Why not let Glyn tell the story himself.
“In November 1971, I was in Los Angeles and was contacted by David Geffen, who had just started Asylum Records. He had signed the Eagles and set about securing me as the producer for their first record. I agreed to go to Denver, Colorado, accompanied by John Hartmann from Elliot (Roberts) and David’s office to see them play.Glyn Johns, Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, The Faces… ©2014
The Eagles were at least playing a venue with a few paying members of the public along. They were not that impressive. They played a selection of covers. Chuck Berry rock and roll kind of thing. Bernie Leadon, a great country picker, on one side of the stage, and Glenn Frey, an average rock and roll guitar player on the other, with Don Henley and Randy Meisner being pulled in two directions in the middle. The sound was not that great, and I got no impression of the wonderful vocal harmony that they became famous for. All that, combined with a fairly bland, somewhat awkward stage presence convinced me that they were not worth pursuing, and I returned to London.”
The story continues with David Geffen pestering Johns to return to L.A. and see the band in rehearsal. He was not impressed until they took a break for lunch:
“As we were exiting the building someone said, ‘Hold on, before we go, let’s just play Glyn ‘Most of Us Are Sad,’ a ballad that Randy Meisner sang the lead on, with the others singing harmony. Bernie and Glenn grabbed a couple of acoustic guitars and they played the song without bass and drums, with all of us standing in a group near the door, and there it was. The harmony blend from heaven. It knocked me clean off my feet.”
“Most of Us Are Sad”
Written by Glenn Frey ~ Randy Meisner on Lead Vocals
First Studio Album ~ Eagles ~ Produced by Glyn Johns
Recorded at Olympic Studios, London
In 2015, the Green Bay Press-Gazette chose thirteen of the Eagles’ most enduring lyrics. “Most Of Us Are Sad” came in at number three. Read the full article here.
Randy gave the Eagles their unique sound as many of the musicians he was associated with felt.
“I don’t think Poco or the Eagles were the same without him.” ~ Rusty Young
“It would never have been the same band (Eagles) without him.” ~ J.D. Souther
“…a truly great high tenor with a natural sense of harmony.” ~ Rick Roberts
“I just couldn’t believe that anybody could look, sing, and play cool all at the same time.” ~ Glenn Frey
Even more important, is the fact that the song Randy sang lead on got the attention of Glyn Johns who would go on to produce the Eagles’ first album.
What happened to Glyn Johns and his partnership with the Eagles?
Johns would go on to produce the Eagles’ second studio album Desperado in 1973.
“I openly encouraged Bernie’s and Randy’s involvement in the process, as I could see signs of small cracks appearing while Don and Glenn forged ahead in their desire to control the destiny of the band, gently treading on the other two as they went. In any event, they were all so pleased after I had finally assembled and played it back as an entity for the first time that they carried me out of the control room on their shoulders in celebration.”Glyn Johns, Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, The Faces… ©2014
Then work began on their third album, On The Border, in 1973 also:
“So when we reconvened at Olympic in late September 1973 to start the third album, On the Border, there was already some discontent about me as the producer. Glenn Frey was increasingly frustrated by my not allowing drugs or alcohol in the studio, and Randy Meisner told me that he was unhappy with the sound I was getting. When I asked him to explain he told me that when he heard an Eagles song on a radio station with poor reception and interference with the signal, it did not sound very good. I thought he was joking, but he was deadly serious. That is a difficult one to deal with.”Glyn Johns, Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, The Faces… ©2014
Glyn looked back on his involvement with the Eagles and how they evolved by adding Don Felder and Joe Walsh in later years.
“I am really proud of the records we made together, and with no disrespect to the others and much admiration for what they have achieved, I still prefer the band as the original four-piece, but then I suppose I would. That harmony blend is as good as it gets.“Glyn Johns, Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, The Faces… ©2014
Glyn would consider the Eagles and their 1972 album Eagles as one of his top 6 productions. Read the article here.
Rock Classic ~ Glyn Johns: My top 6 productions, by Paul Lester, Published May 11, 2016
As far as we know, “Most of Us Are Sad” was only played live three times; at the Portland Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon on Aug. 6, 1972; at the Municipal Auditorium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sept. 30, 1972; and at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California on June 21, 1973.