Feb 16, 2016: Don Felder Addresses Frey Grammy Tribute Snub

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Felder & Frey

Felder and Frey in better times (Photo via Don Felder official Facebook page)

Don Felder, the guitarist who played with Eagles from 1974 to 1980 and the reunited band from 1994 to 2001 posted on his Facebook page on February 16, 2016: “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 turned out to be a can of worms with fans on social media taking all sides of the debate.

[Some fans have also wondered why founding bassist Randy Meisner wasn’t involved, as he was still alive at the time. In his case, 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 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

Photo via 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.”

(If you’re a new Best Classic Bands reader, we’d be grateful if you would Like our Facebook page and/or bookmark our Home page.)

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.”

Related: Jimmy Page and Steve Miller watch Felder perform “Hotel California”

Eagles have a new career-spanning title, To The Limit: The Essential Collection. It’s available for pre-order in the U.S. here and in the U.K. here.

Rob Patterson

22 Comments so far

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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
    • Dane
      Dane 22 September, 2018, 22:10

      He was too self centered? Really!? First, all he wanted was to have the credit that he rightfully deserved and second he wasn’t looking for more money for himself but for Joe Walsh and Randy Meisner.. Just an equal share which they all deserved. Glenn Frey and Don Henley claimed that their solo careers kept the Music of The Eagles alive. I say the music of The Eagles made their solo careers and you have the nerve to say the Don Felder is the one self centered? Please, give me a break!

      Reply this comment
      • Desert Pirate
        Desert Pirate 17 February, 2024, 19:47

        Dane, Spot on comment that the music of the Eagles is what propelled Frey and Henley and not that their music kept the music of the Eagles alive. To think that the music of the Eagles is still being played because Frey and Henley kept making records is a ridiculous notion. The music of the Eagles is still being played because it is great music. Frey and Henley, mostly Henley, both wrote and sang some great songs in their solo careers, but them wanting more money than their Eagle mates when they reunited was all about the money, baby. Greed, pure and simple. And if you ever watch and listen to Don Henley give an interview it is easy to see how full of himself he is.

        Reply this comment
    • Rc
      Rc 16 June, 2019, 05:18

      He didnt say anything damaging other then he wasnt invited. Wtf are you talking about, you dope? Frey treated Felder like shit. And I lost respect for both Henley and Frey. They ran THREE members off front the Eagles. It’s obvious who the bad guys are here.

      Reply this comment
      • Max
        Max 18 February, 2022, 20:20

        Henley and Frey had better lawyers. Yea… real rockers, right.

        Reply this comment
    • Jon
      Jon 26 December, 2020, 01:46

      Did they reach a number one spot after Felder? They must pay for the God given talent. Did you ever play in a band? You go home when all the other people are sleeping. Pay the man his due he was grinding too. Cape Town South Africa.

      Reply this comment
    • BobB
      BobB 3 March, 2022, 19:49

      Dude, Frey created all this tension with band members being OCD and greedy. All original members were equal partners until Frey thought he should be paid more than originally agreed upon with Felder. They should have invited Felder and let ‘bygones be bygones’ but they didnt. Felder added so much more to the sound with his genius guitar playing. Rock on Don!

      Reply this comment
      • KAT
        KAT 2 May, 2022, 15:16

        I agree with you, all members were equal with everything in the beginning. Singing, songwriting and pay. Documentation from all the articles I have dating back to the early 70s… Glenn was the one who came up with equal everything. He knew that those were the three things that broke up bands. On the other hand….nothing lasts forever and things change. I WILL ALWAYS LOVE & MISS GLENN FOREVER

        Reply this comment
      • David Harvey
        David Harvey 22 June, 2022, 08:59

        Glenn did not create the tensions or discord and he was not greedy at all.

        Felder got kicked out of the group due to his greed and Henley and Frey didn’t deserve to be badmouthed, let alone sued in court, by Felder in an unnecessary lawsuit.

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

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

    Reply this comment
  3. Big D
    #3 Big D 4 April, 2020, 21:51

    People in the industry still don’t have good things to say about Frey even in his passing. Henley lately is finally keeping quiet, maybe after almost 50 years he gets it!

    Reply this comment
  4. DAVE
    #4 DAVE 26 May, 2021, 07:39

    No I don’t believe that Felder was snubbed and as a matter of fact, no one expected him to be a part of this tribute to Glenn.
    Felder burned his bridges with Glenn and Don Henley and given that he constantly said mean and spiteful things about Glenn in his book and interviews, never once acknowledged his talents as a singer or musician.

    I’m surprised that he could not understand why he was not invited and I’m sure that Don Henley was mindful of Glenn’s widow and children’s feelings about Felder after Glenn died.

    Reply this comment
  5. v2787
    #5 v2787 17 February, 2022, 08:38

    One thing is for certain: Don Henley will NEVER allow Felder to rejoin the Eagles. That ship has sailed and it’s not coming back. It’s a pity, but life isn’t always fair.

    Reply this comment
  6. 122intheshade
    #6 122intheshade 17 February, 2022, 20:23

    I look at the Glenn+Don vs Felder issue as similar to the Ray Singleton-Berry Gordy story. Just as Motown was taking off in the early 60s, Berry had Ray sign away her share of Jobete.

    Which ultimately cost her hundreds of millions of dollars.

    She wrote a book about the early days of Motown, “Berry, Me and Motown”. If you want to see the pre-history of Motown, this is a good book.

    Reply this comment
  7. Baybluesman
    #7 Baybluesman 18 February, 2022, 00:24

    Regarding Don Felder’s contributions to the Eagles’ (And I recently saw him in concert, and IMHO, his playing is still phenomenal, maybe even better, post-Eagles/solo):

    While thoroughly enjoyed the SoCal sound of the early Eagles albums, it was Don Felder (along with producer Bill Szymczyk) that provided the harder-edged rock and bite into the Eagles albums, starting with “On the Border”, particularly on the songs “”Already Gone” and “Good Day In Hell”.

    Although Vince Gill has a great tonal quality (Loved his work during his stint in Pure Prairie League) and is an accomplished guitarist, Don Felder was core to the Eagles’ collective success, and should still be an Eagle (if he would choose to be).

    Heck, Don Felder taught a young Tom Petty guitar lessons, in their hometown of Gainesville, FL – ’nuff said.

    Reply this comment
    • DocCane
      DocCane 17 February, 2024, 06:24

      Felder is a great player but Walsh did more for moving them in the direction of R & R. His real problem was jealousy of Don and Glenn as singers and song writers. And he’s been caught lying before so I have no idea why his fans think his book is gospel. Tom Petty himself said he may have taken one lesson from Felder. Eagles never missed a beat after he left.

      Reply this comment
    • BassBruce
      BassBruce 17 February, 2024, 07:20

      Agree completely. Although I haven’t seen or heard the band with Gill, I did with Steuart Smith, and although he’s a fine player, was too sterile and clinical compared to Felder.

      Reply this comment
  8. Max
    #8 Max 18 February, 2022, 20:17

    “I’ve had a rough night, and I hate the fucking Eagles, man.” – The Dude

    Reply this comment
  9. Mickey
    #9 Mickey 17 February, 2023, 09:10

    2016, who cares?
    2023, who cares?

    Reply this comment

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