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Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001)

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  1,447 Ratings  ·  161 Reviews
The Eagles are the bestselling, and arguably the tightest-lipped, American group ever. Now band member and guitarist Don Felder finally breaks the Eagles’ years of public silence to take fans behind the scenes. He shares every part of the band’s wild ride, from the pressure-packed recording studios and trashed hotel rooms to the tension-filled courtrooms, and from the joy ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Wiley (first published October 1st 2007)
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Anthony Taylor
Aug 10, 2009 Anthony Taylor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book from cover to cover. I wasn't expecting that much but was surprised what a good read Felder's account of his time in The Eagles turned out to be. The book is informative and fun from the onset unlike most biographies which really drag when detailing time spent at school, relationships with parents etc the accounts of these times really added to giving a full picture of the man and are relevant to decisions made in later life. I didn't find the book scandal laden, the opposite ...more
Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974- 2001) by Don Felder is a 2009 Wiley publication.

I’ve had this book in my TBR for a long while, and after my husband and I watched “The History of Eagles” on Netflix, I decided to push this book to the top of the pile. I had read the first chapter or two when it was announced that founding member of The Eagles, Glenn Frey, had passed away.

After that, I felt weird about reading a book I knew would not cast Glenn in the most positive light, like I was
May 05, 2014 RJ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, autobiography
Don Felder, the man behind the Eagles' biggest song ever, "Hotel California", writes about his rags to riches story. From humble beginnings in Gainesville Florida to being a key member in the Eagles. Eventually the band's dynamics swayed to Don Henley & Glenn Frey, and even a full share member like Felder became a glorified sideman. Too bad, because Felder rocked up the Eagles' sound, before Joe Walsh came in and rocked it up even more.

Felder manages to contain whatever bitterness he has at
Imagine being stuck with the schoolyard bullies for over 25 years, part of their team but only because you are really good at football and all the while never allowed to forget that fact that you have no say in team decisions, are a lesser part of the team, are mocked and humiliated repeatedly because you occasionally question their behaviour and the organisation of the team, meanwhile the team coach is wholly on their side...sounds like a nightmare, and that is what Don Felder bought into when ...more
Justin Matott
Oct 20, 2008 Justin Matott rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Eagles Fans

It is absolutely delicious, but you don't really want to know what is in it. This "tell all" expose of the hey day of the Eagles is sad in many ways because it let's you in on the "family" bickering that you didn't hear in the music. Such tragedy for such talented people. I am disappointed with the way Felder handles the mysterious question of "What is Hotel California really about?" I don't want it demystified. It was always so intriguing to hear the urban myths a
Jul 08, 2008 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a testament to either Don Felder or The Eagles that I blew through this book in 2 days. To Felder's credit he captures the rise/fall/rise/fall of rock stardom with honest reflection. At the same time, The Eagles music was an important part of the soundtrack of my life, and this memoir offered a chance to relive some of those experiences. Funny how I can so clearly recall falling to sleep at 12 years old to Witchy Woman. That was 35 years ago.

This is robust story on many levels. The insight
Brad Carl
Jul 24, 2015 Brad Carl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've become a big Eagles fan over the last 7-10 years or so. I thought it would be cool to get a perspective from the only guy to ever be kicked out/fired by the band. I must say, this book should be titled "My Life AND the Eagles" because it's not just a book about Don Felder's career with the Eagles and the lawsuits that followed his firing. It's an auto-biography. Hey, that's fine. But the first quarter to one third of the book was more a story about the first 20 plus years of Felder's life a ...more
May 26, 2015 Gerry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, memoir
Mr. Felder wrote a very telling and personal account of his time with the Eagles. I've been an Eagles fan since 1974 and as a kid I simply loved the music, the words, the riffs, renditions and all that represented the Eagles. In 2005 as I moved from Southern California to Northern Virginia I made it a point to drive through Winslow Arizona just because of the song "Take It Easy".

What I appreciated the most about this book was the personal touch Mr. Felder added. The story of his humble beginnin
Edwin Stratton-Mackay
Don is a great guitar player but a pedestrian writer. Details are vague, and life flies by at the top of the rock world in a glib, bored manner. Low resolution memories of bland broad scenes. We took coke and wrote some songs. We stayed up late and worked. We played in the stadium. We had a special plane on which we took drugs. We partied with women. It's all very matter of fact. Nothing is said beyond the clichéd. Personalities and characters aren't rounded out or even revealed.

