Was Don Felder Snubbed by Frey Grammy Tribute?

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Felder & Frey

Felder & Frey in better times/Photo source: Don Felder Official Facebook page.

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.

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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!”

Don Felder

Felder still looking young/Photo source: Don Felder Official Facebook page

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.”

Rob Patterson

Rob Patterson

Rob Patterson began writing about music in 1976. Since his first published record review in Crawdaddy he has contributed to numerous national popular music magazines such as Creem, Musician, Circus, Spin, Request, Tower Pulse!, CD Review, Acoustic Guitar, Harp and many others along with major country music, consumer audio, musical instrument and studio recording magazines plus international publications New Musical Express and Country Music People in the U.K. From 1977 to '84 he wrote a nationally syndicated music column as well as stories for Newspaper Enterprises Association/United Feature Syndicate that ran in more than 400 daily newspapers across the nation. His work has also appeared in many weekly newspapers, onlinepublications like Salon.com and The Huffington Post, such books as the Rolling Stone Record Guide & Revised Record Guide, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Rock History and The Year In Rock, 1980-81, plus liner notes for 20 album releases.
Rob Patterson
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  1. Ronbo2020
    #1 Ronbo2020 18 February, 2016, 14:59

    Let the man lie in peace, Mr. Felder.

    As I understand things, you were let go by the band twice, I gather because you proved to be too self centered expecting more credit/money. You are a great musician but history shows that you were just one a cog in the wheel…….missed when gone but not as much as you would have liked.
    So you dug your own hole, unfortunately and it’s time to let it go before you damage your legacy further.

    Reply this comment
    • Noosic
      Noosic 20 February, 2016, 17:57

      You need to read the book juxtapositioning it against Frey and Henley’s comments since then. Come back and post then. It’s equal. Neither Frey nor Henley have written a rebuttal except comments or the movie. This was a screw-job and anyone worth his/her salt would know this entire thing was about screwing another out of money because of feelings of self-worth. There was another solution.

      Reply this comment
    • Noosic
      Noosic 20 February, 2016, 18:00

      More to it then what you wrote. Read up, talk to others in the industry, then make your procolamations. You over-simplified this situation with your statement. There is more to this story then meets the eye. Do a little research if you think you are the intellectual you think you are.

      Reply this comment
    • JB
      JB 22 February, 2016, 14:43

      Ha. They ripped him off and then you call him self centered?

      Reply this comment
    #2 CRSTARDUST 13 March, 2016, 18:38

    WHEN……is Felder going to put this to rest? Like never….enough already.

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