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View Full Version : Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure



YoungEaglesFan
09-13-2017, 09:19 PM
I know this forum has a heavy Glenn and Don bias so this shouldn't be controversial but i found the idea that Bernie left the band due to his ability to play sings he wanted to be either untrue or simply not why he left. I loved Bernie's voice both solo but also with the others but he wasn't a victim in terms of being artistically restrained by the others to play more rockish stuff. On OOTN the Eagles bent over backwards, probably making the album worse, just to satisfy him. They gave him I Wish You Peace, Journey Of The Sorcerer , He wrote Hollywood waltz, and the band kept a country feel to lyin eyes to appease him. He had more songs which featured him on the record then Glenn. What more could he ask for in a band of 5 and an album that had 5 guys sharing lead vocals on songs. They also let his girlfriend come on some parts of the tour which made secret security come along. Stuff like this just makes me blame Bernie for leaving. What do you guys think?

New Kid In Town
09-13-2017, 11:02 PM
YEF - Bernie chose to leave the band for numerous reasons. He did not like the move from Country(which he loved) to more rock and roll. Also, he grew very tired of the constant non-stop touring, the heavy drug use, and the huge fame after the release of OOTN. It should be noted that when CBS This Morning interviewed Don H. for the Kennedy Honors in Dec. 2016, he talked about Bernie's huge talent as a musician and stated Bernie hated the fame that came to the Eagles after the release of that album. Bernie has always been his own man(which I love) and it was so great he was able to tour with them for the HOTE tour before Glenn passed. Bernie stated he has always been at peace with his decision, never regretted it or would change it. JMPO, but from what I have read, Bernie really enjoyed his time touring for the HOTE tour and re-connecting with the guys.

Pippinwhite
09-14-2017, 01:37 AM
You know, there was a lot of stuff going on in the band when Bernie left. He always was a really low-key kind of guy, and I think Don was being absolutely truthful when he said Bernie got tired of the fame merry-go-round.

I really admire Bernie's talent as a musician and singer. He has a great voice, and he was such an asset to the band. I'm so glad he came on the tour, too, and he had some very nice things to say about Glenn after he passed.

Bernie is a heck of a nice guy, from everything I've seen about him, and I think he realized his own sanity was at stake when he left. Sometimes, you just have to walk away, and I think he was at that point. Considering some of the stuff going on, it's a wonder they didn't all crack up. I think Bernie did what he felt he had to do to preserve his mental health. I'm glad he's doing well.

BillBailey1976
09-14-2017, 06:01 AM
It's like Don Henley said in the History Doc. "We made it, and it ate us".
As a relatively new band, (only 3 to 4 years old when they released OOTN) I'm sure they didn't know how to handle fame, or how long it would last. I know I have often thought that if they'd took a bit more time, slowed down, not pushed so hard, they'd have survived beyond 1980, the first time around.
BUT, as a group that is 3 or 4 years old, and knowing how fleeting success in the music business is, and not having the view from 42 years down the road, I completely understand why they did push so hard.
I think Bernie would have been more than willing to sacrifice commercial success for rest, time, and the art itself. The others, apparently were not.
Also, as more of a Country musician/singer, it had to be getting more and more difficult for Bernie, as the songs became more rocked out.
It's not what he signed up for. I get that. My job has changed so much since I started in 1998 that it's nearly unrecognizable. I went from using pencil and paper on a drawing board, to all Computer programs. Can I see the lure to just say "enough" and walk away? yes.

thelastresort
09-14-2017, 02:18 PM
It is I think 99% down to the musical direction and the pace at which the band pursued their business; both were totally at odds with how Bernie wished to be. His contributions to OOTN aren't terrific and he was well out of his depth for most of the album; but he was integral to the first two albums in particular, indeed I would argue in terms of the sound of the band he played the biggest part of that era. His previous experience with the FBB and the disillusionment from what I can gather he eventually felt there probably also influenced his decision (i.e. when something changes, get out).

Without question he had the most peaceful departure from the band, and I genuinely believe it was, for the large part, amicable; especially as it freed up Glenn to bring Joe in and achieve Eagle utopia. HOTE demonstrates how sorry he is for the infamous beer incident, when it would be easy enough to laugh it off (indeed, I suspect Glenn and the rest of them could very well have looked back on it with humour), and the fact that he was recalled for the tour and was told by Glenn that it wasn't over afterwards (which sadly proved false) I think further shows how, for a very, very rare occurrence in Eagles history, bygones were bygones.