One doesn't get
Brendan Delumpa
May 16, 2008 Brendan Delumpa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Eagles fans, and those curious about Felder's departure.
Recommended to Brendan by: No one. I listened to an interview with Don Felder and got the b
Finally, the firing of Don Felder from the Eagles from Don Felder's point of view! But the book is so much more than that, and spends roughly the first third chronicling Don's life from childhood up to the time he joined The Eagles.

It's a raw and open account of a man baring his soul about not only his life with The Eagles, but mixing in his own personal life. What I've found intriguing about this book is Felder's honesty and the matter of fact tone he has taken in writing this. I never got the
Sep 22, 2011 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best autobiographies I have EVER read. I enjoyed the Eagles, but was never a diehard fan. I found the behind the scenes stuff to be VERY interesting. I always felt that Don Henley was an egotistical, selfish, self-absorbed jerk, but had no idea Glenn Frey was as bad (or worse) than Henley was. Thank you, Don Felder for your candidness and your entertaining memoir.
May 05, 2013 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's not often that celebrity autobiographies are this well written. While credit goes to writer Wendy Holden, Felder surely provided the content, tone and some editing.

Anyone who has been in a workplace controlled by a negative alliance knows the dynamic Felder describes. He goes light on it, but the examples given are classic power trips which would certainly be magnified by the drugs, the adulation of the crowds, the money and the pressure to record and perform in front of 40,000 people.

Mar 14, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had read this before watching the History of the Eagles documentary. Watching the documentary leads the audience to believe that Glenn Frey and Don Henley are closer associates than are portrayed in the book. Felder's surprising humility comes through most of the pages despite being one of the best-known guitar players on the face of the planet and my personal favorite in the Eagles. The reader gets the feeling that even though he is no longer with the band he would readily play with th ...more
Bob Mustin
Sep 16, 2013 Bob Mustin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, by now you know I have more than a passing interest in popular music, particularly that since the ‘sixties. And I suppose there’s an element of postmodern voyeurism in the mix as well. But I try to restrict myself to the more interesting and well told tales of such personalities. Don Felder gives us in this book what seems an honest picture of what life is like behind the staged life of rock ‘n’ roll. And if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to get to that level of musical capability, Fel ...more
Barry Bridges
Apr 10, 2013 Barry Bridges rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
My opinion of the Eagles as a band has not changed after reading this book, but my opinion of Don Felder has. I don't expect so much from musicians, just good music. I don't have visions of elevated rock star divinity. I learned a long time ago the stage persona is false and most people with a great stage presence are pretty much a-holes to live with or be around.

Two things that stand out about Don. First, he is working hard to expose everyone else's flaws and doing a very poor job of doing so,
Oct 09, 2015 Laini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music-movies-tv
A telling glimpse at the rock band that held a formative place in many of our lives, from childhood to adulthood.

It's a really quick read. I finished it in two or three days. The beginning is a little slower, learning of Felder's youth in Florida. But once he gets into the nitty gritty, you really get to see the personalities of the band members emerge. And Glenn Frey comes off looking like an enormous jerk, even more so than Don Henley.

