cover image To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles

To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles

Marc Eliot, Author Little Brown and Company $25 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-23370-5

Veteran rock writer Eliot (Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen) refuses to take it easy on the most commercially successful supergroup of the 1970s in this unauthorized, warts-and-all biography. As dons of the so-called Avocado Mafia, a loose association of singers and songwriters who first came together in Southern California in the late 1960s, the Eagles are, for Eliot, representative figures in a fascinating pop-culture drama. In tough, sometimes lyrical prose, Eliot shows how Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner--the original members of the group--became the top-selling and most influential rock band of the Me Decade by combining laid-back attitude with self-consciously eclectic musicianship. Nor did it hurt the group's quest for fame, Eliot makes clear, to have brilliant business and PR men such as David Geffen and Irving Azoff on the side of the Eagles from the beginning. Eliot's a savvy enough storyteller not to let in-depth analysis of the aural and business dimensions of the Eagles' saga get in the way of good dish: the book brims with anecdotes about the band's now-legendary hotel-room demolition sessions, prodigious substance abuse and tireless womanizing. Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and David Crosby join more incongruous notables such as James Cagney, Kenny Rogers and Ronald Reagan's politically contrary daughter, Patti Davis, to make Eliot's account even more engaging. If the writing's purple at times, it's only because the band members' colorful excesses demand such treatment. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)