There have been multiple columns in which I casually and almost jokingly made reference to the idea that The Eagles should play the Pepsi Grandstand at the Missouri State Fair, but rest assured that even though it is something of a running joke, I am completely serious.
You might not expect it from a local opinion columnist at age 25, but The Eagles are my favorite band, and you might not realize it but they are probably at or near the top of the list for a whole lot of other people, too.
The Recording Industry Association of America maintains a running number of albums that they’ve “certified” for each artist, which basically means they add up the number of albums they approved for production as the governing body of recorded music.
You might be able to guess which band is No. 1 on the list with 178 million certifications — yes, even Americans love The Beatles. I was shocked by No. 2 — Garth Brooks with 135 million. I mean, sure, even someone like me has to admit Brooks has a couple of songs that aren’t terrible, but the overall top American musician? Weird.
The King is No. 3, Led Zeppelin is No. 4 and coming in at No. 5 is The Eagles. Yes, they’re the top American rock band; Elvis is a solo act, even though he undoubtedly made his career partly on the backs of countless backup and session artists who probably didn’t and don’t receive the recognition they deserve.
And the Eagles started their career like many musicians in the industry, as someone else’s backup band, but they told Linda Ronstadt they were heading out on their own and with her blessing they went on a crazy journey in the Mojave Desert and came out with a band name.
They went on to be one of the top acts of the ’70s and one of the top American acts in recorded music in general — and their RIAA ranking is even more impressive when you consider they were broken up for nearly 14 years and were either making music as solo acts or not at all for most of the ‘80s.
But I don’t tirelessly suggest The Eagles just because of personal preference, but because I know that they’re the sort of act that people are going to turn out for. There are a number of bands that play bars, venues and events throughout mid-Missouri and many of them have been forced into a rotation of hits from the “Golden Age of Country” and classic rock favorites because that’s what the people want. The good time old-fashioned music crowd wants to hear those songs they know and those songs they used to party to.
And since the people like golden country and classic rock then you know they already love The Eagles because they’ve always created music that represents a smooth fusion of the best parts of country and rock music.
And I’m only writing this column because it seems like someone finally started listening — well, kind of.
Yes, this year at the Missouri State Fair at the Touchstone Energy Stage on Aug. 18-22 the Missouri State Fairgrounds will finally see the return of The Eagles … kind of. Keeping up the proud tribute band tradition of naming yourselves after one of the target band’s best known songs, “Hotel California” will be here. But if they were early enough to pounce on the obvious name and good enough to still be around they must be pretty good.
Even though I have occasionally had some reservations about tribute bands, you better believe I’m going to be there for as many performances as possible to help stimulate the idea that if even an incredible Eagles simulation can draw in the crowd, then the real deal would sell out in minutes.