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Bernie Leadon

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Leadon played with various Southern California bluegrass and country rock groups in the 1960s, such as The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers (with future Byrd Chris Hillman), Hearts & Flowers, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and Dillard & Clark, in the 1960s, featuring his work on dobro, banjo and mandolin, as well as guitar.

Introduced to the songwriting, singing and instrumental skills of Glenn Frey, Don Henley and Randy Meisner while all were members of Linda Ronstadt’s backing band, the quartet tendered their resignation en masse and formed their own group, dubbing themselves “the Eagles” as a nod to seminal folk rockers the Byrds in 1971. Leadon used his boyhood choir training to arrange intricate harmony vocals on the Eagles’ first few albums. He also wrote or co-wrote several songs, including the band’s second hit, “Witchy Woman.”

Between 1972 and 1975, Leadon rose to stardom with the Eagles indulging in the rock-star life along the way. He was also in a relationship with then-Governor Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis. Leadon left the band in December 1975, reportedly announcing his resignation by pouring a beer over Frey’s head.

Since then, Leadon has played with numerous other country and bluegrass artists, including a stint with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He is thought to be one of the members of Run C&W, a novelty group singing Motown hits “bluegrass style.” Leadon released his second solo effort in 27 years, 2004’s Mirror. Leadon is also known as a surfing enthusiast.

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