Boyd Elder, who became known as the Eagles’ artist, had his first art exhibition on April 2, 1972 in Venice, California. Some of the information provided in this post, such as quotes from the Eagles’ friends, artists and writers, state that this was the first time the ‘Eagles’ had played for anyone, and that they were unsigned. The calendar of events below indicates otherwise.

Sept. 12, 1971 ~ ‘The Eagles’ sign with Asylum Records
Fall 1971 ~ Westlake School for Girls in Los Angeles, California
Fall 1971 ~ The Gallery in Aspen, Colorado
Dec. 11-15, 1971 ~ Tulagi in Boulder, Colorado
Feb. 1972 ~ ‘Eagles’ album recorded in London
April 2, 1972 ~ Boyd Elder’s Art Show in Venice, California
April 20, 1972 ~ ‘Eagle’ opened for Joe Crocker at Spokane Coliseum, in Spokane, Washington
April 21, 1972 ~ ‘Eagle’ opened for Joe Crocker at Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon

It was Sunday, April 2, 1972 after 7:00 p.m. in Venice, California at Boyd Elder’s Art Show. Two months previous to this show, the Eagles had recorded their first album ‘Eagles’ at Olympic Studios in London, England with Glyn Johns producing.

A friend and fellow Chouinard classmate of Boyd Elder’s, Rick Griffin, created the poster. The folded poster was sent as the invitation to the art show. It is now very rare, especially if it is unfolded, and more so if it is also signed by Elder or Griffin, or both.

Photo: Rick Griffin with his ‘Chingadero Show’ poster in progress. San Clemente, early 1972.
This photo was taken by Boyd Elder (Boyd Elder Estate)
Excerpt from “Artlaw Boyd Elder’s ‘Chingadero’ Show, Venice, 4-2-72”,
by Stephen K. Peeples, October 31, 2021. ~ Read the full article here.

Elder friend and patron Gary Burden, the renowned art director, staged the opening reception on Easter Sunday, April 2, 1972, and invited a new group signed to Geffen’s Asylum label to play the show. It was their first performance in public as ‘Eagles’.

“Artlaw Boyd Elder’s Chingadero Show, Venice, 4-2-72,” by Stephen K. Peeples, October 31, 2001

Henry Diltz Remembers

(Originally aired on the BBC as ‘Hotel California – LA from the Byrds to the Eagles’)
‘The Eagles – A Unique Look At The Greatest Band Of All Time’ ~ Part 2

(Click to play)

Don Henley and David Geffen at Boyd Elder’s art show
Photo by Henry Diltz

Joni Mitchell Remembers

The following pictures are from:
Joni Mitchell: A Chronology of Appearances

(Note: This states that the Eagles were unsigned which is incorrect.
The Eagles signed with Asylum Records on September 12, 1971.)
See the pictures from the Image Gallery below.

Joni at Boyd Elder’s art show
Photo by Henry Diltz

Joni, Mama Cass, and David Geffen at Boyd Elder’s art show
Photo by Henry Diltz

Bernie Leadon and Ned Doheny jam at Boyd Elder’s art show as
Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, David Geffen, and friends sing along.
Photo by Henry Diltz

Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell at Boyd Elder’s art show

Smaller print under picture reads:

At an art gallery opening for Boyd Elder (a Texas artist who designed the decorated cow skull on the Eagles album cover), Joni Mitchell was talking to friends, including original Eagles’ member Bernie Leadon on the left. This party was the first time the ‘Eagles’ ever performed for anyone. The photos in the background were by John Van Hamersveld.

Jackson Browne (left) leads a singalong at Boyd Elder’s art show
with Joni Mitchell, Cass Elliot, David Geffen, Ned Doheny, and more.
Photo: Henry Diltz

Marc Eliot Writes

To warm up before the tour (‘Eagles’ 1972 album tour), the Eagles decided to play their new songs at a party being thrown for Boyd Elder, an Artist having a major gallery opening in Venice, California, for his ‘Chingadero’ (“The Ultimate Thing”) exhibit that spring. Elder was well-known on the L.A. music scene and a friend of the individual members of the Eagles from the Troubadour days. “I remember them standing over in the corner,” recalls one who was at the opening. “There was beer and broken glass all over the floor. Joni Mitchell was dancing barefoot, oblivious, Mama Cass was there, Geffen was there, Ned Doheny, Jackson Browne, Mark Volman from the Turtles, maybe a hundred people altogether, and the band off in the corner playing in public as the ‘Eagles’ for the first time. I just remember them real nervous, and playing ‘Witchy Woman’ over and over, as if it were the only song they felt confident playing live.”

