The guitarist who played with The Eagles from 1974 to 1980 and the reunited band from 1994 to 2001 posted on his Facebook page Tuesday morning (February 16): “I would have been honored to have joined The Eagles last night for the Glenn Frey Tribute at the Grammys but sadly I was not invited. #joewalsh #donhenley #bernieleadon #timothybschmit #jacksonbrowne.” It has turned out to be a can of worms with fans on social media taking most all sides of the debate.
Some fans have also wondered why founding bassist Randy Meisner wasn’t involved. In his case – see our story here – health, legal and other issues complicated matters.
It is assumed that the obvious reason Felder was not invited was that he filed suit against the band after The Eagles dismissed him in 2001, claiming wrongful termination and other issues. The crux of the matter is understood to be – and pretty much confirmed by the History of the Eagles documentary – that Frey and Henley were earning significantly more in the reunion than the other members. Felder questioned the film’s accuracy as far as the ongoing acrimony within the band and how credit for the music had been given. Although his suits were reportedly settled, he told Billboard in 2013 that he was surprised in the documentary at “the anger that was displayed, and the bitterness, especially from Glenn. It really left me taken aback that he was still so angry about all of that, and I couldn’t understand why, to tell the truth.”
So not being invited to be part of the tribute shouldn’t have come to him as a surprise. Yet at the same time his sadness at not being included seems equally valid. Fan discussion on Felder’s Facebook page reflected a range of viewpoints, and over some 3,300-plus comments was surprisingly non-argumentative.
Fan Greg Moore felt “it was the lowest of the low that you were not up on stage helping pay tribute to the man – and to the band – that you helped put on the map.” Scott Ferguson also felt, “Yes Don, you should have been there.”
‘It’s a shame, but they both made it clear in The History Of The Eagles that they would never work with you again. Which I think is a crime because you’re such a great musician,” noted Billy Freer.
Dave Shoop faced what was likely the facts: “It would have not been Frey’s wishes I’m guessing. They didn’t reconcile while Glenn was alive and to invite Felder would have probably not pleased him.”
On the other hand, “I would have much more respect for you had you not made it clear you were not invited. After all this time seems to me you would have let all this resentment and bitterness go,” posted Larissa Brooks. You could of just left it at you would of been honored and stated that it was a nice tribute. I feel that would of been much more respectful and a better way to honor Glenn yourself! Have some class dude!”
Similarly, Helena Benefield Garansi posted: “While I think you are an incredibly talented musician and I am and will always be a fan, my 17 yr old son put it best last night when he pointed out that in the documentary Bernie and Randy both took accountability for their actions that lead to them leaving the band while you made excuses. None of the guys have said anything leading up to and during the tribute to make it about anyone other than Glenn not even Mr. Henley. Now I know you are just answering your fan base, but somehow in doing so you made it about you…. I really wished you would have just left things at your statement when Glenn passed away.”
Lorrie De Sena offered what makes a good final word: “Thought for the day: if Jackson Browne joined the band and you were invited to return to your rightful position, it would be a new, defining moment for the Eagles, not only as artists, but as decent human beings willing to forgive and forget.”