The Eagles End “The Long Run!”
After almost a decade in the music business, a phenomenal band called it quits – torn apart by feuding band members after creating a decade of incredible music.
The Eagles formed in 1971, and over the course of that decade, they released six albums that are as popular today as when they were released. Their final album came at the very end of 1979, when the band called it quits.
Time to celebrate the end of their 70’s musical output with “The Long Run!”
“The Long Run” was the sixth album by the band. It was the first Eagles album with Timothy B. Schmit, who had replaced founding member Randy Meisner, who left the band after “Hotel California”.
Here’s how the great website UltimateClassicRock.com describes that time in the band’s history:
“The Eagles scored a career-defining smash with 1976’s Hotel California – and then spent the better part of the next three years trying to figure out how to follow it.
“I suppose we’d eventually finish some songs if we didn’t have the pressure, but up to now it’s been that way,” Don Henley admitted in a 1977 interview. “I remember an interview I read a long time ago where [John] Lennon and [Paul] McCartney said that the only way they ever finished anything was to have a deadline, some kind of pressure.”
The Pressures Of Success…
The article goes on to quote Glenn Frey on the pressure in the band at the time.
“There was so much pressure that Don and I didn’t have time to enjoy our friendship,” he remembered. “We always had to worry about doing this or living up to that. We could talk about girls or football for a while, but it wouldn’t be long before we’d remember that we had to make a decision about this – or that we had to get another song written for the next album.”
You can read more from this great article – “36 Years Ago: The Eagles Grind to a Halt with ‘The Long Run'” here:
The history of the Eagles includes a number of personnel changes…even the mega-success of “Hotel Califormia” didn’t stop the changes within the band…after that album, founding member Randy Meisner quit, and Timothy B. Schmidt joined the group.
Let’s look at the great music on the album.
Side One Of “The Long Run”:
The album begins with the title track, written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, a mid-tempo love song that could also be written about the band at the time.
Well, we’re scared, but we ain’t shakin’
Kinda bent, but we ain’t breakin’
in the long run…
Here is a video of the band recording the song in the studio:
“I Can’t Tell You Why” is next – written by Henley, Frey, and new member Timothy B. Schmit, who handles the vocals.
This was a huge hit, and one of the band’s most popular ballads.
Here is the video on Dailymotion:
“In the City” is next. This great rocker was written by Barry De Vorzon and Joe Walsh, who performs lead vocals.
This song was used in the film “The Warriors” that same year.
Here is the band performing it live in 2010, captured by a fan:
Next up is “The Disco Strangler”, written by Don Felder, along with Henley and Frey.
“He’s been around here all along, baby,
Been waiting for his time to come.
You lookin’ for attention, darlin’
He will surely give you some
He’s the crimson in your face du jour,
the fiddler in your darkest night.
He’s the melody without a cure and
Rome is burning, but that’s all right.
Just slip into the arms of the disco strangler…”
Here is an audio-only clip…
Next up is one of those classic Henley and Frey compositions, looking at the decay and rot of Hollywood…
“King of Hollywood” slowly fades in with a tight guitar intro, smooth and silky, then goes into a dark dark tale of a Hollywood Tycoon who uses his position to have anyone he wants…
“We gon’ get you an apartment, honey.
We gon’ get you a car.
(spoken) Yeah, we’re gonna take care of you, darlin’.
We gon’ make you a movie star.
For years I’ve seen ’em come and go.”
He says, “I’ve had ’em all, ‘ya know.
I handled everything in my own way.
I made ’em what they are today.”
This is great storytelling about the decay of Hollywood. Here is an audio only version:
I posted a story about this song and the impact it still has in #MeToo Hollywood – you can read it here:
Back to the album…
Side two of “The Long Run” kicks off with another hit single:
“Heartache Tonight” is a fun, upbeat rocker written by Henley and Frey along with their friends Bob Seger and J. D. Souther.
There is a great anecdote on the “History Of The Eagles” documentary where their songwriting friend Andrew Gold says he had a song with handicapping on it, played it for Henley, and then those same claps showed up on “Heartache.”
Here’s a great live version of the song that I found on youtube:
“Those Shoes” by Felder, Henley and Frey is up next – another indictment of Hollywood hustlers.
“You just want someone to talk to
They just wanna get their hands on you
You get whatever you choose
Oh, no, you can’t do that,
Once you started wearin’ those shoes.”
Don Felder and Joe Walsh did a double talk-box guitar solo at the end, one of the earliest times it was used.
“Teenage Jail” by Henley, Frey and J. D. Souther is next.
“Stare out the window,
You can’t make the time go
You don’t even know why you’re here
Wait for the weekend to go off the deep end
and make everything disappear
You’re lost in a teenage jail…”
The Eagles have some fun with the raucous “The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks”, written by Henley and Frey, with backing vocals by Jimmy Buffett and “The Monstertones”!
Here is an audio only clip of this party song:
The album ends with “The Sad Café” – written by Henley, Frey, Walsh and Souther, a reflective piece about time fading away…
“Maybe the time has drawn the faces I recall
But things in this life change very slowly,
if they ever change at all
no use in asking why,
it just turned out that way
So meet me at midnight baby
inside the Sad Cafe.
Why don’t you meet me at midnight, babe,
inside the Sad Cafe.”
The album ends on this reflective note, with gorgeous Eagles harmonies…
No videos exist for this one, but a beautiful wrap-up to the band’s 70’s music…
Here’s an interesting piece of trivia: the original vinyl record pressings of “The Long Run” had short pieces of text engraved in the run-out groove of each side, something the band started doing with “One Of These Nights”. Here is what each one said:
Side one: “Never let your monster lay down”
Side two: “From the Polack who sailed north”
Since I own the original album, here is an attempt to get a picture of those:
You can make out “Never let your monster lay down” a bit…but it is cut into the black vinyl, so hard to capture…
“The Long Run” had three Top 10 singles: “Heartache Tonight”, the album’s title cut, and “I Can’t Tell You Why”.
The band also won a Grammy Award for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1980 for “Heartache Tonight”.
For the Eagles, their run lasted for six albums – and it was a ride that included many changes behind-the-scenes.
Here are the stories I have posted about each album:
The first album was full of country rock and made Winslow, Arizona iconic forever…here is the whole story:
The followup album was also terrific, but it was a commercial disappointment…here is a look at “Desperado”:
For the third album, “On The Border”, their original Producer Gynn Johns was fired, and Guitarist Don Felder joined the group. Here are some great live performances of some of the songs:
After their next smash hit album “One Of These Nights”, founding member Bernie Leadon left the band. Here is a look at that conflict within the band – even as they released their biggest hit album ever:
Joe Walsh joins the band and they release their masterpiece – here are the stories behind the making of “Hotel California”:
The Eagles wouldn’t release new music for two decades, when they re-formed for a live album titled, with tongue firmly in cheek, “Hell Freezes Over.”
But the biggest news for fans was the ultimate release of a new double album called “Long Road Out Of Eden”. Here is a look at that great return to form:
The band also released a 4+hour documentary about The Eagles, with candid interviews and tons of great footage from the 70’s…and a very candid look at the frictions within the band at the time of the release of “The Long Run”…
That led to their “History Of The Eagles” tour, which I saw in Chicago. Here is a look at that incredible concert:
It was a “Long Run” indeed….