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Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001)

Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001)

3.9 37
by Don Felder, Wendy Holden

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The Eagles are the bestselling, and arguably the tightest-lipped, American group ever. Now band member and guitarist Don Felder finally breaks the Eagles’ years of public silence to take fans behind the scenes. He shares every part of the band’s wild ride, from the pressure-packed recording studios and trashed hotel rooms to the tension-filled courtrooms,


The Eagles are the bestselling, and arguably the tightest-lipped, American group ever. Now band member and guitarist Don Felder finally breaks the Eagles’ years of public silence to take fans behind the scenes. He shares every part of the band’s wild ride, from the pressure-packed recording studios and trashed hotel rooms to the tension-filled courtrooms, and from the joy of writing powerful new songs to the magic of performing in huge arenas packed with roaring fans.

Editorial Reviews

This is a book you almost didn't get to read. Present members of the legendary rock band the Eagles were so angered by former bandmate Don Felder's tell-all memoir that they took him to court. Heaven and Hell is filled with just the sort of racy details about band feuds and raucous parties that rock fans love. It's a must-read for '70s survivors.
From the Publisher
* "An entertaining tell-all."—Boston Globe

Product Details

Turner Publishing Company
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Barnes & Noble
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4 MB

Meet the Author

DON FELDER is widely considered one of the greatest guitar players in the music industry, and he continues to tour and play as a solo artist. He lives in Los Angeles.

WENDY HOLDEN is a seasoned journalist and bestselling author. She lives in Suffolk, England.

