Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)

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Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)
Eagles - Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975).jpg
Greatest hits album by the Eagles
Released February 17, 1976
Recorded 1971–75
Genre Rock, country rock
Length 43:08
Label Asylum
Producer Glyn Johns, Bill Szymczyk
the Eagles chronology
One of These Nights
(1975)
Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)
(1976)
Hotel California
(1976)

Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) is the first compilation album by the Eagles, released in 1976. The album contains a selection of songs from the Eagles' first four albums released in the period from the Eagles' formation in 1971 up to 1975. It is the best-selling album of the 20th century in the United States,[1] and it stayed the best selling-album in the U.S. for some years until it was surpassed by Michael Jackson's Thriller after the artist's death in 2009.[2] It is the second highest-certified album by the Recording Industry Association of America at 29x platinum, behind Thriller.[3][4]

Background[edit]

Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) comprises nine singles released between 1972 and 1975, plus the album track "Desperado." All of these singles except "Tequila Sunrise" charted in the top 40, with five in the top ten, and "One of These Nights" and "Best of My Love" both topping the singles chart.

The manager of Eagles, Irving Azoff, said: "We decided it was time to put out the first greatest-hits because we had enough hits."[5] However, according to Don Felder, none of the band members had any say in the decision to release the compilation album.[6] The band complained that the album was "nothing more than a ploy by the record company to sell product without having to pay additional production costs".[7] Don Henley was unhappy that songs like "Tequila Sunrise" and "Desperado" were lifted out of the context of original album in a way that he thought detrimental to the nature, quality and meaning of the music. He said: "All the record company was worried about were their quarterly reports. They didn't give a shit whether the greatest hits album was good or not, they just wanted product."[7]

Artwork[edit]

The cover of the album is an image of an artwork created by Boyd Elder, also known as "El Chingadero", whose work was also used for the cover of One of These Nights.[8] The work was created from a plastic cast of an eagle skull, which was then painted.[9] The skull was set against a light-blue background made of silver mylar, and the bumpy appearance of the background gave rise to a myth that it was cocaine powder that they were using. Glenn Frey also noticed the resemblance, telling Elder that the background reminded him of "a field of blow", however the band chose not to debunk the myth.[5] The artist was paid $5,000 for the work.[9]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[10]
Robert Christgau (B)[11]

Critical[edit]

William Ruhlmann of AllMusic thought the songs in the compilations melodic and immediately engaging, and that they have lyrical consistency. He wrote: "... unlike the albums from which they come, these songs make up a collection consistent in mood and identity, which may help explain why Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) works so much better than the band's previous discs and practically makes them redundant. No wonder it was such a big hit out of the box ..."[10] The album was described in iTunes reviews as having an element of "sunshine and comfort", being "solidly written", and "selling the fantasy of a golden lifestyle in sunny California".[12]

Commercial[edit]

Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 album chart on its first week of release,[13] and reached number one in the following week, where it stayed for five weeks.[14][15] It was ranked number four on the Billboard year-end album chart of 1976,[16] but it continued to sell, and would eventually become the best-selling album of the 20th century in the United States.[17]

The album has the distinction of being the first album to receive the RIAA platinum award, which was introduced in 1976 to honor album that shipped one million copies in the United States.[3][18] It received its certification on February 24, 1976, a week after its release. In August 1990 it was certified 12×platinum, and on November 10, 1999, it became the all-time best-selling album in the United States when it was certified 26× multi-platinum. In a 2001 radio interview, Randy Meisner revealed neither he nor Bernie Leadon were even notified of the record-breaking award presented to them in 1999, and "...had to call and we finally received it."[19] It was certified at 29×platinum on 30 January 2006, signifying shipment of 29 million copies in the U.S.[20] Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) is listed at No. 2 on the RIAA's "Top 100 Albums", only surpassed by Michael Jackson's Thriller which is certified 32×multi-platinum.[4] Worldwide, the album has sold over 42 million copies as of 2011.[2][21]

The RIAA's second certification of the album came in August 1990, when it certified the release as 12 times platinum. The next certification established the album at 14 times platinum in December 1993, and then 22 times in June 1995, with sales of 919,000 in the U.S. during that period.[22]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Album Length
1. "Take It Easy"   Jackson Browne, Glenn Frey Eagles (1972) 3:29
2. "Witchy Woman"   Don Henley, Bernie Leadon Eagles 4:10
3. "Lyin' Eyes"   Don Henley, Glenn Frey One of These Nights (1975) 6:21
4. "Already Gone"   Jack Tempchin, Robb Strandlund On the Border (1974) 4:13
5. "Desperado"   Don Henley, Glenn Frey Desperado (1973) 3:33
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Album Length
1. "One of These Nights"   Don Henley, Glenn Frey One of These Nights 4:51
2. "Tequila Sunrise"   Don Henley, Glenn Frey Desperado 2:52
3. "Take It to the Limit"   Randy Meisner, Don Henley, Glenn Frey One of These Nights 4:48
4. "Peaceful Easy Feeling"   Jack Tempchin Eagles 4:16
5. "Best of My Love"   Don Henley, Glenn Frey, J.D. Souther On the Border 4:35

