Donald William Felder, an American musician, was the Eagles’ lead guitarist from 1974 until his departure from the group in 2001. He was born on September 21, 1947. In 1998, he and the Eagles were both inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 2016 saw Felder get his induction into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum.
Don Felder Early life
On September 21, 1947, Don Felder was born in Gainesville, Florida. He grew up in a Southern Baptist household.
Felder’s initial interest in music stemmed from seeing Elvis Presley perform live on The Ed Sullivan Show. When he was around ten years old, he bought his first guitar, which he claims he traded with a friend at the five-and-dime for a number of cherry bombs. He was a self-taught musician who drew extensively from rock & roll. He formed his first band, the Continentals, at the age of 13, together with Stephen Stills and Isaac Guillory.
Felder learned to play the guitar by ear by listening to cassette recordings that he played back at half speed because his family could not afford music instruction. During his employment there, Felder received instruction in music theory and some notation from a Berklee graduate who founded the music school where he worked.
Don Felder Early bands
He met Bernie Leadon then, who would go on to become one of the Eagles’ original members. The Continentals, later known as the Maundy Quintet, were led by Leadon in place of Stephen Stills. Gainesville High School was attended by both Felder and Leadon. For almost 18 months, Felder taught guitar at a nearby music store. During this time, Felder also reportedly learned how to play slide guitar from Duane Allman. Tom Petty disputed that Felder had taught him how to play the guitar, despite Felder’s claims to the contrary. Petty did, however, accept that Felder had taught him how to play the piano.
In 1967, the Maundy Quintet produced a 45 rpm single for the Tampa-based Paris Tower label, which was played on the radio in north-central Florida.
Felder relocated to Manhattan, New York City, with the band Flow when the Maundy Quintet split up, and the group put out a self-titled improvisational rock fusion record in 1970. The Flow album from 1970 holds the distinction of being one of the first releases on the brand-new, independent CTI Records label, which was established by renowned jazz producer Creed Taylor. Felder acquired new skills and advanced his guitar improvisational skills when he was in New York. Felder relocated to Boston after Flow’s breakup and found work in a recording studio there.
Felder relocated to Los Angeles in 1973, when David Blue engaged him to play guitar for a tour in place of David Lindley, who was performing with Crosby & Nash. He assisted Blue in organizing a tour, during which they served as the opening act for Neil Young at the Roxy Theatre’s opening in November 1973 as well as a few Crosby and Nash performances. When Lindley became ill, Felder once more took Lindley’s place, this time in Crosby & Nash’s ensemble. Additionally, he occasionally jammed in the Eagles’ rehearsal room.
He appeared on Michael Dinner’s 1974 album The Great Pretender.
Don Felder Eagles
Felder was contacted by the Eagles in early January 1974 to add slide guitar to their song “Good Day in Hell” and some guitar solos to “Already Gone”. He received an invitation to join the band shortly after that. The band started moving away from their original country rock style and toward more traditional rock music at the same time. Felder co-wrote the song “Visions” with Don Henley for the band’s fourth album, One of These Nights, and performed lead vocal on it. He also orchestrated the title track’s unique guitar solo and bass line.
Joe Walsh joined the group in 1975 after original member Bernie Leadon left after the record tour. Felder and Walsh had previously performed together in a jam session when Leadon was still a member of the Eagles, and their onstage collaboration as a duo playing dual guitar leads would go on to become one of rock music’s most enduring examples. On later tours, Felder also filled in for Leadon’s duties on the pedal steel guitar, mandolin, and banjo.
The Eagles’ first album after the lineup change was Hotel California, which went on to become a huge global hit. Felder submitted “16 or 17 tracks,” two of which became the songs “Victim of Love” and “Hotel California,” the album’s lead single. The Eagles came under intense pressure to build on their popularity after the publication of Hotel California and the subsequent tour, and tensions were exacerbated by drink, cocaine, and other narcotics.
