It's a fairly well known fact that The Eagles sprang from a backing band of Linda Ronstadt's. That is kinda true. Don Henley and Glenn Frey both played with Linda, but Randy Meisner came from Ricky Nelson's band and Bernie Leadon was in the Flying Burrito Brothers. However, it was Henley and Frey who asked the others to join them.

In 1974 the band was working on their third album On the Border and revisited a song they held shelved while working on their previous LP, Desperado. Shhhh....that's my song at the 1:05 mark:

Anyway, the song was "James Dean." If you're thinking about sausage now, that would be Jimmy Dean. James Dean, perhaps the first rock star even before Elvis was a household name. He famously lived fast and died that way too on Dead Man's Curve.

The song was written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne and J.D. Souther, and it was the second single off the album, following "Already Gone." Another interesting note about "James Dean" is that the B-side was a song called "Good Day in Hell" which featured the first appearance by soon-to-be member Don Felder.

So, Happy Birthday to Don Henley and here is a great video of the Eagles at the 1974 California Jam, and here is the line-up in the order of appearance:

  • Rare Earth
  • Earth, Wind and Fire
  • The Eagles
  • Seals and Crofts
  • Black Oak Arkansas
  • Black Sabbath
  • Deep Purple
  • Emerson, Lake and Palmer