Did The Eagles Steal Some Gold?

This is a question I have often asked myself over the years, especially when I read another article about Don Henley suing someone. Did the Eagles steal the opening drum beat from Andrew Gold’s Never Let Her Slip Away for their own #1 hit, Heartache Tonight? I have never read where they have credited Andrew, acknowledged the influence or paid him any money. The evidence is pretty damning and you can listen to the video below for audio proof.

Here’s the quick story: Andrew Gold was writing songs in late 1977 for his next album, All This And Heaven Too. He and songwriting partner, Brock Walsh, were particularly inspired by Queen’s We Rock With You stomp – bom-bom clap, bom-bom clap – and wanted something similar but softer for a song they wrote about Andrew’s new girlfriend, SNL’s Larraine Newman. That song was Never Let Her Slip Away and when he recorded it, he asked Freddie Mercury to sing back up vocals on it, as well as Timothy B Schmit and J.D. Souther. The song only reached #67 in the Summer of 1978.

Sometime within that year J.D. Souther and Glenn Frey were jamming together, writing songs for the Eagles next LP – the forthcoming The Long Run – when they stumbled upon a future hit, Heartache Tonight. Bob Seger helped out with the chorus and Don Henley helped to polish the song before recording it. Also by now Timothy B Schmit was an official Eagle. Heartache Tonight was released in the Fall of 1979 and became a #1 hit before the end of the year, garnering a Grammy nomination as well. The drum beat after the opening chords is very similar to Andrew’s in Never Let Her Slip Away, so similar that I assumed it was a sample. Hmmmmm….

What’s so ironic is that 2 people – J.D. Souther and Timothy B Schmit – helped to create Andrew’s song which the Eagles seemingly ripped off. Was it a coincidence? Unintentional musical osmosis? Eagles & Andrew were on the same label, Asylum. I feel like they needed to throw Andrew some dollars or some credit or both. But no one sued, it became a non-issue and all was OK, until….

2013 – Haim releases Days Are Gone featuring the song, The Wire, which includes the almost exact same intro as Heartache Tonight with no credits to any of The Eagles. Interestingly no Eagle has sued Haim, to date. I’m guessing that’s because the trail is very muddy and may be better left alone.

So to recap Haim (most likely) stole from the Eagles who (highly probably) stole from Andrew Gold who (didnt really steal, but was inspired by) Queen.

Watch this video for aural proof and tell me what you think:


The Everlasting Presence of Fleetwood Mac

“Energy is contagious – either you affect people or you infect people.” -Anonymous


I can’t think of a better quote to describe the success of the band, Fleetwood Mac. Although they had many lineup changes, there’s only one that mattered – Bob Welch is replaced by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. In fact their career should be broken down like this: BBN (before Buckingham Nicks) and ABN (after Buckingham Nicks).

The addition of those two musicians didn’t just change the dynamics and direction of the band. It didn’t just help create one of the biggest selling albums in the world to date. It did something even better to create their legacy. It kept Fleetwood Mac as a Top 40 radio presence for a decade and a half.

Factoring out FM radio in the 70s and classic rock radio from the 80s and beyond, Fleetwood Mac and specifically Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had their voices on pop radio for a 15 year span. Stevie’s addition to the band sparked even more creative energy from Christine McVie who wrote some of her best songs during this period. It’s no wonder when Bill Clinton had the band ‘reunite’ to play his inauguration ball in 1993, the sparks flew again, culminating in the #1 1997 live album, The Dance.

Take a look at this run* to see how they never left our ears from 1975-1990:

1975: Fleetwood Mac-Over My Head

1976: Fleetwood Mac-Rhiannon, Say You Love Me

1977: Fleetwood Mac-Go Your Own Way, Dreams, Don’t Stop, You Make Loving Fun

1978: Kenny Loggins-Whenever I Call You Friend (uncredited duet with Stevie), Walter Egan-Magnet & Steel (backing vocals by Stevie & Lindsey), Bob Welch-Sentimental Lady (backing vocals by Lindsey & Christine McVie)

1979: Fleetwood Mac-Tusk, John Stewart-Gold & Midnight Wind (backing vocals by Stevie, guitar by Lindsey)

1980: Fleetwood Mac-Sara & Think About Me

1981: Stevie Nicks w/ Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers-Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around, Robbie Patton-Don’t Give It Up (Backing vocals by Christine McVie)

1981/1982: Lindsey Buckingham-Trouble, Stevie Nicks & Don Henley-Leather & Lace

1982: Stevie Nicks-Edge Of Seventeen & After The Glitter Fades, Fleetwood Mac-Hold Me & Gypsy

1983: Fleetwood Mac-Love In Store, Stevie Nicks-Stand Back & If Anyone Falls

1984: Stevie Nicks-Nightbird, Lindsey Buckingham-Go Insane

1985: Stevie Nicks-Talk To Me

1986: Stevie Nicks-I Can’t Wait, Needles & Pins (w/Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers)

1987: Fleetwood Mac-Big Love, Seven Wonders & Little Lies

1988: Fleetwood Mac-Everywhere

1989: Stevie Nicks-Rooms On Fire

1990: Fleetwood Mac-Save Me

*all songs were Top 40 hits

Westcoast CCM

Since the dawn of Christian rock in the early 70s, CCM (contemporary Christian music) artists have been trying to figure out ways to cross over to the mainstream. TIn the late 70s and early 80s they figured the best way to do it was through the aqueduct of Westcoast smoothness. Outside of Chris Christian’s I Want You, I Need You in 1981none of them had much success, but they still created some funky grooves while spreading their love from above. Eventually after Amy Grant’s pop breakthrough in 1991, other artists, such as Michael W. Smith and Kathy Troccoli, followed her into the Top 40.

Here’s a montage of Westcoast CCM artists from 1978-1984.