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Heaven and Hell 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Don Henley once said there are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the cold hard truth. What Don Felder provides in this book is the 'yours.' The book is at times a touching rags-to-riches story of a small town boy who makes it big. It's also a poison pen dagger aimed directly at Don Henley and Glenn Frey, who he holds responsible for seemingly everything that went wrong in his life. Felder, by his own account, seems to live a miserable existence no matter how much success he achieves. He is miserable in the recording studio, miserable on tour, and miserable at home with his wife and four children. At some point, one really starts to wonder how someone can exist going through life so miserable. He overreacts to seemingly minor situations, such as his youngest son trying pot as a teenager. When Felder discovers this, he is practically ready to drive him to rehab instead of just chalking it up to typical teenage behavior. Felder is also careful in touching on his relationship with the members in the band. However, he fails to realize that what goes around comes around. When his good buddy Bernie Leadon is forced out 'mainly due to Felder's arrival', followed shortly thereafter by bassist Randy Meisner, Felder stands idly by, unwilling to support his friends. Yet when the ax falls on Felder in 2001, he is incredulous that band mates Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit refuse to battle for him. It is Schmit who actually sets Felder straight by telling him what happened in the 1970s is no longer relevant, but a suddenly headstrong Felder refuses to see it that way. The final straw appears to come with the impending release of an Eagles greatest hits compilation in 2000. Once again, Felder is unhappy that Henley and Frey 'whom he refers to as 'The Gods'' make more money. It's at this point when you really wish Felder would grow a spine and just make the decision to just leave the band. Henley and Frey may never win any humanitarian awards, but for Felder to lay all his problems at their feet is simplistic at best and vengeful at worst. After all, they were the ones to give him his big break and they did provide most of the inspiration for this book. The book is at times funny, and Eagles fans will revel in Felder's accounts of life on the road and writing classic hits such as 'Hotel California.' In the end, you can't help but feel for Felder a bit. But at the same time, you can't help but also think that he could have prevented so much of what went wrong by simply standing up for himself. When he was finally able to do so, it was too late.
nogatorp More than 1 year ago
If you have read other Eagles biographies, you should read this one to get Don Felder's perspective. It's not any great piece of literature, but is a must-read for any Eagles fan. The book sheds some light on what brought on the breakup with Felder, and has some unflattering information about Frey and Henley. However, the book does not come off as bitter. It also gives some information about the lawsuit which ensued when Felder was fired from the band. According to this, Felder wrote the music for Hotel California, while Frey and the others provided the lyrics.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Felder lets it all hang out in this book. I absolutely adore the music of The Eagles, but have lost huge amounts of respect for Frey and Henley after having done some follow up research to verify Felder's facts. Felder tells it like it is clearly, concisely, and without much malice.
JimKY More than 1 year ago
As the book goes on, it becomes more evident the perspective of Don Felder as he fell out with the band and was asked to leave. The book does a very good job of showing his upbringing and how his musical background developed. The book does not touch on how the Eagles formed or came together because they were already an established group when Don Felder joined them. The book does a good job of covering the interactions between Felder and the various other members of the band he worked with. Of course it does cover the bickering that went on between the band. There are periods of time on tour that are passed over very sparcly because he says he doesn't remember large parts of time because of the parrying and drug use. The book does a good job of describing his family life as he works through his years with the eagles. The book tends to portray him as the goody good guy trying to take up for the other members of the band in trying make sure everyone was treated fair and it was someone else in the treating someone unfairly. I believe he had his own self interests in mind more the book implies. The book is an excellent view of the Eagles from someone was involved with and knew how it felt to be part of the Eagles. Much better than the books written by people who would interview band members or got thier material from all the news stories they could find about the eagles.
IrishBill316 More than 1 year ago
A great read, loved the inside stuff."Fingers" is a great performer who seemed to clash egos with the "Gods" They lived the Rock era to the limits( no pun intended) The Eagles have been my favorite group since the 70's, almost 40 years later I still listen to their music. "Long Road Out Of Eden" is playing in the background as I type, great music, great band. Sorry "Fingers" is no longer with the group, but you guys keep on keeping on. Irish Bill316 P.S. Read "To The Limit" The Untold Story of the Eagles.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a longtime fan of the Eagles music 'but not the personalities', I couldn't put this down. Now all the changes -- with Bernie, Randy and then Don leaving -- make total sense. The press coverage focused on the sex and drugs that 'surprise!' went with the rock & roll ¿ as made famous by the movie by Rolling Stone writer Cameron Crowe 'who briefly appears in the book'. However, what was fascinating was the personalities and the business dealings ¿ Eagles Ltd. was a major business bringing in hundreds of millions of dollar, with all the transparency that Hollywood accountants can bring. So the book works brilliantly on all three levels ¿ where the music came from, the rock & roll culture of the 70s, and as an indictment of show business dishonesty.