Randy Meisner, the band’s bassist, quit the group after the tour owing to weariness; Timothy B. Schmit, a former Poco player, took his place. Though Felder and Glenn Frey were particularly hostile to one another, despite admiring each other’s musical abilities, the fighting did not halt with the inclusion of the mild-mannered Schmit; rather, it worsened over the 18-month recording process for The Long Run.
Henley claims that while the band was breaking up into factions and even Henley and Frey started to have disagreements, Felder was trying to gain more authority by constantly co-opting Walsh, which led to the Eagles disbanding.
Things came to a head in the band at a performance for Senator Alan Cranston in Long Beach, California, on July 31, 1980, known as the “Long Night at Wrong Beach,” when the rivalry between Felder and Frey erupted prior to the performance after Felder said, “You’re welcome – I guess” to Cranston and his wife, offending Frey. He attacked Felder angrily, and the two of them exchanged verbal threats of beatings throughout the performance. Felder remembers Frey warning him during “Best of My Love” that “I’m gonna kick your ass when we get off the stage.” According to Frey, Felder broke his “cheapest guitar” after the concert. The Eagles broke up shortly after that.
Following the Eagles’ breakup in 1980, Felder concentrated more on his family while simultaneously launching a solo career that centered on film composition and session work. He served as a session guitarist for the Bee Gees’ 1981 album Living Eyes. Felder made session performances on recordings by musicians as varied as Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, and Andy Gibb thanks to his connection to Bee Gees producer Albhy Galuten. He also played guitar on Bella Donna and The Wild Heart, Stevie Nicks’ first two solo albums, at this time.
Felder issued his debut solo album, named Airborne, in 1983. A modest hit, “Never Surrender” from the album was co-written by Kenny Loggins and also appeared on the soundtrack for the well-known adolescent comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Henley offered Felder the chance to tour with him in 1985 for $5,000 a week (US $13,605 in 2022 dollars), but Felder declined, citing his displeasure with the pay and his desire to forego the tour.
His musical film credits from the 1980s include the title track “Wild Life” from the 1985 motion picture adaptation of Neil Simon’s The Slugger’s Wife, two songs on the soundtrack to the 1981 animated cult classic Heavy Metal, “Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride)” (with backing vocals from former bandmates Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit), and “All of You” (featuring backing vocals from Mickey Thomas of Jefferson Starship). Additionally, he wrote the song “She’s Got A Part of Me” for the Secret Admirer soundtrack, a 1985 romantic comedy.
A few of Felder’s television appearances include Galaxy High, a 1986 CBS animated series for which he composed and performed all of the music, including the show’s memorable theme song, and FTV, a musical comedy program that Felder hosted from 1985 to 1986 and which ridiculed MTV and music videos.
Don Felder Equipment
Gibson Les Paul and Gibson EDS-1275 (double-neck 6 and 12 string) electric guitars are used frequently by Felder throughout his concerts. Gibson decided to honor him by naming the “Don Felder Hotel California 1959 Les Paul” and the “Don Felder Hotel California EDS-1275” two reissues in 2010. Since he was a young child, Felder has accumulated about 300 different guitar models.
Felder employs Dumble Amplifiers-modified Fender Deluxe Reverb and Tweed Deluxe amplifiers. The 12-string side of the 1275 plays Hotel California through a Leslie speaker.
A Voodoo “Pedal Power,” a Fulltone “OCD” overdrive, two Boss “Digital Delay DD-3” delays, a Boss “Chorus Ensemble,” an MXR “Talk box,” and a Peterson “Stomp Classic” tuner make up Felder’s pedalboard.
Don Felder Eagles Band reformation
The band, which included Felder, reformed 14 years later for a concert broadcast on MTV, which gave rise to the new album Hell Freezes Over in 1994. This reunion was inspired by the popularity of the tribute album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles. The band’s anthem “Hotel California” was reworked into an acoustic version for the live MTV performance, and Felder opened the show by performing it with a new, flamenco-inspired beginning.
At the band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, Felder performed the songs “Take It Easy” and “Hotel California” with all current and past band members present. He remained an Eagles player until 2001.
