‘He played like a songwriter': The Eagles’ Don Felder on how George Harrison changed everything

Don Felder, the ex-Eagles guitarist, acknowledges a myriad of influences on his sound, from Elvis Presley and B.B. King to Eric Clapton. “Just as important,” he adds, “was the early Beatles stuff” — in particular, Felder says, George Harrison’s approach to the guitar on Meet the Beatles.

“He was a very sophisticated guitarist,” Felder tells Joe Bosso of Music Radar. “The lines he developed were melodic and so appropriate to the song. You can’t even think of the songs without imagining the solos and the little parts he played. And he did this without stepping on the vocals or taking you out of the tune. He kind of played like a songwriter.”

A decade after that big-bang moment for Felder, he would join the Eagles — helping to propel them to new heights into the late 1970s, from his distinctive guitar work on the title track of One of These Nights to co-writing the legendary title track for Hotel California. Felder, who stayed with the band through 2001, says he’d often have Harrison in mind when it came time to solo.

“I didn’t want to show off; I simply wanted to fill all the right holes and support the song,” Felder says. “With composition, you establish a melody, then you develop the melody, and then you recapitulate the original melody. That’s what George did: There was the song, and inside of it would be somewhat of a development — not quite the melody but George’s version of it — and then it would go back to the melody of the song.”

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