NightMistBlue
09-14-2017, 03:57 PM
Bernie has downplayed their musical differences, saying (I'm paraphrasing) that he had no problem playing rock music. Producer Bill S. has said otherwise.

Sometimes I've wondered if the drug thing was more of an issue? Maybe I'm making too much of nothing, but on the HOTE tour for example he would sometimes wear a t-shirt that said SOBER. That indicates someone who's had a struggle. Maybe he had to take himself out of a harmful environment, for his own survival.

UndertheWire
09-14-2017, 05:10 PM
Bernie said that leaving the band was an act of survival and that he wanted to get healthy before he was thirty. Don Felder wrote about Bernie more or less giving up drugs. Anyone who has been the "designated driver" knows how it feels to be the only sober person.

It's also been said by several connected people that Bernie and Glenn started arguing more. (Before anyone puts all of the blame on Glenn, note that Felder writes about Bernie being argumentative and having grown up fighting to be heard in a large family)

WalshFan88
09-14-2017, 05:18 PM
I think it was for his own sanity but also the band was just ready to rock. They were somewhat tired of the country rock (which was more country than rock, lets be honest) sound of the first two, three records. Joe Walsh was the perfect guy to come along and Bernie wasn't happy about the new direction. And so he left.

Pippinwhite
09-14-2017, 05:44 PM
UTW -- Having played the "designated driver" role in any number of ways, yeah, I get it so much. And you know, it also kind of hurts when you see people you care about, who are so gifted and talented, who seem to be running headlong into hell. He'd lost Gram Parsons to an OD. I suspect he just couldn't stand the thought of going into someone's room one morning after a bad night and not being able to wake them up.

Thank God that didn't happen to any of them, but it so easily could have. I know Glenn has said they were "functional party animals," but I think that was a little wishful thinking on his part. 30-year-olds have had heart attacks from cocaine use. His number just didn't come up in that way. I know Joe realizes how many close calls they had.

Musical differences, yeah, but I think it all comes down to choosing sanity. And I think that's the reason they were able to come back as friends. I don't think Bernie ever said anything nasty about them, and they knew why he left. He didn't hate anyone. He didn't try to bad-mouth anyone. He just needed to get out of the circus.

NightMistBlue
09-14-2017, 06:01 PM
I think it was for his own sanity but also the band was just ready to rock. They were somewhat tired of the country rock (which was more country than rock, lets be honest) sound of the first two, three records. Joe Walsh was the perfect guy to come along and Bernie wasn't happy about the new direction. And so he left.

That must have been hard for Bernie to have them bring in Felder - he was Bernie's friend but also a threat employment-wise. Didn't the Eagles tour with Joe Walsh in 1974? Maybe Bernie could see the writing on the wall so to speak and he left before he was pushed out.

New Kid In Town
09-14-2017, 07:13 PM
Bernie has said that he quit the group three or four times before finally leaving. He also said he knew for a long time he was going to leave before he finally did. I think Bernie saw too many people he knew die from their reckless lifestyle. I think he was tired of the whole "sex, drugs and rock & roll" lifestyle. Felder said in his book that Bernie was the only one of them who did not suffer from stomach issues.

Delilah
09-14-2017, 07:17 PM
I know this forum has a heavy Glenn and Don bias so this shouldn't be controversial but i found the idea that Bernie left the band due to his ability to play sings he wanted to be either untrue or simply not why he left. I loved Bernie's voice both solo but also with the others but he wasn't a victim in terms of being artistically restrained by the others to play more rockish stuff. On OOTN the Eagles bent over backwards, probably making the album worse, just to satisfy him. They gave him I Wish You Peace, Journey Of The Sorcerer , He wrote Hollywood waltz, and the band kept a country feel to lyin eyes to appease him. He had more songs which featured him on the record then Glenn. What more could he ask for in a band of 5 and an album that had 5 guys sharing lead vocals on songs. They also let his girlfriend come on some parts of the tour which made secret security come along. Stuff like this just makes me blame Bernie for leaving. What do you guys think?

I guess I don't get the question. Bernie made the choice to leave for personal and professional reasons. I don't think it's a matter of blame or whose fault it was. Sometimes things just don't work out. He walked out after helping to create their sound and contributing to 4 studio albums. He's on one of the the best-selling albums in U.S. history. He made his mark, though some may be loathe to admit it. I don't believe he's ever claimed to be a victim.