Band termination and lawsuit against the Eagles
The Eagles fired Felder on February 6, 2001. In response, he filed two lawsuits, purportedly demanding $50 million in damages, citing wrongful termination, breach of an implied contract in fact, and breach of fiduciary duty. Felder asserted that Henley and Frey “insisted that they each receive a higher percentage of the band’s profits” after the 1994 Hell Freezes Over tour, when the money had previously been divided into five equal parts. Felder further charged that they forced him to sign a contract that gave Henley and Frey a threefold increase in the profits from Selected Works: 1972-1999 over Felder.
This box set, which was published in November 2000, has made over $16 million in sales and about 267,000 copies. Felder was subsequently countersued by Henley and Frey for breach of contract on the grounds that they had authored a “tell-all” book that Felder had tried to sell the rights to.
The two cases were combined by the Los Angeles County Court on January 23, 2002, and on May 8, 2007, the case was resolved outside of court for an unknown sum. Felder has since brought more lawsuits against the Eagles despite the deal.
On November 1st, 2007, the book Heaven and Hell: My Life in The Eagles (1974-2001) was released in the UK. On April 28, 2008, John Wiley & Sons released the American edition, and Felder started a publicity effort.
Don Felder Autobiography
Early in 2008, the autobiography Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001) by Felder was released. Felder was able to share his life narrative, discuss his friendships with Glenn Frey and Don Henley, and narrate his own account of being fired from the band in 2001 through the book. Felder is reported as claiming that he “wasn’t out to hang people’s heads for the whole community to see, that wasn’t the point of the book” in an interview with Jim Farber of the New York Daily News that was conducted on April 27, 2008. The purpose was to share my experience.
Don Felder Life after the Eagles
Felder confirmed that he still keeps in touch with Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, two other ex-Eagles members, in a 2008 interview with Howard Stern. Felder responded that the only responses he receives from Frey or Henley are through their respective attorneys when asked if he had any communication with them.
His second solo album Road to Forever, which came out on October 9, 2012, over three decades after the debut of Airborne, featured the Crosby, Stills, and Nash harmony vocals on the song “Fall from the Grace of Love,” which served as the album’s lead single.
Felder attacked the History of the Eagles Tour, which the Eagles performed from 2013 to 2015 to go along with their two-part documentary, for being unfinished. He didn’t take part in the corresponding tour. Felder has been performing on the road since 2005 with his own group, the Don Felder Band. They went on tour in 2014 with the rock groups Foreigner and Styx. Felder performed on a US tour in 2017 alongside REO Speedwagon and Styx.
In 2019, Felder made the announcement that American Rock ‘n’ Roll, his third studio album, will be released on CD and vinyl on April 5. Sammy Hagar, Slash (who lives close to Felder), Richie Sambora, Orianthi, Peter Frampton, Joe Satriani, Mick Fleetwood, Chad Smith, Bob Weir, David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Alex Lifeson, and Jim Keltner are just a few of the players who appear on the record. In order to promote the new album, Felder will embark on a global tour. Jimi Hendrix, Santana, The Doobie Brothers, Bruce Springsteen, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses, and other musicians are all mentioned in the title track.
Felder told the Associated Press in 2016 that he had “unbelievable sorrow” the day after learning of Frey’s passing. I always imagined that at some point in the future, he and I would eat dinner together, reminiscing about the past and saying goodbye with a handshake and an embrace.
Don Felder About
As the former lead guitarist of The Eagles, one of the most well-known and significant rock bands of our time, Don Felder is well-known.
Regardless of your perspective, this year seems to be Don “Fingers” Felder’s “Year of the Fingers.” Felder, a true American rock and roll guitar legend, is eager to build on his illustrious history as one of the modern rock era’s most inventive riff-generating songwriters and continue to develop as a prominent touring and recording solo artist.
