The Eagles' 5 No. 1 Hits May Surprise You (Hint: 'Already Gone' Ain't One)
Today marks the 40th anniversary of The Eagles' "One of These Nights" getting to no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Getting to the top of the pop charts is one of the most difficult accomplishments in music, even for a major act (and even more difficult than topping the Billboard 200 albums chart). The Eagles has managed to do it five times across the band's lengthy career, and that's nothing to yawn at. Music Times decided to check out what five songs managed to peak on the chart...and were fairly surprised at what we found. If you were expecting "Take It Easy," "Peaceful Easy Feeling," "Already Gone" or other lasting hits from Their Greatest Hits...be prepared to be surprised.
In chronological order:
01) "Best of My Love" (1975)
"Best of My Love" seems like a strange single to give The Eagles its first ever no. 1 song. Some of the band's catchiest, and honestly some of its best pop songs—such as "Take It Easy" and "Already Gone"—failed to even crack the Top 10. Best of my love still gets a bit of radio play today, but the aforementioned tracks are the ones younger generations (such as your correspondent's) have grown up hearing while their parents drive. The story of its rise to success is even more mind-boggling and unlikely. The band and Asylum Records hadn't even released the song as a single, yet Jim Higgs, a disc jockey at WKMI in Kalamazoo, MI, had been playing it on his show from the time the album On The Border was released. His listening base agreed with his thoughts on the subject, making it one of the most-requested tracks in the city. Asylum would eventually release a limited run of vinyl singles in Kalamazoo only, before finally opting to go national. "Best Of My Love would hit no. 1 nearly a year after the album was released (it would also go to no. 1 in Canada).
02) "One Of These Nights" (1975)
The easiest way to get a second no. 1 single is to have a first no. 1 single. Sure, Mariah Carey's record 18 no. 1 singles weren't easy to get...but we're sure that the second one was a lot easier to attain than the first. Once people catch wind of your work, they're more likely to come back and check out your next piece of output. The Eagles benefitted from this, allowing "One Of These Nights," the follow-up to "Best of My Love" in the band's singles discography, to rise to no. 1 much quicker than its predecessor. In fact, the timing for "Best Of My Love" to reach no. 1 couldn't have worked out any better. As the song peaked more than a year after the release of On The Border, the band was already preparing its next album, One Of These Nights. The title track was ready to hit the market and the market was ready for it.
03) "New Kid In Town" (1977)
As you may have guessed from the two years separating "One Of These Nights" and this entry, the two-song run at no. 1 for Eagles singles didn't stretch further. That's not to say that the group did badly: The next two singles dropped from One Of These Nights, "Lyin' Eyes" and "Take It To The Limit," peaked at no. 2 and 4, respectively. The band was preparing to launch its new album, Hotel California, so obviously it went with the classic...uh..."New Kid In Town" as the first single. We suppose we can't fault the group for the choice—obviously it went to no. 1—but we can't help but feel there was a more obvious promotional song somewhere on the album. While we try to remember what it might be, we should point out that, including "New Kid In Town," so far all three of the band's no. 1s have only spent one week in the top spot.
04) "Hotel California" (1977)
We were, of course, being facetious when struggling to find the name of the more popular single that came from Hotel California. The best song from the best album in the band's discography has been ranked among the Top 50 songs of all time by Rolling Stone and has been erroneously cited by philosophy students for nearly 40 years. Of course, there's plenty of reason why "Hotel California" would be far from a good choice for a single: It's six-and-a-half minutes long, which is about three minutes longer than the typical pop music fan is willing to listen to any one song. Nonetheless, listeners embraced the lengthy instrumental sections and turned the song into a second-consecutive no. 1 for The Eagles...but still for just the one week. In case you were wondering, the longest song ever to peak at no. 1 on the Hot 100 was Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)."
05) "Heartache Tonight" (1979)
Everyone who knows anything about The Eagles knows that 1979 and the recording of The Long Run was not a good time for the band. The members were largely at each others throats', resulting in a breakup so bitter that the reunion was titled "Hell Freezes Over." The bad attitudes were enough that The Long Run was a tremendous disappointment following the acclaim of Hotel California. The one relief fans got out of it was "Heartache Tonight," a simple rock 'n' roll number, but an effective one. Unfortunately, the song failed to spend more than one week at no. 1...meaning that The Eagles have had a total of five no. 1 hits and a total of five weeks at no. 1. Compare that to Mark Ronson, who has had one no. 1 single...and 14 weeks at no. 1.