Personnel[edit]

Production personnel[23]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1976) Peak
position
Canada Top Albums (RPM)[24] 1
New Zealand (Official New Zealand Music Chart)[25] 2
Norway (VG-lista)[26] 8
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[27] 31
UK Albums (OCC)[28] 2
US Billboard 200[29] 1

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[30] 8× Platinum 560,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[31] 2× Diamond 2,000,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[32] Platinum 15,000*[33]
United Kingdom (BPI)[34] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[35] 29× Platinum 29,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Liscu, Jenny (January 20, 2000). "The Eagles: Twenty-Six Million Served". Rolling Stone. 
  2. ^ a b Anderson, Kyle (July 20, 2009). "Michael Jackson's Thriller Set to Become Top-Selling Album of All Time". MTV. Viacom. 
  3. ^ a b Grein, Paul (Nov 30, 2012). "Chart Watch Extra: Where "Thriller" Ranks". Chart Watch. Yahoo Music. Retrieved December 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum Searchable Database - March 04, 2014". RIAA. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  5. ^ a b Steve Knopper (January 20, 2016). "How the Eagles' 'Greatest Hits' Invented a New Kind of Blockbuster". Rolling Stone. 
  6. ^ How The Eagles took it to the limits at the Wayback Machine (archived July 18, 2008). The Times (London). October 12, 2007
  7. ^ a b Eliot, Marc (2004). To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles. Da Capo Press. pp. 140 – 141. ISBN 978-0-3068-1398-6. 
  8. ^ Stephen K. Peeples (March 31, 2015). "Boyd Elder: Encounters of the Southwestern Kind, 1978". 
  9. ^ a b Michael Corcoran (February 10, 2016). "Respect Boyd Elder, Valentine, Texas' Greatest Hit". Lone Star Music Magazine. 
  10. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. "Eagles - Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975". AllMusic. 
  11. ^ Christgau, Robert. "The Eagles". 
  12. ^ "iTunes Store". itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  13. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard. March 6, 1976. 
  14. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard. March 13, 1976. 
  15. ^ Michael Gallucci (February 17, 2016). "40 Years Ago: Eagles Become the First Band to Go Platinum With 'Their Greatest Hits'". Ultimate Classic Rock. 
  16. ^ "Album". Billboard. December 25, 1976. 
  17. ^ "Eagles hits album named best-selling of century". CNN. December 8, 1999. 
  18. ^ Michael Campbell, James Brody (2008). Rock and Roll: An Introduction (2nd ed.). Thomson Schirmer. p. 308. ISBN 9781111794538. 
  19. ^ "Randy Meisner of the Eagles Interview : Smooth Jazz Now Radio Streaming Live". Smoothjazznow.com. Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971 - 1975". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  21. ^ "Rocking Like a Bat out of Hell for 35 Years... And Counting". Billboard. November 26, 2011. 
  22. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/us-jackson-billboard-idUSTRE56I2B820090719
  23. ^ "Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 - Eagles | Credits". AllMusic. 1976-02-17. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  24. ^ "RPM Top Albums" (PDF). RPM. 25 (5). May 1976. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  25. ^ "charts.org.nz - Eagles - Their Greatest Hits". Mega Album Top 100. Hung Medien / hitparade.ch. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  26. ^ "norwegiancharts.com - Ealges - Their Greatest Hits". VG-lista. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  27. ^ "swedishcharts.com - Eagles - Their Greatest Hits". Albums Top 60. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 4, 2011. 
  28. ^ "Eagles | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart
  29. ^ "Eagles – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Eagles.
  30. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2008 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved August 17, 2012. 
  31. ^ "Canadian album certifications – EAGLES – THEIR GREATEST HITS 1971-1975". Music Canada. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  32. ^ "Gold Disc Award 1979". IFPI. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  33. ^ "Gold Disc Award Criteria". IFPI. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  34. ^ "British album certifications – Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971 - 1975". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 4, 2011.  Enter Their Greatest Hits 1971 - 1975 in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  35. ^ "American album certifications – Eagles – Eagles/Their Greatest Hits 1971 - 1975". Recording Industry Association of America. February 1, 1976. Retrieved July 4, 2011.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
Preceded by
Desire by Bob Dylan
Billboard 200 number-one album
March 13, 1976 - April 9, 1976
April 17, 1976 - April 23, 1976
Succeeded by
Frampton Comes Alive! by Peter Frampton