Yeah, the drugs played a huge part of the breakup, but it
Jan 25, 2010 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I thought this book was poorly written, I really enjoyed learning all about the Eagles. I am listening to their music differently now, and it was a fascinating tale. Don Felder came off sounding pretty whiny at times, though he didn't really get treated as an equal in the band, if this book is telling the truth. But, aside from writing Hotel California (which you will never forget if you read this book; he lets you know numerous times that HE wrote it! In Malibu...there is even a pictur ...more
Aug 05, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being a big Eagles fan, this has been on my to-read shelf for some time. What I'd always heard, was confirmed in this book--Henley and Frey run the show. Anyone who gets in the way, either quits (Meisner, Leadon), or gets fired (Felder). I think Don Felder is one of the best, most under-rated guitarists out there. I've heard the Eagles with and without him, and the difference is noticeable. It was great to read Felder story of the road getting to the Eagels, bumping into the likes of Tom Petty, ...more
Mark Goddard
Feb 17, 2016 Mark Goddard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great read! Frey was the bully, Henley was the malcontent, it's a thread that runs thru our society. Whether you work in the Arts, on Wall St., or whatever business of your choosing you will always find the idiocy of today. In the movie Burn After Reading, Osbourne Cox said "Oh, yes. You see, you're one of the morons I've been fighting my whole life. But guess what... Today, I win." At the end of this book Don Felder wins. Sure he was fired by the Gods (Henley, Frey), but by doing so they gave h ...more
Nora Tripp
Mar 01, 2010 Nora Tripp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've known since 1987 that Don Henley is a horrible man. I did not know that Glenn Frey is just as bad!
This is a great book until the end. It almost seems like someone else wrote the end? I guess it would be hard to write an end to something that hasn't!
Feb 10, 2016 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Learned a lot

I found this book to be very informative and learned a hundred different things about The Eagles that I would have never guessed. Don Felder tells the story from his heart and describes the frustration of being in a world class band.
Michael Fenton
Jan 17, 2015 Michael Fenton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good read. I usually don't like non-fiction books, but when I picked this up, I didn't put it down until I was done. It was really interesting to learn about the origins of the Eagles, and the struggles and everything that needed to be dealt with on the road to becoming legends.
Louie Verile JR.
Sep 07, 2011 Louie Verile JR. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Only confirms what we all knew... Henley and Frey are douches
Nov 20, 2014 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Worth reading if you like the Eagles but find Don Henley and Glenn Frey unbearable.

Tom Sands
Aug 22, 2016 Tom Sands rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This (audio) book gives the reader (listener) an excellent picture of being part of one of the biggest bands in the history of music from the author's view. As with all autobiographies, the biases are obvious and often infuriating. Everyone knows that Henley and Frey were egomaniacs and control freaks, but Felder gives some clear examples of specific events that support this.

As with all autobiographies of "stars," a regular person will be annoyed at all of the excess, when only a bit of common s
Sep 12, 2016 Joanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to put this one down. A must read for Eagles fans.
Tammi Townsley
I started reading this book after watching "The History of the Eagles" as shown on Showtime because of several articles in Billboard and Hollywood Insider that stated Don Felder's view of the documentary was that it was either incorrect or incomplete. He seemed to indicate that his book offered a richer view of the band's history, success and trials/tribulations. Much of the book, when talking directly about the Eagles, was consistent with the documentary with a few notable (and different) recol ...more
Sam Finnegan
Dec 19, 2013 Sam Finnegan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who loves rock music, or any music at all for that matter!
Recommended to Sam by: my high-school health teacher, a fellow eagles fan and music lover
As a fan of the eagles, past and present, I loved this book, start to finish. In the beginning of the book, author Don Felder describes his life living in Gainsville, Florida as a child and his earliest pursuits in music, where he was very good friends with another eagle (Bernie Leadon) before the band existed. furthermore he describes his musical and personal journey on his way to California and becoming an Eagle. This portion of the book can at some points be slow because it doesn't involve a ...more
Jan 16, 2015 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I am a long-time Eagles fan, I had never picked up this book. However, as other reviewers have noted, after watching The History of the Eagles, I decided to check it out.

I never could have imagined the early days of Felder's life -- the people he ran into as a young musician, teaching himself how to play, the path his life took -- it made for a fascinating read, especially to a classic rock fan. I really knew almost nothing about Felder. It also give the reader some background in Ber
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“Radio was truly diverse in the seventies. A station would play a rock track, then a country track, then something else. You didn’t have to change the dial if you wanted to hear a certain kind of sound. We knew we had a good shot at getting on the radio with the original Eagles sound, but we also knew the best-selling hit songs were all rock-oriented, which was why everyone but Bernie wanted to head in this direction.” 0 likes
“Having a son had considerably mellowed my resentment toward Dad, making me realize how hard it was to be a parent. During a lull in the tour, when I had a week off to spend with my family before we went back on the road, I decided to fly to Florida and reacquaint myself with the old man.” 0 likes
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