Bernard Mathew Leadon III (pronounced led-un; born July 19, 1947) is an American musician, songwriter and founding member of the Eagles. Prior to the Eagles, he was a member of three pioneering and highly influential country rock bands: Hearts & Flowers, Dillard & Clark, and the Flying Burrito Brothers. He is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, mandolin, steel guitar, dobro) coming from a bluegrass background. He introduced elements of this music to a mainstream audience during his tenure with the Eagles.
Leadon's music career since leaving the Eagles has been low-key, resulting in two solo albums with a gap of 27 years in between. Leadon has also appeared on many other artists' records as a session musician.
|Birth name||Bernard Mathew Leadon III|
|Born||July 19, 1947|
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
|Genres||Rock, country rock, bluegrass|
|Labels||Asylum, Really Small Entertainment|
|Associated acts||Eagles, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Dillard & Clark, Hearts & Flowers, Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Run C&W, Ever Call Ready, Maundy Quintet|
Leadon was born in Minneapolis, one of ten siblings, to Bernard Leadon Jr. and Ann Teresa (née Sweetser) Leadon, devout Roman Catholics. His father was an aerospace engineer and nuclear physicist whose career moved the family around the U.S. The family enjoyed music and, at an early age, Bernie developed an interest in folk and bluegrass music. He eventually mastered the 5-string banjo, mandolin and acoustic guitar.
As a young teen he moved with his family to San Diego, where he met fellow musicians Ed Douglas and Larry Murray of the local bluegrass outfit, the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers. The Barkers proved a breeding ground for future California country rock talent, including shy, 18-year-old mandolin player Chris Hillman, with whom Leadon maintained a lifelong friendship. Augmented by banjo player (and future Flying Burrito Brother) Kenny Wertz, the Squirrel Barkers eventually asked Leadon to join the group, upon Wertz's joining the Air Force in 1963.
His stint in the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers did not last long. In late 1963, his family once again relocated to Gainesville, Florida, when his father accepted a position as Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. Leadon attended Gainesville High School, where he met classmate and future Eagles lead guitarist Don Felder, whose band, the Continentals, had just lost guitarist Stephen Stills. Upon Leadon's joining the group, rechristened Maundy Quintet, they gigged locally, even sharing the bill with future Gainesville legend Tom Petty and his early band the Epics (a band that also included Bernie's brother, musician Tom Leadon).
A call from ex-Squirrel Barker Larry Murray in 1967, to join his fledgling psychedelic country-folk group, Hearts & Flowers, was enticing enough for Leadon to return to California, where he soon became involved with the burgeoning L.A. folk/country rock scene. Leadon recorded one album with the band, their second release Of Horses, Kids, and Forgotten Women for Capitol Records. The record was a local hit but failed to make much of a dent on the national album charts. Discouraged, the group disbanded the following year.
By late 1968, Leadon had befriended bluegrass/banjo legend Doug Dillard, late of the Dillards. While staying with Dillard, informal jam sessions with prolific songwriter and ex-Byrds member Gene Clark began to take shape, and morphed into what eventually became Dillard & Clark, a seminal country-rock band who laid the groundwork for the country-rock sound that dominated the L.A. music scene for the next decade. In 1968, the group recorded their classic and highly influential LP, The Fantastic Expedition of Dillard & Clark. The album featured Leadon's warm and distinctive backing vocals and impressive multi-instrumental work. The album's highlights include several compositions co-written with Clark, most notably the future Eagles staple (and somewhat of a signature song for Leadon) from their debut album, "Train Leaves Here This Morning."
Leadon left Dillard & Clark in 1969, eventually reconnecting with ex-Squirrel Barker (and ex-Byrd) Chris Hillman, who asked him to join The Flying Burrito Brothers, a fledgling country-rock band that Hillman had formed a year earlier with fellow ex-Byrd, Gram Parsons. Leadon recorded two albums with the group: Burrito Deluxe and the post-Parsons LP, The Flying Burrito Bros. After the latter album's release in 1971, Leadon had tired of the band's lack of commercial success and decided to leave the band to pursue an opportunity to play with three musicians he had worked with while moonlighting in Linda Ronstadt's backing band that summer. The resultant project, the Eagles, found the success he had craved.
Leadon was the last original member to join the Eagles, a band initially formed by guitarist/singer Glenn Frey, drummer/singer Don Henley, and former Poco bassist/singer Randy Meisner. Leadon is often credited with helping shape the band's early country-rock sound, bringing his strong sense of harmony as well as his country, bluegrass and acoustic sensibilities to the group. Instruments he played during his tenure in the band were electric guitar, B-Bender, acoustic guitar, banjo, mandolin, dobro and pedal steel guitar.
