You Say It's Your Birthday: Don Felder of The Eagles

Today is the birthday of Don Felder, a multi-instrumentalist for the

Eagles. While widely considered "the fifth Eagle," Felder's mastery of the

guitar, mandolin and banjo contributed greatly to the Eagles' signature

'70s rock sound. He was born in 1947 in Gainesville, Fla. and joined his

first band, The Continentials, at the age of 13. He taught guitar and sold

instruments at Lipham Music, a Gainesville music store and counted Tom

Petty among his many students. In 1968, Felder joined a band called

Flow, a country outfit that released one self titled album in 1970. When

Flow broke up in 1971, Felder started a life as a studio musician, playing

for recording studios in New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

Felder joined the Eagles in 1974, playing mandolin, pedal steel guitar and

banjo on their third album On The Border. He began to do some

writing on his own, including "Visions" from 1975's One of These

Nights. "Visions" was the only song Felder ever sang lead on for the

Eagles. In 1976, The Eagles released their biggest selling non-greatest

hits album, Hotel California. For this album, Felder co-wrote "Victim

of Love" and came up with the descending chord progression for the album's

title track. 1979's The Long Run contained two songs co-written by

Felder, "Those Shoes" and the Eagles' tongue-in-cheek jab at disco music,

"The Disco Strangler." During The Long Run sessions, Felder composed

"Heavy Metal," a track which later appeared on the soundtrack for the movie

of the same name. The band officially broke up in 1980 and Felder kept busy in the music industry, doing work on albums by such artists as Bob Seger, Stevie Nicks, J.D. Souther and Joe Walsh. In addition to "Heavy Metal," he also

contributed songs to the soundtracks of The Slugger's Wife, Secret

Admirer and Fast Times At Ridgemont High. Felder's only solo album, Airborne, was released in 1983 and didn't do much business. During the '80s, he wrote and recorded the theme song for a TV cartoon, Galaxy High and also hosted a children's TV show called FTV. He also became a real estate investor during this time and still owns several

commercial properties in Southern California. After years of rumors,

Felder and the rest of the Eagles reunited in 1994 for a hugely successful

Hell Freezes Over Tour and released a live album entitled Hell Freezes

Over.

Other birthdays: Kevin Murphy (American Breed), 54; Betty Wright, 44;

Phil Taylor (Motorhead), 43; Corinne Drewery (Swing Out Sister), 38; and

Trugoy (De La Soul), 29.