The Eagles didn't invent Southern California country-rock, but they updated the Byrds, Poco, and the Flying Burrito Brothers' sound and mined that formula for multiplatinum success. Their 1976 greatest-hits album remains one of pop music's all-time chart triumphs, moving more than 42 million units. In many ways, though, the Eagles' success is somewhat curious — unlike the stadium status achieved by contemporaries like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, or AC/DC, their music doesn't project anthemic ambitions. With a few possible exceptions — "Hotel California," perhaps — the band holds a basic pop palette of vocal harmonies and gently strummed acoustic guitars.
The band's internal politics are more complicated. By the end of the '70s, they practically ceased operating as an ongoing entity, splintered by feuds, solo careers, and legal squabbles. Yet while several later tours signaled a final farewell, they've managed to keep the franchise intact during the intervening decades. A formal reunion was christened with a belated collective effort in 2007, Long Road Out of Eden, their first all-new release since 1979 — and only their seventh studio set overall. The core membership of Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, and Joe Walsh remains constant, but it's their hallowed status together that supersedes them as individuals.