Joshua Tree and the debut Eagles album photo shoot – Mar. 1972

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
pdf version

Eagles album billboard on Sunset Strip

Album front cover & album poster

Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Glenn Frey, and Randy Meisner

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 pg 193 2

“Sound Man” by Glyn Johns – pg. 193

Sound Man pg 191 excerpt 1

“Sound Man” by Glyn Johns – pg. 191

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

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.

Joshua Tree and the debut Eagles album

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 advertisement

Ann Arbor Sun (Ann Arbor, MI) – Aug. 4, 1972

Joshua Tree and the debut Eagles album photo shoot

The Cleveland Scene (Cleveland, OH) – June 8-14, 1972

“Some mighty fine sounds result and boys have a very distinctive sound when harmonizing.”

Joshua Tree and the debut Eagles album

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

Joshua Tree and the debut Eagles album

Wausau Daily Herald (Wausau, WI) – July 12, 1972

Joshua Tree and the debut Eagles album

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

Joshua Tree and the debut Eagles album

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

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