Bernie Leadon said the Eagles were so determined to succeed that they sketched out how to deliver concerts no matter what was happening within the band.

He and Don Henley looked back on the band’s early days in a recent interview with Uncut, marking 50 years since the release of their self-titled debut album in February 1972.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What [is] our M.O.? What are we doing here?’” Leadon recalled. “We wanted it all. Why not? We wanted artistic success, the approval of our peers, commercial success and to be well paid. We had what we called the L.C.D. Show – Lowest Common Denominator. We rehearsed so that if two guys have flu and two of the others aren’t speaking, most of the audience wouldn’t know. I came to look at bands as entrepreneurial, young businesses. Consistency and discipline is a lot of how we succeeded.”

Henley argued that they “weren’t perfectionists. We did strive for excellence, and that’s two different things. We just tried to make that Eagles record good.” He added that his approach was: “I just want to do the best I can do.”

The experience of recording Eagles in London with producer Glyn Johns was no easy task: Not only was the band out of its California comfort zone in sub-zero temperatures, there was also an industrial dispute in Britain that meant the electricity supply was cut off on frequent occasions.

“We’re really close to getting this one cut – ‘Just one more, come on guys!,’” Leadon said. “We get it, the final note is struck, and right as that ring-out decayed into nothing, the power went off. The machines all stopped. We went into the control room, because the talkback had cut out. … Glyn Johns said, ‘Well, we’ll just have to listen to it tomorrow.’”

Henley described living in the U.K. at the time as a “huge culture shock,” lamenting their difficulty in “trying to find Mexican food in London … and the burgers were horrible!”

Eagles Albums Ranked

The Eagles have been rightly praised for their canny combining of Glenn Frey’s city-slicker R&B with Don Henley’s country-fried rockabilly. 

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