It was 43 years ago today (December 20th, 1975) that the Eagles announced the departure of co-founder and guitarist Bernie Leadon, and that former James Gang frontman Joe Walsh was officially replacing him. During Leadon's time with the Eagles he co-wrote a total of 11 songs, including the band's first Top Ten hit, 1972's "Witchy Woman." He played a pivotal role in developing the band's country-rock sound, but had tired of the group's non-stop grind of studio work followed by endless months of touring -- not to mention bandmates Don Henley and Glenn Frey's growing songwriting monopoly on the Eagles' albums.

Prior to joining the band, Leadon was the lead guitarist for the Flying Burrito Brothers alongside former Byrds Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke.

Today, Bernie Leadon has nothing but good feelings about his days with the band: "It's totally positive. Y'know, when I was in the band, it was a working band -- we were making an album a year, and touring a lot, and building the franchise. That was really fun to do, so it was like, y'know, doing a startup business."

Walsh's humor and incredible chops beefed up the band's sound tremendously, especially, when he and guitarist Don Felder performed intricate dueling guitar parts, on such classics as "Hotel California," and "Life In The Fast Lane," which Walsh co-wrote with Henley and Frey.

On the Eagles' 2013-2015 History Of The Eagles tour, Bernie Leadon was back on board performing as the band's special guest throughout the show.

AUDIO: EAGLES' JOE WALSH ON NEW GENERATION AUDIENCE FOR BAND
AUDIO: JOE WALSH SAYS HE'S HONORED TO BE A MEMBER OF THE EAGLES
AUDIO: BERNIE LEADON SAYS HE STILL HAS FOND MEMORIES OF HIS TIME IN THE EAGLES