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My son said, ¿Hey Dad! Turn on Howard Stern.¿ I did, and the interview he was having that day with Don Felder cost me $25.00 and a well spent weekend, reading his book. What a story. It¿s not just his story, it¿s all of our stories. All of us who grew up with the Eagles. All of us who achieved success and all of us who did not. Don Felders story wrapped around his ¿relationship¿ with the ¿Gods¿ is a true testament of how to survive, achieve and ultimately prevail. There has always been something disturbing about The Eagles. Only being able to see what would could as a fan with our faces pressed up against the glass left us only with speculation. Don¿s book served to confirm all of my suspicions about ¿The Gods¿ and I feel better for that as apparently does Don. Don Henley¿s commitment to always being late for appointments confirms his commitment to his perpetual state of arrogance. One need only take a look at the politics of ¿The God¿s¿ to see why they feel that only they should be the arbiters of other peoples success and money. It was good to see Don finally stand up for himself. Now he, unlike those who profited from him obviously likes what he see¿s in the mirror. If I never read another book, I will not feel that I had been cheated.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While Don Felder’s description of his journey to becoming an Eagle and the people he met along the way is interesting; overall Felder comes off as a childish self-absorbed whiner out of touch with reality.  It is not unreasonable Felder had reservations over the new contracts considering Don Henley and Glenn Frey’s justifications for taking a larger share of the revenue were flimsy and rather dubious.  Although, an important consideration in favor of signing was that Felder understood the new contract allowed him the opportunity to make more money than he had ever made before. However fair or unfair the unequal distribution of the bands revenue may have been, those were the cards that had been dealt.  It was time for Felder to put on his big boy pants and make a decision-either sign the contract or quit. He chose neither and tried to re-negotiate.  Hey, if Felder wanted to take a stand on principle that’s great and I applaud that.  However, most people simply submit a counter-offer.  Not Felder.  He opted for the juvenile unprofessional approach-a continuous barrage of complaints and letters from his representatives.  That misguided strategy of relentless nagging and badgering clearly pushed his band mates well beyond the boiling point.  Felder became that annoying buzzing fly always just out of reach of your fly swatter. What employer would not have fired him? It is mind-goggling that after being fired Felder said he back-peddled on his demands and then wanted-pleaded-to sign the contracts as is. When advised his request was denied he portrays himself as a victim shocked and hurt no one returns his calls.  Is he kidding?  He stirred up all of that chaos even though he had no intention of standing his ground if things didn’t go his way?  Felder got one thing right-he does suck at poker.  He grossly misplayed his hand and blew his chance to stay in the Eagles and make more money than he had ever made before. It seems odd Felder made a point of trying to link his firing from the band with the departures of Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner; as if they all belong to some former Eagles brotherhood.  I don’t see the connections.  Each left at different times under different circumstances and conditions.  I don’t know why Leadon or Meisner left but it seems their departures had just as much to do with sheer survival from that insane rock-star lifestyle that was killing all of them as it did with whatever disputes were going on. They got out and moved on.  Felder’s firing from the Eagles and subsequent alienation by its members stands alone. Any sympathy I had for Felder evaporated once I got to the parts where he shared private conversations of former and current band members-people he referred to as his friends and mentors.  Writing about his own experiences is one thing; repeating statements others said to him in confidence or conversations he overheard is dishonorable.  His stories of scandalous raucous parties appear to be nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to hurt those he seemingly believes have wronged him.  Two things that resonate throughout this book are that Don Felder is his own worst enemy and he is no friend of the Eagles.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed reading this book. Of course everyone has their own side to a story and Don Felder has told his side but I believe it rings true. Grew up loving everything Eagles but reading this has definitely taken the shine off this band for me. Just shows you that you shouldn't make rock stars your heros.
andypac33 More than 1 year ago
I always wondered why Don "Fingers" Felder was no longer a part of the Eagles lineup. Years had passed and still the truth was unknown to me. Although this is Fingers side of the story, you come away with the feeling that he has no reason to not tell the truth. From beginning to end I was always aware that this is one side of the story...but a very good story. I'm not sure how accurate some of the quotes used in the book are because they happened in his childhood, they happened when he was using alcohol and drugs. I find it difficult that someone could remember that specifically things that were spoken 30-40 years ago. Once his story got past his childhood the book started flowing very nicely. I liked it a lot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! Anyone who has ever enjoyed music on any level will enjoy this book. Anyone who's ever bought an album, sang along with the car radio or dated a musician will 'get it.' Just an incredible tale. Can't wait for Irving and Joe Walsh to write their books. Not to mention 'the Gods' and Bernie, Randy and Tim, too! Would also like to read more Wendy Holden and am curious about her personal pain. I don't know how much she 'wrote' or 'tweaked,' but if there are other titles of hers (or other books to which she contributed), please let your readers know). 