Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
The "Tired old man that we elected king" is a reference to US president Ronald Reagan. There are a lot of political overtones in the song, as Henley strongly opposed Reagan's agenda.
The line about "Beating ploughshares into swords" is a distortion of Isaiah 2:4 in which Isaiah describes the end times: "And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
The inversion of the words most likely hints at the decline of the number of family farms and the increase in US military power in the '80s as a signal of the end times of innocence. (thanks, Kent - Pittsfield, IL)
Bruce Hornsby played piano on this and wrote this with Henley. Hornsby had a US #1 hit with "The Way It Is." (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL)
This was Henley's third solo album. He didn't release another for 11 years.
When the Eagles broke up in 1982, Joe Walsh and Glenn Frey also launched solo careers. They all did fairly well, but Henley was the most successful. The Eagles re-formed in 1994 for their Hell Freezes Over tour.
Bob Dylan often performed this on his 2002 US tour.
A talented lyricist, Philip helped revive Neil Sedaka's career with the words to "Laughter In The Rain" and "Bad Blood."
Kerry Livgren of Kansas
In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."
The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.
Dino Cazares of Fear Factory
The guitarist/songwriter explains how he came up with his signature sound, and deconstructs some classic Fear Factory songs.