The Eagles were formed in 1971 by guitarist/singer Glenn Frey, drummer/singer Don Henley, guitarist/singer Bernie Leadon, and bassist/singer Randy Meisner. The initial idea was Frey's; when signed to Asylum by David Geffen, he was advised to form a group - and he did. He had been hired by Linda Ronstadt and her manager John Boylan to get together a group to back Ronstadt on tour. With an eye towards his future band, he approached Henley to be her drummer. With Boylan's help, Frey was also able to interest Leadon and Meisner, two other members of her touring band. In 1971, they played together for the first time at Disneyland, backing Ronstadt. They gelled so well that before long, the four guys were in Geffen's offices with Leadon asking the fateful question: "Do you want us or don't you?"

Geffen signed them and hooked them up with famous producer Glyn Johns to record their first album Eagles (1972), which was done in London in less than three weeks. Johns guided them towards a country-rock sound that they would become famous for, producing the hits Take It Easy, Peaceful Easy Feeling, and Witchy Woman.