Upon the release of their debut album, Eagles, the group met with near instantaneous success, due largely to the strength of their hit singles, "Take It Easy", "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Witchy Woman" (co-written by Leadon and Henley), all of which highlighted Leadon's multi-instrumental talent on electric guitar, B-Bender, banjo, and harmony vocals. Their follow-up, Desperado, was another strong country-rock venture highlighted by the classics "Tequila Sunrise" and the title track. Leadon had a prominent role on the album, but it was met by surprisingly lukewarm reviews and lackluster sales. As a result, the band attempted to distance itself from the "country rock" label for their third album On the Border. In doing so, Leadon encouraged the group to recruit his old friend, guitarist Don Felder, to the band. The result was the guitar-heavy top 40 hit "Already Gone". The album also included "My Man", Leadon's touching tribute to his old bandmate and friend, Gram Parsons, who had died of a drug overdose the year prior at Joshua Tree National Monument in southeastern California.
With the wild success of On the Border and its follow-up smash, One of These Nights, tension within the band grew, as Leadon grew increasingly frustrated by the band's direction away from his beloved country and bluegrass and toward album-oriented stadium rock. He famously quit the band in 1975 by pouring a beer over Glenn Frey's head. He later cited a need to get healthy and break the vicious cycle of touring, recording and heavy drug use that was rampant within the band.
Upon his departure, Asylum Records released Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975), which highlighted the band's Leadon years and went on to become the biggest-selling album of all time for sales in excess of 42 million units, awarded to the band members by the RIAA. He was replaced by former James Gang guitarist/singer, Joe Walsh.
Although it has long been believed that he left because he was dissatisfied with the band moving into rock and roll, Leadon denies it and said in 2013: "That's an oversimplification; it implies that I had no interest in rock or blues or anything but country rock. That's just not the case. I didn't just play Fender Telecaster. I played a Gibson Les Paul and I enjoyed rock & roll. That's evident from the early albums."
Upon leaving the Eagles, Leadon retreated from the limelight, only to resurface in 1977 with musician friend Michael Georgiades for his first solo album, Natural Progressions with Bryan Garofalo on bass, Dave Kemper on drums, Steve Goldstein on keyboard, Mike Georgiades on guitar and vocals.
In 1985, he recorded an album of bluegrass and gospel favorites under the name Ever Call Ready, featuring Chris Hillman and Al Perkins. He also had a short stint with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in the late 1980s.
In 1998, Leadon reunited with the Eagles in New York City for the band's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. All seven current and former Eagles members performed together on "Take It Easy," and "Hotel California".
In 2004, he released his second solo effort in 27 years, Mirror.
In February 2016, Leadon appeared at the Grammy Awards ceremony with Jackson Browne and the current surviving Eagles members - Don Henley, Joe Walsh, and Timothy B. Schmit - performing "Take it Easy", in tribute to Glenn Frey who died a month earlier.
For a few years in the mid-1970s, Leadon lived in Topanga Canyon, a bohemian enclave known for its musician residents. Leadon's house-plus-recording-studio had previously been owned by singer-songwriter Neil Young, and was the site of frequent parties. Leadon lived with Patti Davis, the free-spirited daughter of conservative California Governor Ronald Reagan, who was at that time campaigning for president, and distancing himself from his daughter because Leadon and she were unmarried but living together. Leadon and Davis co-wrote the song "I Wish You Peace", which Leadon insisted the Eagles include on the album One of These Nights, against the wishes of his bandmates.
Leadon is divorced and has a son.
