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Pretty Maids All In A Row by Eagles

Album: Hotel CaliforniaReleased: 1976
  • Hotel California was the first Eagles album Joe Walsh played on. He helped write this song and "Life In The Fast Lane" for the album. "Pretty Maids All In A Row" features Walsh on piano and synthesiser rather than guitar, and was not typical of the Eagles sound. In a 1981 interview with the BBC, Walsh explained: "To make the Eagles really valid as a band, it was important that we co-write things and share things. 'Pretty Maids' is kind of a melancholy reflection on my life so far, and I think we tried to represent it as a statement that would be valid for people from our generation on life so far. Heroes, they come and go... Henley and Frey really thought that it was a good song, and meaningful, and helped me a lot in putting it together. I think the best thing to say is that it's a kind of melancholy observation on life that we hoped would be a valid statement for people from our generation." (This interview is available at Rock's Backpages.)
  • Walsh wrote this with Joe Vitale, who was his bandmate in a group called Barnstorm. After Walsh joined the Eagles, Vitale contributed to the group as a member of their touring band.
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Comments: 4

Got to believe the song speaks of two lost friends reuniting. The second has not stayed in touch as he has become rich and isolated. Song goes on to say what they thought and who they thought was important to them wasn't true. The "heroes" they once knew have "left them behind". Then song speaks to those who have chased fortunes only to be devoid of friendships. Finally the rich pass on, only to have few friends just "pretty maids" lined up to pay their final goodbyes. Gone are the "ribbons and bows", gone are all the close friends, only servants and maids remain. Life goes on for the living. The song challenges the pursuit of fortune at the expense of continuing friendships. Sad statement many will realize only when it's too late.Bob Stwalley - Las Animas, Co
July 2014,

Example of how versatile the Eagles can be. It also gives me a LITTLE (very little) sympathy for Feder's complaint about not being utilized (as lead singer for songs), for Walsh has a few nuggets like this. But Walsh also had his own career as a lead singer before he joined the Eagles.

Also, great story DT in FL. You keep listening to the Eagles, you guys will be married forever:)
Markantney - Biloxi, Ms
Some 32 years I listened to the Hotel California album in the early afternoon on the day I was to be married. I was completely hungover from the rehearsal dinner and then the subsequent bachelor party at strip club. So I grilled a steak as the condemned mans final meal, drank a beer, smoked a joint and tried to get some perspective of where I was in life and maybe where I was headed. HC was the perfect album and every time I hear this song I remember that moment, about 4 hours from being married, scared shootless. Walsh's comment about it being a melancholy observation on life so far is perfect. As a PS,we've had our share of ups and downs but still married and in love with the lady.Dt - Gulf Breeze, Fl
This is my favorite Eagles song, and I especially like the live version from Hell Freezes Over. I'm not a huge Joe Walsh fan, so go figure. A beautiful song both musically and lyrically.Christopher - Rockwall, Tx