The Joshua Tree and the debut Eagles album photo shoot with Henry Diltz and Gary Burden took place in March 1972. The self-titled Eagles album is their first studio album. It was recorded at London’s Olympic Studios with producer Glyn Johns and released June 1, 1972. John Beaudin of Rock History Music interviewed Bernie Leadon back in July 2019 and asked him if the Eagles knew their first album was going to be a hit when they recorded it.
The Interview below from Uncut magazine tells the story of the Eagles recording their first album in London and also going out to Joshua Tree for their photo shoot. Bernie has most of the input, and it’s a very interesting account of what happened. A lot of it has not been repeated or told in other articles, so it’s worth the time to read.
“Photographer Henry Diltz and our art director, Gary Burden, were participating as well. Gary, an award-winning album cover designer, is a former Marine who had grown up on his father’s citrus farm in Laguna, and Henry, a former member of the Modern Folk Quartet, is a noted, award-winning photographer. Also along on those trips was our former road manager/spiritual/philosophical adviser, John Barrick, who had once tended bar at the Troubadour. It was a colorful, adventurous circus troupe we had assembled.”Don Henley, Rolling Stone Magazine – June 10, 2016
Gary Burden gave his thoughts on Joshua Tree National Park and what it meant to him.
In the short video segment below from the “Library After Dark – A Conversation with John Van Hamersveld & Henry Diltz” presentation at the El Segundo Public Library in California, Henry talks about their adventure in Joshua Tree for the Eagles album photo shoot.
“Library After Dark – A Conversation with John Van Hamersveld & Henry Diltz”
Feb 13, 2020
“Take It Easy”
Uncut Magazine – Feb. 2022
Eagles album billboard on Sunset Strip
Album front cover & album poster
Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Glenn Frey, and Randy Meisner
CD back cover
Cameron Crowe interviewed Don Henley and Glenn Frey about the history of some of the songs on the album – Aug. 2003
John Beaudin of Rock History Music asks Bernie Leadon if the Eagles knew their first album was a hit at the time in 1972. This interview with Bernie is from July 5, 2019.
A photo and excerpt from the book “Sound Man” by Glyn Johns
Glyn Johns was the producer for the Eagles’ first two albums at Olympic Studios in London. Glyn started producing their third album “On the Border”, but Bill Szymczyk ended up finishing it in Los Angeles.
“Sound Man” by Glyn Johns – pg. 193
“Sound Man” by Glyn Johns – pg. 191
The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, FL) – Sept. 19, 1971
Joshua Tree and the debut Eagles album photo shoot
Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Glenn Frey, and Randy Meisner
Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, Don Henley, and Bernie Leadon
Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, and Glenn Frey
Eagles on the cover of Soft Rock (from the makers of Uncut Magazine)
There is a 14-page article with lots of photos inside the magazine.
Randy Meisner, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Glenn Frey
Joshua Tree pictures with Randy Meisner, Gary Burden, Bernie Leadon, & Glenn Frey
Bernie Leadon and Henry Diltz
Randy, Gary Burden, and Bernie Leadon
Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, Don Henley, and Gary Burden with the Indian bag of peyote
Former road manager John Barrick and Randy
Rolling Stone Magazine advertisement
Full-page ad in Ann Arbor Sun Magazine (Ann Arbor, MI) – Aug. 4, 1972
The Cleveland Scene (Cleveland, OH) – June 8-14, 1972
“Some mighty fine sounds result and boys have a very distinctive sound when harmonizing.”
Hoffman Estates Herald (Hoffman Estates, IL) – June 30, 1972
“Surrounded by a sea of would-be peers, the Eagles seem to me to provide the most pleasurable, energetic music to emerge from the whole Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young four-part harmony experiment. Their approach resembles CSN&Y, but the Eagles invest their songs with a feel and sense of movement that frankly outshines even their mentors.”
The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, CA) – July 1, 1972
“Several songs include vocal harmonies that make Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young sound absolutely stiff and mannered. In fact, I think Eagles have recorded on the first try what it took CSNY several albums to find, and then only in spots.”
The Salina Journal (Salina, KS) – July 2, 1972
Wausau Daily Herald (Wausau, WI) – July 12, 1972
“They’re not imaginative, but they’re fun and should strike it rich in the teenage market.”
Santa Cruz Sentinel (Santa Cruz, CA) – July 16, 1972
“The first album by four veterans of the L.A. country scene has at least three songs which are the equal of ‘Take It Easy’ and several more that don’t run far behind.”
Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY) – July 23, 1972
The Door (San Diego, CA) – July 28, 1972
“A record deal was the target, but they knew they had to get it together first, so they spent three weeks practicing in Bud’s rehearsal hall in San Fernando Valley at a dollar an hour.”
Red Deer Advocate (Red Deer, Alberta) – Aug. 16, 1972
“People say we sound like Poco because we have that same guy (Meisner) with that same voice, Leadon said. We’re not trying to copy. Eagles are Poco fans, no doubt about that. But it’s more of a mutual admiration society.”
The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) – Aug. 27, 1972
“We made a fire and a camp and began making peyote tea and trying to eat peyote without throwing up. Those pictured are well stoned.”
The Desert Sun (Palm Springs, CA) – Nov. 11, 2005
An excerpt from an article about Henry Diltz in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA) – Aug. 12, 2013
“In the early going, we went out to Joshua Tree and did that peyote ritual a couple of times. I think that JD Souther and Ned Doheny were along on one of the camp-outs.”
Rolling Stone magazine – June 10, 2016