felder had recorded the vocals, but Henley said to Rolling Stones that they “simply did not come up to band standards.” As a result, the band erased his recording and instead recorded the vocals with Henley.

It didn’t stop there, however. When the band got back together in 1994, all the members argued about money. According to The Hollywood Reporter, times had changed and the division of the cash should as well. Felder played a large role in moving the band from a more rock-oriented sound.

“There was a big shift away from it being a band into being a dictatorship, with dual-headed dictators,” Felder said.

Frey and Henley wanted the money to be divided to favor them as the “leaders” of the group. Felder, who had agreed with how the money was split and had been split for years, didn’t want anything to change. Before each member got the same amount. When he questioned them, he was fired on Feb. 6, 2001.

According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Frey and Henley had a separate company that handled selling a career-retrospective box set that didn’t involve any of the other members.

He would go on to sue for wrongful termination, breach of contract, and fiduciary duty. In a lawsuit, Felder said, “The greed of Henley and Frey became more insatiable with each new project.”

Don Felder Memoir

After being fired, Felder eventually wrote a book that detailed his experience with the Eagles. The book is “Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001).”

In an interview with New York Daily News Felder said, “wasn’t out to hang people’s heads for the whole community to see, that wasn’t the point of the book. The point was to tell my story.”

He released three different solo albums during his career. Two of them were his career post-Eagles. They were “Road to Forever” and “American Rock ‘n’ Roll.” When Frey passed away in 2016, he regretted never making amends with his former band members.

“I had always hoped somewhere along the line, he and I would have dinner together, talking about old times and letting it go with a handshake and a hug,” Felder told Associated Press.

Even now, Felder mostly communicates with his former bandmates, but only when it’s through an attorney and has to do with a lawsuit.

Outsider.com