Don Felder facts: Eagles guitarist's age, wife, family and career explained

3 July 2024, 13:52 | Updated: 3 July 2024, 16:11

Don Felder in 1980
Don Felder in 1980. Picture: Getty

By Tom Owen

Don Felder is best known for his work with the Eagles, one of the most successful rock bands of all time.

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Born in Gainesville, Florida, Don Felder’s musical journey began with his first guitar at the age of 10. His passion for music led him to join the Eagles in 1974, where he played a key role in crafting their distinctive sound.

Felder co-wrote ‘Hotel California,’ one of rock’s most iconic songs, showcasing his exceptional talent. His guitar solos are legendary, captivating audiences worldwide. After parting ways with the Eagles in 2001, Felder embarked on a solo career, releasing albums that highlight his versatile musicianship.

Beyond his music, Felder also shared his experiences in his memoir, Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles.

  1. How old is Don Felder?

    Don Felder in 2024
    Don Felder in 2024. Picture: Getty

    Don Felder, born on September 21, 1947, is currently 76 years old as of 2023. He hails from Gainesville, Florida.

    His parents were Charles Nolan Felder and Doris Rebecca Felder. Felder’s father, Charles, worked as a mechanic, while his mother, Doris, was a homemaker.

  2. How did he get his start and when and how did he join the Eagles?

    L-R: Don Felder, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner
    L-R: Don Felder, Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner. Picture: Getty

    Don Felder’s musical journey started in Gainesville, Florida, where he formed his first band, the Continentals, in high school.

    His talent and dedication to music led him to play with various bands and artists, gradually building a reputation as a skilled guitarist.

    Felder’s path to joining the Eagles began in the early 1970s when he moved to Los Angeles. There, he became friends with Bernie Leadon, a founding member of the Eagles.

    This connection proved pivotal. In 1974, while working as a session musician, Felder was invited by Leadon to add slide guitar to the Eagles' track 'Good Day in Hell' for their album On the Border.

    Impressed by his performance, the band invited him to join as a full member shortly thereafter. He joined Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Leadon and Randy Meisner (Joe Walsh and Timothy B Schmit joined later).

    His addition brought a new, rockier edge to the Eagles' sound, contributing significantly to their subsequent success.

  3. Why did he leave the Eagles and what did he do next?

    Don Felder on Life After The Eagles | The Big Interview

    Don Felder left the Eagles in 2001 due to creative differences and internal conflicts within the band.

    Tensions had been brewing for years, particularly between Felder and the band's leaders, Don Henley and Glenn Frey. These disagreements culminated in Felder's dismissal, leading to a legal battle over his firing and the band's finances.

    After leaving the Eagles, Felder focused on his solo career. He released his first solo album, Airborne, in 1983, but it was his 2012 album, Road to Forever, that truly showcased his artistry post-Eagles. The album received positive reviews and highlighted Felder's enduring talent as a guitarist and songwriter.

    In addition to his solo work, Felder has been active in the music scene, performing live, collaborating with other artists, and sharing his experiences in his memoir, Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles.

  4. Is Don Felder married and does he have kids?

    Don Felder and former partner Diane McInerney in 2019
    Don Felder and former partner Diane McInerney in 2019. Picture: Getty

    Don Felder was married to Susan Felder for nearly 29 years before their divorce in 2000.

    Together, they have four children: Jesse, Cody, Leah, and Richard.

    In recent years, Felder has been in a relationship with real estate agent Diane McInerney. The couple got engaged in January 2020, although they later called off the engagement.