'Get Over It': Eagles have best-selling album, but does that make them best?
FARGO — Quick! When asked to name the biggest American rock band of all time, what's your answer? Van Halen? Aerosmith? Creedence Clearwater Revival? KISS? Metallica?
Dial it down and "Take it Easy."
In August, the Recording Industry Association of America revealed that the Eagles' first best-of package, "Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)," is the top-selling album of all time in America, moving more than 38 million copies.
All of the group's hits from the 1970s — and a few from after — will ring out at the Fargo Theatre on Saturday night, Oct. 13, when the Fabulous Armadillos and Collective Unconscious team up for a tribute to the group.
The timing is right as the August news was greeted with cheers from fans and jeers from detractors and kicked off another round of rock 'n' roll's other great debate, second only to Beatles or Stones?
So, if an album sells 38 million copies, what could people possibly complain about? Well, maybe there were too many hits.
"Like any band, if they get played too much, people get tired of them," says Bill Scherer, one of the singers in the central Minnesota-based Fabulous Armadillos. His tribute act joined forces with the album-oriented Collective Unconscious for this show, called "Takin' it to the Limit."
Scherer's comment comes from a place of love. He's a longtime fan of Eagles and "the biggest Eagles junkie in the bunch," referring to the show, which has been together for years.
Scherer says he'd like to mix in a lesser-known tune like "Ol' '55," but there are too many other numbers to play.
"You can't give up 'Lyin' Eyes,'" he says. "We used to do a song called 'Victim of Love' ... but it just didn't go over. So we dumped it. We were all kind of surprised because we wanted to do it ... People just want the hits."
And that may be part of the problem.
"It's just everywhere. It's a band that has so many hits, maybe it's a burnout to some," says Chad "Moose" Johnson, program director at Fargo's classic rock radio station 107.9 The Fox.
With more than 20 years spinning classic rock at the station, Johnson is well acquainted with the band's catalog. He says "Hotel California" is in the station's top 10 most-played hits and "Life in the Fast Lane" is in its top 25. Overall, the station has 26 songs by the group in rotation.
It may not be the amount of hits the group has, but where they get played that leads to disdain for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers.
While hits like "Already Gone," "James Dean" and "Get Over It" make them classic rock staples,
Johnson says that if Don Henley and Glenn Frey had come out now, they might be played more on country radio for their "unbelievable harmonies" and folksy sound on "Take it Easy," "Peaceful Easy Feeling" and "Seven Bridges Road." Similarly, songs like "Lyin' Eyes," "New Kid in Town" and "Desperado" land the group on soft rock and easy listening stations.
Michael Jackson may have been the King of Pop, but Eagles laid claim to wherever they landed.
"For those that don't like the Eagles, I'd have to guess it's a burnout factor because they cross over to so many formats," Johnson says.
Some contempt for the classic rockers may be directed at their California roots.
Shortly after Frey died in January 2016, Billboard magazine considered the love and hate for one of America's most popular bands. The piece quoted noted critic Robert Christgau, who called the group "a fantasy of fulfillment that has been made real only in the hip upper-middle-class suburbs" of California, and Wyndmere, N.D.,-bred social commentator (and former Forum writer) Chuck Klosterman's criticism that the group "effortlessly represented what people do not like about Malibu."
Another reason may come from closer to home, stemming from the group's fan base.
Scherer is a longtime fan of the band, but hasn't yet seen the group, in part because of conflicting schedules and in part because of ticket prices.
"The tickets got ridiculously priced. I don't have $400 to go see the Eagles," he says, referring to a Minneapolis show in June where tickets ranged from $94.50 to $344.50, before fees, though that was a double bill with Jimmy Buffett.
The last time the group played Fargo, in 2009, tickets ranged from $69 to $190, before fees.
"If your ticket prices are such that the people that got you there can't afford to see you, I don't think that's necessarily a good thing," he says. "But they can do it and get away with it."
If you go
What: The Fabulous Armadillos and Collective Unconscious: Tribute to the Eagles
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13
Where: Fargo Theatre, 314 Broadway N.
Info: Tickets are $34.50; https://jadepresents.com or 866-300-8300