When the Eagle Flies

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When the Eagle Flies
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 1974
RecordedJuly 1973 – June 1974
GenreProgressive rock
ProducerChris Blackwell
Traffic chronology
On the Road
When the Eagle Flies
Far from Home

When the Eagle Flies is the seventh studio album released by English rock band Traffic, in 1974. The album featured Jim Capaldi, Steve Winwood and Chris Wood, with Rosko Gee on bass guitar. Percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah was fired prior to the album's completion, but two tracks feature his playing. Winwood plays a broader variety of keyboard instruments than most previous Traffic albums, adding Moog to their repertoire. This was the last Traffic album for 20 years, when Winwood and Capaldi reunited for Far from Home in 1994.

When the Eagle Flies was the band's fourth consecutive studio album to reach the American Top Ten[1] and have gold album status. It was far less successful in the United Kingdom, where it entered the charts at number 31 only to drop off the following week.[2] Traffic toured to support the release, but they disbanded in the middle of the tour in 1974.

The Chris Wood composition "Moonchild Vulcan" was recorded for the album, but ultimately left off in favour of "Memories of a Rock 'n' Rolla".[3] The song was played on the supporting tour for the album, however, and a live recording by Traffic was later released on the posthumous Chris Wood CD Vulcan, released in 2008.[nb 1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic3/5 stars [4]
Tom HullC–[5]

Rolling Stone called the album uneven, saying that its bleak tone works superbly on "Graveyard People" and "Walking in the Wind", but elsewhere it often "turns anemic as a result of either a poorly conceived arrangement or inadequate production." However, they regarded the use of tighter and more concise songs as a promising change in direction for the band, and recommended the album based on the renewed strength of Winwood/Capaldi's songwriting and Winwood's work with the keyboards.[6] Allmusic's retrospective review asserted the opposite: that the album indulged in long and meandering instrumentation more than any other work by Traffic, with even the vocals doing no more than "improvising his melodies over the music, paying little heed to the meaning of the words".[4]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi, except where indicated.

Side one
1."Something New" 3:15
2."Dream Gerrard"Winwood, Vivian Stanshall11:03
3."Graveyard People" 6:05
Side two
4."Walking in the Wind"6:48
5."Memories of a Rock 'n' Rolla"4:50
7."When the Eagle Flies"4:24
Total length:39:45



Production notes:

  • Chris Blackwell – producer
  • Nobby Clark – engineer
  • Brian Humphries – engineer
  • Jeff Willens – mastering
  • Bill DeYoung – liner notes
  • Martin Hughes – cover design
  • Bill Levenson – reissue supervisor
  • Monique McGuffin – reissue production coordination
  • Vartan – reissue art director


Chart (1974/75) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[8] 43
United Kingdom (Official Charts Company )[2] 31
United States (Billboard 200)[1] 9


  1. ^ The 2008 Vulcan CD also includes a post-Traffic studio recording of "Moonchild Vulcan" by Wood. Other recordings of the song, including the Traffic version, appear on the Chris Wood compilations Evening Blue (a box set) and Moon Child Vulcan (an abridged MP3 version of the box set).


  1. ^ a b Traffic in the USA Charts, Allmusic. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Traffic in the UK Charts Archived 2011-11-20 at the Wayback Machine, The Official Charts. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  3. ^ Ropek, Dan (2008). In Vulcan (pp.4-10) [CD booklet]. Cherry Red Records Ltd.
  4. ^ a b When the Eagle Flies at AllMusic
  5. ^ Hull, Tom (April 1975). "The Rekord Report: Second Card". Overdose. Retrieved June 26, 2020 – via tomhull.com. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Emerson, Ken. (November 7, 1974). Album review, Rolling Stone.
  7. ^ https://www.discogs.com/master/view/69045
  8. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 312. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.