Bernie Leadon is an American musician and songwriter. In addition to his solo album and recordings with Eagles, Hearts & Flowers, Dillard & Clark, and the Flying Burrito Brothers, he has been featured as a performer and composer on many albums by other artists.Burrito Deluxe
Burrito Deluxe is the second album by the country rock group The Flying Burrito Brothers, released in May 1970 on A&M Records, catalogue 4258. It is the last to feature Gram Parsons prior to his dismissal from the group. It contains the first issued version of the song "Wild Horses," released almost a year before its appearance on Sticky Fingers by The Rolling Stones.David Kemper
David Law Kemper (born 1947/8 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American rock drummer who was a member of the Jerry Garcia Band (1983–1994) and Bob Dylan's band (1996–2001).He was with the Jerry Garcia Band from 1983 until January 1994, when he was suddenly sacked for reasons still unknown to him. He went on to spend five years as Bob Dylan's drummer. Kemper joined Dutch progressive rock band Focus for a short period in the mid-1970s, playing both on the Mother Focus album and tour. He has played with Mike Stinson, Elkie Brooks, Dennis Wilson (on the Bambu sessions), and Bernie Leadon. He played double drums with Jim Gordon on Barry McGuire's "Don't Blame God" from his Lighten Up album in 1974.Eagles (band)
The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971. The founding members were Glenn Frey (guitars, vocals), Don Henley (drums, vocals), Bernie Leadon (guitars, vocals) and Randy Meisner (bass guitar, vocals). With five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and six number-one albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful musical acts of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California, were ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the United States according to the Recording Industry Association of America. By 2006, both albums were among the top three best-selling albums in the United States. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" and the band was ranked number 75 on the magazine's 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.The Eagles are one of the world's best-selling bands in history, having sold more than 100 million albums worldwide.—120 million in the U.S. alone. Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) is the number one selling album in the US with more than 38 million album units in sales and streams and Hotel California is the third best selling album with more than 26 million album units in sales and streams. Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) was the best selling album of the 20th century in the U.S. They are the fifth-highest-selling music act and the highest-selling American band in U.S. history.
The band released their debut album, Eagles, in 1972, which spawned three top 40 singles: "Take It Easy", "Witchy Woman", and "Peaceful Easy Feeling". Their next album, Desperado (1973), was less successful than the first, only reaching number 41 on the charts; neither of its singles reached the top 40. However, the album does contain what would go on to be two of the band's most popular tracks: "Desperado" and "Tequila Sunrise". The band released On the Border in 1974, adding guitarist Don Felder as the fifth member midway through the recording of the album. The album generated two top 40 singles: "Already Gone" and their first number one, "Best of My Love".
Their 1975 album One of These Nights included three top 10 singles: "One of These Nights", "Lyin' Eyes", and "Take It to the Limit", the first hitting the top of the charts. Guitarist and vocalist Joe Walsh also joined the band in 1975 replacing Leadon. The Eagles continued that success and hit their commercial peak in late 1976 with the release of Hotel California, which would go on to sell more than 26 million copies in the U.S. alone and more than 42 million copies worldwide. The album yielded two number-one singles, "New Kid in Town" and "Hotel California". Meisner left the band in 1977 and was replaced by Timothy B. Schmit. They released their last studio album for nearly 28 years in 1979 with The Long Run, which spawned three top 10 singles: "Heartache Tonight", "The Long Run", and "I Can't Tell You Why", the lead single being another chart-topping hit.
The Eagles disbanded in July 1980 but reunited in 1994 for the album Hell Freezes Over, a mix of live and new studio tracks. They toured consistently and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2007, the Eagles released Long Road Out of Eden, their first full studio album in 28 years and their sixth number-one album. The next year they launched the Long Road Out of Eden Tour in support of the album. In 2013, they began the extended History of the Eagles Tour in conjunction with the band's documentary release, History of the Eagles.
Following the death of Frey in January 2016, Henley stated in several interviews that he did not think the band would perform again. However, the Eagles continued performing in 2017 with guest musicians Deacon Frey (son of Glenn) and Vince Gill.Hand Sown ... Home Grown
Hand Sown ... Home Grown is the debut solo studio album by American singer Linda Ronstadt, released in March 1969 through Capitol Records. Produced by Chip Douglas of the Turtles, the album saw Ronstadt take a decisive turn away from the folk music of The Stone Poneys toward country and rock. Among others, Hand Sown... features covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, and Fred Neil, and a song written by fellow Stone Poney Kenny Edwards, who would go on to perform in her band through the 1970s.
The album was a commercial failure and did not register on the Billboard album chart. It had sold less than 10,000 copies before her next album release. One single release from the album appeared on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 Pop Singles chart belatedly in 1971, after the release of Ronstadt's follow-up album, Silk Purse. Edwards' "The Long Way Around" was the B-side to a single-only release of "(She's A) Very Lovely Woman." The latter song was never subsequently included on an album and was not released on CD until 2009. The double-sided single peaked at #70 in 1971. Both songs made the Cash Box singles chart as well.
