RIP Glenn Frey (1948 – 2016)
We are forever grateful for your contribution to music
If you know me personally or if you’ve read my blog recently you’ll know I’m a hugely into music. My parent’s influenced me a lot in my formative years, then as a teenager, my taste diverged.
One band that stuck with me from my parents, however, was the Eagles. Now I could rank the top 10 singles and we could argue for years over that. Or what I thought would be more fun is to discuss the top 10 Eagles songs (in my humble opinion) that weren’t singles.
Although I had some hard choices in ranking, some were obvious winners.
10. ‘The Disco Strangler’ – The Long Run (1979)
Writer(s): Don Henley. Glenn Frey. Don Felder.
Although this was released in 1979 I call ‘The Long Run’ their 80’s album. You cannot escape the groove of this track. Henley is my favourite vocalist in Eagles (actually he’s my favourite Eagle).
This song is an interesting take on the late 70’s dance club scene. Girls without a care possibly falling into the arms of the ‘Disco Strangler’. It might be a cautionary tale, or it might just be the music itself. Only the writers know.
9. ‘No More Walks In The Wood’ – The Long Road Out Of Eden (2007)
Writer(s): Don Henley. Steuart Smith. John Hollander.
Did you forget about their most recent album? Don’t worry it’s often overlooked but there are some really beautiful tracks on there. Especially as they branched out with their collaborations.
You need to appreciate the vocal capabilities of the Eagles. You have Henley, Frey, Walsh and Schmit. Absolute gold.
This song is an ode to nature while chastising humankind. It’s telling that the cover of the album is a desert. Layers upon layers of meaning are reflected in strata of harmonies that delight.
8. ‘Journey Of The Sorcerer’ – One of These Nights (1975)
Writer(s): Bernie Leadon.
Do you recognise this tune despite not being an Eagles lover? Well, you’re right. This beautiful instrumental written and performed by Bernie Leadon was the theme music for ‘The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy’ BBC radio show in 1978 & 1979.
The driving melody coupled with Leadon’s banjo is inescapably ethereal. As the only song on this list without vocals, I believe it holds it own. Leadon’s role feels underplayed in the band overall.
It’s very much of the time. The Eagles deliver this song as cohesively as any harmonised track of theirs. I miss the banjo. It needs its triumphant return.
7. ‘Take The Devil’ – Eagles (1972)
Writer(s): Randy Meisner.
Written by Meisner, sung by Meisner. This song was the reason Glyn John agreed to produce the album, as previously he thought the band was too rock for him. So in truth, Meisner saved this album.
I also had to give you a Meisner song. Although his favourite in our family is ‘Take it to the Limit,‘ if you give ‘Take the Devil’ a chance you’re sure to be surprised.
6. ‘On The Border’ – On The Border (1974)
Writer(s): Don Henley. Bernie Leadon. Glenn Frey.
Beautiful mixture of Henley vocals and harmonies from the rest.
Of course, the boys of the Eagles were always trying to stick it to the man, and they were not a fan of the nanny state. Pretty sure we have a red band if they cared about affiliations.
Plenty of metaphors mixed with outright statements. The slick guitar licks in the middle of the song remind me of the men in suits who want your hard earned cash.
“I thought this was a private line…I’m trying to change this water to wine.”
Their grandiosity never ends.
5. ‘Pretty Maids All In A Row’ – Hotel California (1976)
Writer(s): Joe Walsh. Joe Vitale.
Look every song on Hotel California is a masterpiece, but unlike Gods creatures, not all songs were created equal. This song, in particular, has stuck with me and often pops into my head. A welcomed earworm for sure.
‘Why do we give up our hearts to the past? And why must we grow up so fast?’
We also have to give Joe Walsh his due, for this one. The album is bursting with Henley / Frey goodness yet Walsh manages to match their bravado with this storybook and soaring vocals.
4. ‘Wasted Time’ – Hotel California (1976)
Writer(s): Don Henley. Glenn Frey.
Pure Henley and Frey magic. In my opinion, this song is the only challenger to Desperado in soulful honesty. Hotel California was one of my favourite albums growing up. How the songs made me feel evolved over time.
This song hurt me for quite a while after a bad breakup. All I could do was thank Henley’s voice for soothing me through it. There aren’t enough Eagles songs that featured piano as effectively as this one.
“You didn’t love the boy too much, no no you just, loved the boy too well.”
Ouch! Take a little time to enjoy what the base is doing if the lyrics are too painful.
3. ‘Midnight Flyer’ – On The Border (1974)
Writer(s): Paul Craft.
(This song is a cover but hear me out)
Not written by any of the Eagles but WOOOOOOEEEEEEEEEE what a fucking tune! Pardon my French.
It’s quick, it’s country, and it’s infectious. It was a perfect addition to the surly atmosphere of ‘On The Border’. Leadon’s banjo coupled with train whistle vocals is enough to turn anyone into a country fan.
Drive that beat home boys!
2. ‘Doolin’ Dalton’ – Desperado (1973)
Writer(s): Don Henley. Glenn Frey. J.D Souther. Jackson Browne.
Jackson Browne’s involvement with the Eagles is underrated. Fight me on this.
The boys wrote the album ‘Desperado’ while jamming with Browne. He had recently read a book about gunfighters. This is how ‘Doolin-Dalton‘ was born.
Although it appears as though they are glorifying anti-heroes, the underlying message was the harshness of life in the West.
‘Red-eyed whiskey for the pain.’
I’m with you there boys.
1. Those Shoes – The Long Run (1979)
Writer(s): Don Henley. Glenn Frey. Don Felder.
This was an easy number 1 for me. Pretty much any song with Henley’s vocals are a winner.
Henley’s vocals coupled with dirty strings. This song is just plain filthy and I love it. You can actually smell the clubs in this song. Everyone imagines their own version of ‘those shoes’ with the ankle straps.
‘But you’re so smooth and the world’s so rough.’
‘They give you tablets of love.’
When you’re young and desperate for attention, ‘those shoes’ will get it for you.
The ringing guitars and the frightful drums are oppressive. The song ends so suddenly you might want to hold onto something lest you fall.
Hope you enjoyed this list. Tell me about your favourite Eagles song in the comments below
Also here is a playlist I made on Spotify:
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