'Heaven and Hell' was just a fabulous, wonderful read. Really. Now if my local Barnes and Noble would just re-stock Instamatic Karma, by May Pang...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a long-time Eagles fan, albeit one who knew little about the group beyond their captivating songs, I found this book revealing and fascinating. While it tells the story through the eyes of one man, it has a ring of truth and openness to it that made it believable and very hard to put down. What a shame that one of the greatest bands ever had to succumb to its own success and ultimately self-destruct because of egos and greed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this book for father's day. A long time Eagles fan, I couldn't put the book down. People may question Felder's motives all they want but there's obviously a huge amount of truth in what he writes. Any one who follows the group at all will see that what he writes about the treatment of former band members, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner is consistent with the huge egos that Frey & Henley obviously have. After all between them and Felder, you have Witchy Woman, One of These Nights, and Hotel California to name a few....not bad for side men to the great duo. There are two sides to every story but Felder's is fascinating. He taught Tom Petty to play guitar and played with Stephen Stills in a high school band. Not bad in most circles. The saddest thing to me in the book, again one side of the story, was the friendships he had with Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit that ended when the band let him go. I feel sadness because these were friends above and beyond Frey & Henley who apparently felt making money with the Eagles was more important than friendship. One final note, if you purchased their last cd like I have, you'll know that maybe they should consider taking back all three of these guys.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heaven and Hell my Life in the Eagles (1974-2001) The time frame covered by this book doesn't begin in 1974 to reference the rock & roll lifestyle through the eyes of an Ex-Eagle. That subject matter does come up later in the book, I believe as means to describe the obstacles that occurred in the midst of success, fame & fortune and all it had to offer. The beginning is a journey through childhood and the extensive influences that paved the way to create diverse opportunities leading to a career in the music industry. Issues of the personal and professional nature resulted in challenges the now Ex-Eagle had to face and find or attempt to find a resolution for.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too nad egos got in the way of this terrific band. Glad don was able to enjoy what the fame brought and has a wonderful family standing next to him. What a ride though...
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book just before watching the "History of The Eagles" DVD. Both were very enlightening and entertaining. Don Felder's book won't have too many surprises for hard-core Eagles fans like myself, but it's still worth a read. Don Henley and Glenn Frey come off as a-holes in the book and DVD, which a lot of people know, but they still made great music and I'll always be a fan.
Magnepan-Man More than 1 year ago
I found the book to be very interesting, shedding light on many facts that I didn't know before. I, like many others, liked the Eagles in the 70's, but not enough to buy their albums. To me it seemed the band always brought in a new member when the music got stale. Joe Walsh comes to mind in this case, to liven up a stagnant band. Behind these decisions we Henley and Frey. Don Felder's book is an excellent birds eye account of the behind the scenes action of a pressure cooker. But his whining and complaining gets to be nauseating. I took out the 2 Dvd's that my children got for me over the years and watched them after I read the book. One has Felder playing on hell freezes over, the other does not and was an Australian concert. Felder's playing certainly added to the Eagles stamp on the music, but as I was watching and listening, I was looking at the covers and noticed that Felder only co-wrote 1 song. Great as Hotel California is, it is 1 song of probably 30 plus songs that were all smash hits. Don, you were told when you joined the band that you would be Harrison to Lennon and McCartney. Why did it surprise you when it turned out to be that way? A crummy deal to go from one fifth to one seventh in money, yes. A great deal to make millions and not have to write all the songs, and have all the responsibility, also yes. As far as I can tell from how the solo careers went, Frey rode the Henley coat tails pretty well also. Non the less the book is an excellent story of a hard working, poor musician who marries way outside his social status, gets the opportunity of a lifetime, is smart enough to jump at it, and goes from rags to riches. And for the next 25years is a member of a band he loves and hates. When Harrison was through being a sideman for Lennon and McCartney he went on to write some of the most socially moving and probably , with the exception of "something", the best music of his life. If you feel like you were strapped by Henley and Frey musically then show us what you got Don. But if it about band status, or money. I am sorry, you did not win my sympathy. The book itself is great, just stop whining. Egotists always run the company, at least in your case the egotists had talent and could back up their jackass personalities with deserved success.
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NookiewookieRS More than 1 year ago
Don Felder pulls his heart, still beating, out of his chest and puts it on display for all in his tragic yet triumphant rock-and-tell autobiography. Well worth the read. Don, may I please have your autograph?