To The Limit The Untold Story Of The Eagles, By Marc Eliot, Copyright 1998

The completed poster for Boyd Elder’s 1972 art show in Venice,
created by his friend and fellow artist, Rick Griffin.

Boyd Elder Remembers

In 1972, Elder put on a one-man show in Venice – El Chingadero. At the exhibition, a few of Elder’s friends played their first public show as the ‘Eagles’. They had six or seven songs,” Elder told Texas Monthly this year. “They played them all the way through, and when they got to the end, they played them again.”

Excerpt from Marfa Public Radio ~ ‘Valentine’s Boyd Elder Has Died At Age 74’ ~ Posted on October 7, 2018

About the man who would become
the Eagles’ Artist

Boyd Elder and painted turkey breast from Rick Griffin.
Photo: Randy Nauert

Elder and his wife lived in a converted water tank that they rented from
his mentor, Wiltz Harrison. This was once Harrison’s art studio.

Here Elder is serenading his daughter, Flaunn, inside the water tank in El Paso in early 1969. Joni Mitchell is Flaunn’s Godmother.
“(No) AMF, Boyd Elder: Texas ‘Artlaw’ Dead at 74”, by Stephen K. Peeples, October 30, 2018
Photo: John Van Hamersveld

Elder’s high school teachers encouraged him to apply for art school and shortly after graduating, the native Texan headed West to the Chouinard Art Institute in California to study painting and sculpture. While in school, Elder would often drive up to Sunset Boulevard and hang out at the famed Troubadour nightclub where he met musicians, painters, and writers, like David Crosby, Jackson Browne, and Joni Mitchell.

In 1972, Elder put on a one-man show in Venice – El Chingadero.

The following year, in 1973, some of the work that Elder had displayed at El Chingadero was lost to a fire at his Valentine studio. With no local fired department to respond, the old family garage, which had become Elder’s makeshift studio, burned completely. He was left with nothing.

But shortly after, Elder received two wild steer skulls, a bull and a cow. So, he painted them – pinstriped – just like he would to the hotrods he loved as a teenager. One of those skulls, he covered in a soft blue, adding reds and yellows, feathers and even wings. It became the album art for the Eagles 1975 album, ‘One of These Nights’.

“Valentine’s Boyd Elder Has Died At Age 74,” Marfa Public Radio, October 7, 2018:

Three of Elder’s ‘American Fetish’ pieces and his lettering
were featured on Eagles album covers:

‘One of These Nights’ (1975)
Read about the album artwork as well as the recording, touring,
and awards & mentions of the album here.

‘Eagles: Their Greatest Hits 1971 – 1975’ (1976)
[The best-selling album in U.S. history per the RIAA
at 38 million-plus and counting as of 2018.]
Read about the album here.

‘Eagles – The Very Best Of’ (2003)

Only a couple hundred copies of the poster were printed and mailed out as invitations. A precious few unfolded posters were instant collector’s items.

Elder says Frey owns the original photograph of the skull his band used for the ‘One of These Nights’ cover and (at the time) he refused to remove the actual skull from its place of honor mounted on a ten-penny nail driven into one of his walls.

‘Boyd Elder – Encounters of the Southwestern Kind, 1978’, by Stephen K. Peeples ~ September 22, 2017
(Click to enlarge)

In 1975, Constant Meijers of Dutch, Muziekkrant Oor, interviewed Glenn Frey and Don Henley in Glenn’s home on Kirkwood & Ridpath Drives in Laurel Canyon. Note the actual skull that is mounted on Glenn’s wall as is referenced in the article above this picture.

Note: Thank you to Stephen K. Peeples for his email regarding the location of the Westlake School for Girls.

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