Don Felder is renowned as a former lead guitarist of The Eagles, one of the most popular and influential rock groups of our time.
It’s easy to see why Felder garners such a level of respect. Not only is he a proud, longstanding member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, having been inducted with the Eagles back in 1998, he was also inaugurated into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville in 2016 and the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 2017. Fact is, Felder spent 27 years with the Eagles, who have sold over 150 million albums worldwide to date and own the fine distinction of recording the top-selling album of all time — Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975), which has sold over 38 million copies (and counting).
Who is Don Felder?
Don left the band in 2001 and has since forged an impressive career as a top-tier solo artist, having placed the hard-driving “Heavy Metal (Takin’ a Ride)” in the pole position of the same-named 1981 animated film (a song that remains one of the most requested staples of his live set to this very day), along with a pair of fully realized full-length albums, 1983’s sonically soaring Airborne and 2012’s multifaceted song-cycle treatise, Road to Forever.
Felder added “best-selling author” to his ever-impressive resume when his spellbinding 2008 memoir, Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001), became an instant New York Times bestselling smash.
“There’s still a lot of excitement about it,” he observes. “I still get all these posts about it on Facebook and Twitter, and there’s a huge grass-roots thing that goes on every time I play live. As many as 50 people come up to the front of the stage who have the book and want me to sign it at just about every show.”
His “Fingers” nickname is well-warranted, as anyone who has ever watched the man’s hands blaze across whatever guitar fretboard can readily attest — whether it be acoustic or electric, single-neck or double-neck. In fact, the inherent prowess of those dexterous digits helped Felder navigate the burgeoning rock scene in his native Gainesville, Florida, while he was growing up there in the 1960s. That formative time included a stint teaching guitar to a young sandy-haired Southern gentleman by the name of Tom Petty. “Who knew he would become such a rock music icon?” Felder muses. “I was so proud to see Tom become as popular and influential as he did.”
“Hotel California” has served Felder quite well over the years — as well it should.
“People love the music, the guitar solos, and the overall vibe that song has,” admits Don. “When I got up and played ‘Hotel California’ at the United Nations a few years back, everybody in the room knew the song and was singing along with it — even those heads of state and presidents who didn’t speak English! I got an enormous standing ovation for it. At that point, it dawned on me what a global impact that one song had. And now, by the time ‘Hotel’ appears at the end of the night in my live set, everybody is standing on their feet, ready to go and ready to receive that powerful electric energy.”