With the release of American Rock ‘N’ Roll (BMG), Felder’s first solo album in seven years, he most definitely finds himself back in control. American Rock ‘N’ Roll, which consists of 11 upbeat rock songs paired with poignant, reflective ballads, exhibits the full range of the artist’s creative abilities. From the state of the guitar-rock union salute to “American Rock N Roll” to the funky crunch of “Hearts on Fire” to the fierce, unyielding declaration of “Rock You” to the mutual heartfelt honesty of “Falling in Love” and “You’re My World,” Don Felder has once again tapped into the current musical zeitgeist to emerge with an album that represents the pinnacle of his creative prowess.
A veritable who’s who of contemporary rock music is represented on ARnR’s impressive guest list of contributors, which includes Sammy Hagar (vocals on “Rock You”), Slash (a wicked guitar solo on the title track), Richie Sambora and Orianthi (dual guitar soloists on “Limelight”), Peter Frampton (telecaster blare and background vocals on “The Way Things Have to Be”), Joe Satriani (a blistering, lightning-
This time, Don thought it would be nice to cut heads and divide the fretboard wealth with as many of his ARnRas peers as he could round up. “On my last solo album, 2012’s Road to Forever, I had only one guest on guitar—Steve Lukather of Toto and I played every other guitar part on every other song,” Felder notes. “This time, I didn’t want to do it. I wanted people to enter and light it on fire. My intention was to play and have fun with them. It was great fun!”
It’s simple to understand why Felder enjoys such high regard. He was initiated into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville in 2016 and the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2017. He is also a proud, long-standing member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, having been admitted alongside the Eagles back in 1998. The Eagles, who have sold over 150 million albums worldwide to date and hold the honor of having recorded the best-selling album of all time, Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), have worked with Felder for 27 years. To date, the album has sold over 38 million copies (and counting).
In regards to the ensemble, he says, “I’m honored and fortunate enough to have contributed to and been a part of a very talented mixture of voices, writing, guitar parts, and production.” “It was a beautiful, singular combination that only occurred at that specific location and moment. That makes me really happy. I always think, “Oh, we were really good!,” when I hear the work we produced on the radio.
The hard-driving “Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride)” is one of the most requested songs in Don’s live set to this day. Don also has two fully realized full-length albums, the sonically soaring Airborne from 1983 and the multifaceted song-cycle treatise, Road to Forever, from 2012. Since Don’s departure from the band in 2001, he has carved out an impressive career as a top-tier solo artist.
Felder’s riveting 2008 book, Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001), quickly became a New York Times bestseller blockbuster, adding “best-selling author” to his already formidable C.V. “There’s still a lot of excitement about it,” he says. I continue to see numerous Facebook and Twitter posts about it, and each time I perform live, a sizable grassroots movement is launched. At almost every performance, up to 50 individuals with books who want me to sign them approach the front of the stage.
Anyone who has ever witnessed the man’s hands flame across any guitar fretboard, whether it be acoustic or electric, single-neck or double-neck, can confirm that the nickname “Fingers” is well-deserved. Felder’s natural skill with those nimble fingers actually assisted him in navigating the budding rock scene in his hometown of Gainesville, Florida, in the 1960s. During that crucial period, Tom Petty, a young Southern man with sandy hair, spent time learning the guitar from him. Who would have thought he’d become such a rock icon? Felder thinks. “I was so happy to see Tom grow to be as well-known and significant as he was.”
Felder and Stephen Stills founded The Continentals as ambitious teenagers. After Stills left, the group changed into the British Invasion-inspired frat-party band known as the Maundy Quintet, which also featured Bernie Leadon, an upcoming member of the Eagles. Felder joined Flow, an Ocala, Florida-based jam-fusion band, around 1970 to better flex his developing jazz skills when the MQ fizzled.
Felder continued to broaden his playing range by simultaneously learning slide guitar from his longtime friend Duane Allman. He also incorporated the more melodic principles of jazz greats like Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Miles Davis along with the fundamentals of the blues he learned from people like Albert King and B.B. King into his own milieu. Felder was always looking to learn as much as he could. He admits, “I’m largely influenced melodically by horn players.
