The Eagles (UK band)
|Associated acts||Ron Grainer|
|Past members||Terry Clarke (lead guitar, vocals)
Rod Meacham (drums)
Michael Brice (bass)
Johnny Payne (rhythm guitar)
Led by lead guitarist Terry Clarke (born Terence Michael Clarke, 20 August 1944, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada died 2008, Bristol), who used a homebuilt custom instrument, the group included drummer Rod Meacham (born Roderick Meacham, 25 March 1943, Bristol, died 21 March 2002, Bristol), bassist Michael Brice (born 1943), and Johnny Payne on rhythm guitar (born John Payne, 1943). Playing primarily instrumental rock, they began their career in Bristol playing local venues such as dance halls.
They were launched into the world of professional music in 1962 upon being noticed by composer Ron Grainer, probably best remembered for his theme to Doctor Who. Grainer was interested in The Eagles for a film project he was working on, Some People, about a fictional Bristol band not unlike themselves. The Eagles contributed to the Some People soundtrack, and became Grainer's protégés, recording new versions of some of his film score work like the theme of the Maigret television series. The Some People soundtrack reached No.2 on the EP charts, and remained on the charts for a stay of 21 weeks.
The Eagles were awarded the Duke of Edinburgh Trophy for their work on the film, and soon after were signed to Pye Records, at the time among the top three labels in Britain. After releasing the singles "Bristol Express" and "Exodus (Main Theme)", The Eagles embarked on a major tour of England along with more established acts Del Shannon, Stevie Wonder, Johnny Tillotson, and Dionne Warwick.
The tour world lasted much of 1963, during which their debut album, Smash Hits From The Eagles was released in the UK and the United States. The following year brought their most successful single and the one for which they are best remembered today, a vocal rendition of "Wishin' and Hopin'" backed with "Write Me a Letter". Unfortunately, 1964 also brought a pair of tragedies which ultimately led to the end of the group: Grainer went blind, and Meacham suffered a nervous breakdown. Soon after, in late 1964, the band went their separate ways.
After The Eagles
Clarke continued to play with local bands in Bristol until a few years before his death in 2008. Payne returned to Bristol and also continued to play with local bands. The Eagles' music is available on many compilation albums of the era, and in 1998 Sanctuary Records released a 61 track double album set, Smash Hits from The Eagles and The Kestrels, by far the most accessible overview of the Eagles' music today.