“One Of These Nights!” The Eagles Hit #1 – And Then Meltdown!
You know the lyrics – EVERYONE knows these lyrics!
One of these nights
One of these crazy old nights
We’re gonna find out
What turns on your lights
The full moon is calling
The fever is high
And the wicked wind whispers
You got your demons
You got desires
Well, I got a few of my own
One of rock’s catchiest songs…and “demons” and “desires” were tearing at the band!
The Meltdown Around The #1 Eagles Album “One Of These Nights!”
Coming off their first #1 hit single the previous year, The Eagles were poised to soar…they did, but that didn’t keep the band from melting down anyway! Here is the behind-the-scenes story of their brilliant, fractured album “One Of These Nights!”
From Blue Jeans To Three Piece!
See the image above? Those were The Eagles after the release of “On The Border”, which included their first ever #1 single “Best Of My Love”…blue jeans and laid back…now look at this image:
Perhaps this portrait shows how the band had dramatically changed…this is the back cover of their next album, “One Of These Nights” – they went from slackers to a band that was polished, refined, dressed sharp for success…it was bound to bring the fractured relationship behind the scenes to a head…let’s take a look!
“One of These Nights” was the band’s fourth album, released in 1975. The record’s title song became the group’s second No. 1 single – The Eagles were on a roll.
The band was coming off their first #1 single – “Best Of My Love” from the breakout album, “On The Border” – an upbeat, aggressive and sometimes caustic album full of great songs….you can see more here:
Don Felder had joined the group during the recording of “Border” to add more aggressive guitar to the band’s sound. Coming off that album’s success, the group put together another collection of hit singles, including the title track – which quickly became their next #1 hit!
Let’s celebrate with a live version of “One Of These Nights”, a song that captures everything that made the band so great: catchy hooks, incredible harmonies, and terrific lyrics.
Here is a live version from 1977:
The title track includes one of the best falsetto sections with Randy Meisner, who performs similar duties on “Take It To The Limit”. But as Glenn Frey and Don Henley state on the excellent Eagles documentary “The History Of The Eagles”, Meisner began to push back on performing some of these songs, and it alienated him from the powerful duo.
Glenn Frey and Don Henley wrote four of the nine songs by themselves, and they also collaborated with other members of the band on three other songs. Most of these were written while Frey and Henley were sharing a house in Beverly Hills, including “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes”, “Take It To The Limit” and “After The Thrill Is Gone” – all big smash hits for the band – the duo were on a creative tear!
Some Great Don Henley Quotes!
Discussing the album with Writer Cameron Crowe at the time, Don Henley called the album their “satanic country-rock period” because:
“It was a dark time, both politically and musically” in America. Henley was referencing the Watergate scandal AND disco! He added:
“We thought, “Well, how can we write something with that flavor, with that kind of beat, and still have the dangerous guitars?” We wanted to capture the spirit of the times.”
Here is another of the album’s smash hits, “Take It To The Limit”:
The song includes a beautiful falsetto by Randy Meisner, but his reluctance to sing these songs live was causing a big rift between him and the band.
“The History Of The Eagles” is a fantastic documentary, honestly and candidly recounting all of this strife…you can read more here:
And Meisner wasn’t the only band member having issues with Henley and Frey.
Bernie Leadon also alienated himself from them with his two songs: the psychedelic “Flight Of The Sorcerer” and his love song, written with Patti Davis, the daughter of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.
“I Wish You Peace” is a beautiful song, but Henley HATED it, and hated that Davis was part of it.
The band was in meltdown.
As you can see from the image on the album’s back cover, this was a more polished Eagles band…and side two led off with one of the band’s greatest stories ever…
“You Can’t Hide Your ‘Lyin’ Eyes’!”
“Lyin’ Eyes” was another big hit for the band, and a classic slice of Eagles storytelling…a young woman married to a rich older man – and the illicit affair that Henley and Frey saw at a restaurant!
There is a great story about how the duo wrote the song after imagining that a beautiful young woman in a bar where they were eating had “Lyin’ Eyes”…you can read the whole story here:
“After The Thrill Is Gone” is another Henley/Frey hit…with lyrics that could have spoken directly to the tension in the band…
They weren’t the only band members with a caustic pen…
“I wish you peace when the cold winds blow “
Bernie Leadon may have been writing the same thing, and his ballad “I Wish You Peace” wasn’t written with Henley or Frey – he wrote it with Patti Davis, the daughter of Republican then-Governor of California Ronald Reagan!
Here is how Henley later described the song:
“smarmy cocktail music and certainly not something the Eagles are proud of”.
Henley was also annoyed that Davis received cowriting credit, and told a reporter:
“Nobody else wanted [the song]. We didn’t feel it was up to the band’s standards, but we put it on anyway as a gesture to keep the band together.”
Here is the audio of the song, which is much more beautiful than the other band members were willing to give it credit for:
According to wikipedia, Frey said that “One Of These Nights was the most fluid and “painless” album [they] ever made”. He may have been referencing his work with Henley, which was superlative.
However, Leadon wrote three of the nine songs on the album, and none of them were hit singles. He was openly unhappy with the direction the band was taking. Leadon’s country-influenced music didn’t fit the more rock-focused direction of Henley and Frey…
The “Direction” Was Toward The Top Of The Charts!
Even with Leadon unhappy about the band’s direction, the album was a smash hit! There were three Top 10 singles, and the album was the band’s first #1 album!
“One Of These Nights” was nominated for Album of the Year, “Lyin’ Eyes” was nominated for Record of the Year, and the band won for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals!
“One of These Nights” turned out to be Leadon’s swan song. He left the group, replaced by one of rock’s wild men, Joe Walsh!
The Eagles Have A New Look!
“Life’s Been Good” for Joe Walsh, whose manic personality and on-stage electricity brought even more energy to the band, and what lay ahead would change rock music forever – but that’s the next chapter in the story…
Let me know what you think!