Despite lack of chart success, Hand Sown... helped Ronstadt gain exposure on television variety specials and in live performances, including a June 1969 appearance on The Johnny Cash Show where she performed "Only Mama That'll Walk the Line" nearly a year before the song's originator, Waylon Jennings performed his version on the same series. Of particular note is her performance of one of Hand Sown's songs, a cover of the country standard "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line," renamed "Only Mama...," on October 3, 1970, at the Big Sur Folk Festival in Monterey, California.Hand Sown ... Home Grown features an early version of "Silver Threads and Golden Needles," a cover of a 1962 hit by the Springfields. Ronstadt would record the song again for the 1973 Gold-certified album Don't Cry Now, a single release of which would reach the Top 20 of Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart in early 1974. Even though it didn't do well commercially, this album is a sterling
example of Southern California country rock of the period and features an array of top flight backing
musicians including Clarence White of The Byrds, Bernie Leadon (later a founding member of The Eagles), Red Rhodes, and Larry Knechtel.History of the Eagles – Live in Concert
The History of the Eagles – Live in Concert was a concert tour by the American rock band the Eagles. It was launched in conjunction with the release of the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles. The tour visited North America and Europe between 2013 and 2014 as well as Oceania in early 2015. It began in Louisville, Kentucky at the KFC Yum! Center and concluded on July 29, 2015 in Bossier City, Louisiana. The tour included Bernie Leadon, who was in the original line-up of the band, and would have also included Randy Meisner, but he was too ill to perform at the time. Don Felder was, however, excluded because of ongoing lawsuits against the group, despite settling them in 2007. It was the last tour to involve Glenn Frey before his death in 2016.James Dean (song)
"James Dean" is a song written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne, and J. D. Souther, and recorded by the American rock band Eagles for their 1974 album On the Border. It was the second single released from this album, reaching number 77 on the U.S. pop singles chart.The song is about American actor James Dean (1931–1955) who starred in such films as Rebel Without a Cause, Giant and East of Eden. The lyrics, "too fast to live, too young to die" refer to the life and abrupt death of Dean in a car crash in 1955. Bernie Leadon played the guitar solo.Last of the Red Hot Burritos
Last of the Red Hot Burritos is the fourth album by country rock group The Flying Burrito Brothers, released in 1972. By the time this album was recorded, "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow and Bernie Leadon had left the band, leaving Chris Hillman as the sole founding member. In their places, Hillman recruited Al Perkins and Kenny Wertz respectively. Wertz had previously played with Hillman in the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers. The band also added two guest musicians for their fall 1971 tour in Byron Berline and Roger Bush from Country Gazette. This lineup toured until Hillman left the band in October 1971, leaving the rights to the band's name to Rick Roberts. Once Hillman departed, A&M Records apparently lost faith in the group. Instead of allowing a Roberts-led version of the band (with no founding members) to record a new studio album, A&M released this live recording instead which fulfilled the band's contract and they were subsequently dropped from the label.
A group of Burritos led by Rick Roberts would continue to tour Europe with no original members until 1973 (to meet contractual obligations), at which point the band was officially dissolved by Roberts, bringing the original Flying Burrito Brothers to an end. (A new version of the Burritos would resurface in 1975, signed to Columbia Records.)One of These Nights
One of These Nights is the fourth studio album by the Eagles, released in 1975. The record would become the Eagles' first number one album on Billboard's album chart in July that year, and yielded three Top 10 singles, "One of These Nights", "Lyin' Eyes" and "Take It to the Limit". Its title song is the group's second number one single on the Billboard Hot 100. The album sold four million copies and was nominated for Grammy Album of the Year. A single from the album, "Lyin' Eyes", was also nominated for Record of the Year, and won the Eagles' first Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
One of These Nights is the last Eagles album to feature guitarist Bernie Leadon, who left the band after the One Of These Nights tour and was replaced by Joe Walsh. The seventh track, "Visions", is the only Eagles song on which lead guitarist Don Felder sang the lead vocals, despite his desire to write and sing more songs. The album was the band's commercial breakthrough, transforming them into international superstars. They went on a worldwide tour to promote the album.Peaceful Easy Feeling
"Peaceful Easy Feeling" is a song written by Jack Tempchin and recorded by the Eagles. It was the third single from the band's 1972 debut album Eagles. The single reached No. 22 on the charts and is one of the band's most popular songs. Glenn Frey sings the lead vocal, with Bernie Leadon providing the main harmony vocal (starting in the beginning of the second verse) and Randy Meisner completing this three-part harmony.Silver Liner
Silver Liner is the third studio album by English multi-instrumentalist and record producer Ethan Johns, released on November 27, 2015 on Johns' own label, Three Crows Records. Produced by drummer Jeremy Stacey, Johns was accompanied on the album by The Black Eyed Dogs; a backing band includeding Stacey, pedal steel guitarist B. J. Cole and bass guitarist Nick Pini.The album feature contributions from the Eagles' Bernie Leadon and singer-songwriter Gillian Welch.The Flying Burrito Bros (album)
The Flying Burrito Bros is the third album by the country rock group, The Flying Burrito Brothers, released in the spring of 1971. Before recording sessions for the album began, Chris Hillman fired Gram Parsons from the band, leaving Hillman and "Sneaky" Pete Kleinow as the only original continuing members. In Parsons' place, the band hired a young unknown musician named Rick Roberts, who later was the primary lead singer of Firefall. Guitarist Bernie Leadon would also leave the band shortly after the album's release, going on to co-found the Eagles.