“Miles Davis was a big influence on me when it came to tempo. He would pause and finish a phrase while you were left hanging on the note. I discovered that most horn players can only play one note at a time, therefore the melody you chose must be extremely carefully considered.
The Eagles’ songs from the prime rock era are among the many outstanding fruits of Don’s discriminating musical taste. Witness how his unrivaled lead guitar tone fueled “Already Gone,” “One of These Nights,” “Take It to the Limit,” and “New Kid in Town,” in addition to co-writing “Victim of Love,” “Those Shoes,” and his most well-known co-creation, “Hotel California,” which he recast in a completely new way for the Eagles’ Hell Freezes Over in 1994.
“I’ll tell you that the rendition of ‘Hotel California’ that I re-recorded on nylon-string guitar for that reunion is the only song that I’m aware of — and I’ve questioned the RIAA staff about this — that has been recorded twice by the same band and then received Grammy nominations on both occasions. That’s something, right? (In fact, it is because the 1995 Hell Freezes Over single version of “Hotel California” received a nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal while the original “Hotel California” single won Record of the Year in 1977.)
Felder has benefited much from “Hotel California” throughout the years, as it should. “People love the music, the guitar solos, and the overall vibe that song has,” Don acknowledges. “Everyone in the room recognized ‘Hotel California’ and was singing along when I stood up and played it at the United Nations a few years ago, even those heads of state and presidents who didn’t speak English! For it, I received a rousing standing ovation.
I suddenly realized how much of an impact that one song had on the world at that period. And so, by the time ‘Hotel’ concludes the night in my live set, everyone is up and ready to go, ready to receive that potent electric energy.
The Bee Gees, Peter Frampton, Michael Jackson, Alice Cooper, Warren Zevon, Diana Ross, Stevie Nicks, Vince Gill, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, and the aforementioned Stephen Stills are just a few of the notable musicians Felder has collaborated with and shared the stage with throughout his career. (Like the road, Don’s astounding list of associates may continue on forever.) Felder affirms, “I grew up with Stephen Stills, and before I joined the Eagles in 1974, I ironically toured with Crosby & Nash playing the parts of Stephen Stills.”
As Graham Nash himself says, “I’ve always been a fan of Don’s,” Felder undoubtedly made a lasting influence on that legendary pair. He’s amazing on the guitar and in the vocal department. He picked up everything about us over night, and the next day he played with us. I love it, you know that?” In 1974, Crosby & Nash were the first to propose Don to the Eagles when they began looking for a top guitarist to join their ranks. “We said to them, ‘We just finished a tour with this kid—you have to check him out,'” Nash explains. “And observe what transpired. I suppose it worked out in a way.
Felder came to the conclusion that he needed to invest the time necessary to develop his own distinctive voice into a precisely tuned instrument as he began to spend an increasing amount of time on the road as the frontman of his own close-knit solo band. Don explains, “That’s just how I operate. A lead vocal must match the song’s timbre and texture in order to be effective. You’re a one-note samba if not.
Felder lists extended road runs with Foreigner and Styx, as well as other legendary runs with Peter Frampton’s Guitar Circus, The Doobie Brothers, and REO Speedwagon, as touring highlights. These include holding down the opening slot for these bands on the 2014 Soundtrack of Summer tour and appearing as a special guest of Styx during a pair of residencies in Las Vegas in 2017 and 2018.
The aforementioned Soundtrack of Summer tour from 2014 continues to be one of his favorites. It was the most enjoyable tour I’ve ever been on, possibly in my entire life, he says. It was stress-free, enjoyable, and featured terrific guys, no drama, and improbable music. It was simply a really, really nice summer tour with amazing crews and musicians. When it finally ended, I was upset.
Many of his fellow travelers concur heartily. Working with someone like Don is so much fun. Tommy Shaw, the guitarist and vocalist for Styx, says with a smile that it’s never truly work and that you can just unwind. I get along nicely with Don. At least, I hope it’s a society of mutual admiration. I’m sure I respect him. Don is a person who can pick up a guitar and just jam, but his solos are always extremely skillfully produced and structured.
