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Thread: Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

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    Default Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

    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?

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    Default Re: Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

    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.

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    Border Rebel Pippinwhite's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

    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.

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    Default Re: Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

    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.

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    Default Re: Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

    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.

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    Stuck on the Border NightMistBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

    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.

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    Default Re: Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

    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)
    "Billy, whoever writes the songs, wins."

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    Stuck on the Border WalshFan88's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

    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.

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    Border Rebel Pippinwhite's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

    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.

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    Stuck on the Border NightMistBlue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Reason behind Bernie Leadon's departure

    Quote Originally Posted by WalshFan88 View Post
    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.

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