Over the winter of 1970 to 1971 the band returned to Sunset Studios to record their third album. With Jim Dickson again the producer, assisted by Bob Hughes, the group developed original pieces mainly from Chris Hillman and Rick Roberts, along with a revisitation of a Bob Dylan composition. Several outtakes from the recording sessions later appeared on several compilations following the band's demise. Following the release of the album, further personnel changes occurred including Kleinow departing to focus solely on session recordings.The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers
The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers were a San Diego-based bluegrass group best known as the band that launched the career of founding Byrds' member, Chris Hillman and founding Eagles' guitarist-songwriter, Bernie Leadon. The lineup included Hillman on mandolin, future Hearts & Flowers member Larry Murray on Dobro, Ed Douglas on stand-up bass, Gary Carr on guitar, and future Flying Burrito Brothers and Country Gazette member, Kenny Wertz on banjo. Leadon would replace Wertz on banjo when he left the group to join the Air Force in 1963 (Wertz would return the favor by replacing Leadon in the Flying Burrito Brothers when he left that group to start the Eagles in 1971).
The group recorded only one album, Blue Grass Favorites in 1963, and disbanded later that year. They have all remained in contact over the years, reuniting sporadically since 2003 and most recently in 2009 at the Adams Avenue Roots Festival in San Diego.Tom Leadon
Tom Leadon (born September 16, 1952) is an American musician. He is one of the founding members of Tom Petty's original band, Mudcrutch, and is still its lead guitarist, following its revival in 2007. He is the brother of Bernie Leadon, the former lead guitarist of the Eagles.Version of the Truth
Version of the Truth is the third album released the American country music duo Foster & Lloyd. Despite it charting higher (#40) than their previous album, Faster & Llouder (#44), Its singles were less successful. The first, "Is It Love" peaked at #43 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart while the second "Can't Have Nothin'" reached #38, their most successful single since 1988's "Fair Shake". Jeff Hanna, a founding member of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band makes a guest appearance singing harmony on the title track. Other guest musicians include Bernie Leadon from Eagles and Duane Eddy, among others.
"I Will Love You Anyhow" was a single for Tim Ryan in 1992.Vince Melamed
Vincent Edward "Vince" Melamed is an American keyboardist and songwriter who resides in Nashville, Tennessee. He was born in New York, and moved to Los Angeles at an early age. Melamed has appeared with many bands as a keyboardist (Bob Dylan, Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Dan Fogelberg, Glenn Frey) and has co-written songs for other artists, including "Walkaway Joe" by Trisha Yearwood, "What Mattered Most" by Ty Herndon, "Tell Me What You Dream" by Restless Heart, "I'll Take That as a Yes (The Hot Tub Song)" by Phil Vassar, as well as "She'd Give Anything" by Boy Howdy, He has received numerous BMI Million Air awards.In the early 1990s, he was part of Run C&W, with fellow musicians Jim Photoglo, Russell Smith of the Amazing Rhythm Aces and former Eagles member Bernie Leadon. He participated as a counselor for the 2005 Rock 'n Roll Fantasy Camp.
He now enjoys a career in VoiceOver featured in 2K Games Mafia III, Nintendo ads, other video and phone games as well as various TV and Radio spotsWe Got the Love
"We Got the Love" is a song written by Steve Bogard and Rick Giles and recorded by the American country music group Restless Heart. It was released in May 1993 as the fourth single from their album Big Iron Horses. The song reached number 11 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in August 1993. Former Eagles and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Bernie Leadon plays banjo on this track.Witchy Woman
"Witchy Woman" is a song written by Don Henley and Bernie Leadon, and recorded by the American rock band Eagles. Released as the second single from the band's debut album Eagles, it reached No. 9 on the Billboard pop singles chart and is the only single from the album to feature Henley on lead vocals.