In the Eagles’ journey to rock stardom, Don Henley and Glenn Frey held the reins tightly, ensuring only the best of their creative outputs made it onto albums like “Hotel California”. Despite their rigorous standards, there exists a track that Henley, in particular, never warmed up to.
The creation of *On the Border*, following the less-than-stellar reception of “Desperado”, marked a period of transition for the band, including a change in producers due to tensions in the studio. This phase set the stage for the addition of Don Felder, whose arrival heralded a new era for the Eagles, culminating in significant hits on the album “One of These Nights”.
However, amidst the band’s evolving sound and growing success, Bernie Leadon’s commitment to a more traditional, roots-oriented rock was increasingly at odds with the group’s direction. Leadon’s insistence on including ‘I Wish You Peace’ in the album, a track he co-wrote with his then-girlfriend, highlighted this growing rift.
Despite the song’s inclusion, Henley later expressed his dissatisfaction, labeling it as not meeting the Eagles’ high standards and somewhat derisively referring to it as “smarmy cocktail music”.
The tensions didn’t end there. Leadon’s insistence on the song’s inclusion, coupled with his threat of physical violence to ensure its recording, underscored the internal conflicts within the band. Moreover, Leadon’s laid-back attitude, epitomized by his departure from a frustrating recording session to go surfing, further illustrated his growing detachment from the band’s ambitions.
Ultimately, Leadon’s departure and Joe Walsh’s entrance marked a pivotal shift for the Eagles, driving them towards the creation of “Hotel California”, an album that solidified their place in rock history. Despite the peaceful sentiment behind ‘I Wish You Peace’, its creation and Leadon’s subsequent exit from the band underscored a period of discord and transformation, proving that even in a group as harmonious as the Eagles, peace was sometimes hard to come by.