Mick Jones, the lead guitarist and co-founder of Foreigner, continues, “Don was an eye-opener for everyone on that tour. He definitely came to his senses. He performed the Eagles songs, some of which he co-wrote, with great fidelity. Would I describe what we experienced as a mutual respect case? That certainly fits the bill.
According to Foreigner bassist/producer Jeff Pilson, who also worked on the band’s rendition of “Hotel California” from that same year, which saw Felder, Shaw, and Jones trade lead vocal responsibilities as well as their trademark guitar licks, “Don is one of the most meticulous and sophisticated men I’ve ever met. I adore him acoustically and stylistically, as I have always done with everything about his playing. I adore his voice, and he helped the Eagles rock a little harder. He’s an underestimated singer in my opinion.
Felder is most proud of his ongoing charitable work for organizations like the Starkey Hearing Foundation in 2018, the Ruck N Roll Charity Ball in Hong Kong for underprivileged children in 2016, Autism Speaks in 2014, and 2022 St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, to name just a few of the deserving causes he supports. In addition to his musical ability as a dual threat guitarist and vocalist.
What will our man Fingers Felder do next? The man intends to approach the epic sounds and broad shoulders of American Rock ‘N’ Roll with his own special brand of fusing equal parts elegance and grace, and extensive traveling is most definitely already planned: “It’s not the quantity, but the quality and the choice of the notes you play,” he says in his conclusion.
Keep an eye out for additional information about Felder’s exciting days, months, and years to come. Let’s continue to adore the essence of Don Felder, a man who consistently pushes limits and broadens vistas, in the interim. He can only go down that route in that way.
Who is Don Felder?
On September 21, 1947, Donald William Felder was born in Gainesville, Florida, in the United States. He was raised in a Southern Baptist family with music-loving parents, which gave him the background and ideal atmosphere to nurture his skill.
He began playing the guitar at the age of ten and eventually joined his high school band. Felder studied Music Theory at the University of Florida in Gainesville after graduating from high school. He only stayed for a year before quitting to concentrate and seek a career in music.
Felder’s career began to take shape in the early 1970s after he joined the group “Eagles.” He went on to become one of the band’s most well-known performers during and after that time. Felder, a guitarist and singer, contributed to the popularity of the band in America and abroad with songs like “One of These Nights,” “Hotel California,” and “Life in the Fast Lane,” among other significant singles.
Felder’s first solo album, “Airborne,” which he released in 1983 after leaving the Eagles and going solo. Years later, he released the hugely popular albums “Road To Forever” and “American Rock ‘n’ Roll” in 2012 and 2019, respectively.
Along with performing music, Felder has been in a few television shows and motion pictures, including as “Legends of the Canyon” and “The History of the Eagles.”
Don Felder has wed two times. His first wife, Susan Felder, whom he had four children with, was his wife. In 2012, he wed Kathrin Nicholson once more. They have reared two kids together.
How many houses and cars does Don Felder have?
Californian Don Felder resides in a house in Malibu. More than three acres, or 9,000 square feet, are covered by the property.
He also owns a variety of expensive cars, including a Mercedes-Benz.
How much does Don Felder make per year?
The public is currently unaware of Don Felder’s yearly earnings. The renowned singer’s estimated net worth of US$60 million supports the assertion that he earns several million dollars each year from his music career.
What investments does Don Felder have?
Online sites claim that Don Felder has made some wise investments in equities and real estate.
How many Endorsement deals does Don Felder have?
The amount of brand endorsement agreements the great signed during the course of his career is unknown. According to sources, Don Felder may have earned a sizable sum of money from these endorsement contracts.
How many Philanthropy works has Don Felder supported?
Don Felder is renowned for his charity donations to numerous organizations, including those involving children, health, and mental problems, among others. He has contributed to various charities and charitable groups throughout the years, including Autism Speaks, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Starkey Hearing Foundation, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the Ruck N Roll Charity Ball, among many others.
How many businesses does Don Felder own?
Little is known about the enterprises that the renowned singer and guitarist held.