Souther, John David

While J.D. Souther may have made his biggest impact on the country-rock sound behind the scenes or in a supporting role to some of the bigger pop names of the '70s, he had an impressive and critically acclaimed series of solo albums that have unfortunately all but disappeared from music fans' radar. Born in Detroit, Souther was raised in Amarillo, Texas, which may help explain his stylistic roots in both country and rock music. He was in a band called John David & the Senders (also known as the Cinders) while in high school, and later relocated to Los Angeles. He worked as a session musician, meeting Glenn Frey and eventually renting a house with him; the two were signed to Amos Records and recorded an album under the name Longbranch Pennywhistle. 

Souther's connections with Frey would prove fruitful later when he collaborated on some of the Eagles' biggest hit songs like "Best of My Love," "Heartache Tonight," and "New Kid in Town." Previous to forming the Eagles, Frey had also played in Linda Ronstadt's band; their collaboration would lead to a long-term working partnership between Souther and Ronstadt. He produced her 1973 album Don't Cry Now and performed background vocals on it. Many of Ronstadt's albums would feature Souther's songs from then on, and he often performed as a vocalist on them as well. David Geffen encouraged Souther to form the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band with Chris Hillman and Richie Furay. The trio would record two albums before disbanding in 1975.