It's also been said by several connected people that Bernie and Glenn started arguing more. (Before anyone puts all of the blame on Glenn, note that Felder writes about Bernie being argumentative and having grown up fighting to be heard in a large family)

Hearsay? :mrgreen: lol, jk

sodascouts
09-17-2017, 05:02 PM
I guess I don't get the question. Bernie made the choice to leave for personal and professional reasons. I don't think it's a matter of blame or whose fault it was.

I was puzzled by the phrasing as well. The post frames everything in an unnecessarily antagonistic fashion from the get-go.

Just the kind of thing to stir up fans.


I don't believe he's ever claimed to be a victim.

That'll be the day!

UndertheWire
09-17-2017, 05:25 PM
That must have been hard for Bernie to have them bring in Felder - he was Bernie's friend but also a threat employment-wise. Didn't the Eagles tour with Joe Walsh in 1974? Maybe Bernie could see the writing on the wall so to speak and he left before he was pushed out.
I'm sure I've read something from Bernie where he said that he'd known he would be leaving at some point and the job might as well go to a friend of his.

It's also worth noting that four years was probably Bernie's longest run in one band. At that time of life, if he didn't like the way things were going, he moved on. The difference between this and when he left Dillard and Clark, or The Flying Burrito Bros was that he had enough money to live on.

New Kid In Town
09-17-2017, 06:39 PM
UTW - So true. I have read interviews where Bernie said he knew he would be leaving quite a while before he actually left. I find it refreshing that Bernie was happy with his decision and never looked back. I'm happy that he made enough money in his tenure with the Eagles to live off the rest of his life. Who wouldn't want that to happen to them. I sure would.
I wonder how he feels today about all those decisions made by Glenn and Don that made that possible.

BerniesSurfboard
01-29-2018, 08:33 AM
I think Bernie's a free spirit, and that has played a large role in his tendency to group jump over his career.

However, I do think Glenn Frey made it easy on Bernie to leave. Their personalities seem to have always rubbed each other raw.

New Kid In Town
01-29-2018, 12:11 PM
I think Bernie's a free spirit, and that has played a large role in his tendency to group jump over his career.
However, I do think Glenn Frey made it easy on Bernie to leave. Their personalities seem to have always rubbed each other raw.

Bernie's Surfboard - I think saying Glenn and Bernie not getting along was mainly responsible for his leaving the Eagles is simplifying things to a degree. Glenn and Bernie seemed to clash during OTB and even more so during the making of OOTN. Felder, who was a close friend, stated in his book that Bernie could be difficult to get along with, had a temper, and was bull headed. Bernie did not want to do the constant touring, had stopped using drugs, and did not want to move in a more rock direction. Also, Don H. stated Bernie did not like the huge fame that came with the success of OOTN(see CBS This Morning Intv. 12/16). In short, I think there were numerous reasons for Bernie leaving. He was happy with his decision and never looked back. He was asked back for the HOTE tour and all was well between him and Glenn when Glenn passed.

BerniesSurfboard
01-30-2018, 12:45 PM
Bernie's Surfboard - I think saying Glenn and Bernie not getting along was mainly responsible for his leaving the Eagles is simplifying things to a degree. Glenn and Bernie seemed to clash during OTB and even more so during the making of OOTN. Felder, who was a close friend, stated in his book that Bernie could be difficult to get along with, had a temper, and was bull headed. Bernie did not want to do the constant touring, had stopped using drugs, and did not want to move in a more rock direction. Also, Don H. stated Bernie did not like the huge fame that came with the success of OOTN(see CBS This Morning Intv. 12/16). In short, I think there were numerous reasons for Bernie leaving. He was happy with his decision and never looked back. He was asked back for the HOTE tour and all was well between him and Glenn when Glenn passed.


Well, yeah. I could have cited all of those things too - I simply summarized all of those things and came to the conclusion that Bernie had all of those things and changes going on in his life, and the incident with Glenn coaxed it to happen.

YoungEaglesFan
01-30-2018, 01:28 PM
Me personally Iím not so sure I really buy the musical direction as being a major factor in him leaving. I think the fighting, the touring, and just his desire to have a more laid back live were more important. He mentioned that narrative is not 100% accurate and he had the most input on any album on OOTN. Between the intentional country feel of Lyin Eyes, I wish you peace, hollywood waltz, and Journey of the sourcerer. I feel that he just wanted to live a more relaxed life and do the things he wanted without the stress