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The Long Run by Eagles

Album: The Long RunReleased: 1979Charted:
  • Written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley, this song is about making a relationship last. "Slow and Steady" isn't a popular theme for rock lyrics, but the Eagles had finally decided to ignore the pressure to top their landmark Hotel California album and be satisfied with a solid effort. In our interview with Don Felder, he said: "When you try to match yourself, it gets harder and harder the more successful you are. So we got to a point where we realized we've got to just wrap this up and end it here and get out of the studio and get on the road. There were a lot of arguments and dissension and contentious arguments about songs and schedules. It was really not heading in the right direction."
  • The Long Run was the last album the Eagles released before they broke up. Their previous album, Hotel California, was released in 1976 and was a huge hit. The Eagles' record company anxiously waited for the next one. And waited. They even offered the band a million dollar bonus if they completed the album in time for Christmas, 1978. It was finally released in September 1979.
  • The Eagles have introduced this in concert as a tribute to the Memphis sound. The music critic Dave Marsh accused the group of lifting parts of a song by the Soul singer Otis Clay called "Trying To Live My Life Without You" on the track.
  • Joe Walsh played lead guitar on this one, and Don Felder played the organ.
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Comments: 16

It was usually Frey who wrote lyrics to an already-established title, but this time it was Henley. The Eagles had already made "The Long Run" the title of the album they were working on and Henley decided they needed a title track. All of their previous albums (except for their debut album "The Eagles") had a title track.Ken - Louisville, Ky
In their live shows in the 1990's and 2000's, during the line "You know I don't understand why you don't treat yourself better, do the crazy things that you do", Henley (who no longer plays drums on this song) has his arm around Joe Walsh and looks at him solemnly, while Joe has a quizzical look on his face. It's a bit of an act they came up with that almost always gets a laugh out of the audience. Although now clean and sober for many years, Walsh's reputation as one of the hardest partiers in rock during the 1970's is well known.Ken - Louisville, Ky
It's generally believed that while songwriting credits go to Frey/Henley, it was really Henley who wrote this song. Frey had ceded creative control by this time, or had been forced to... The "debutante in Houston" line, I believe, references Frey's marriage to a Texas debutante. "Did you do it for love, did you do it for money, did you do it for spite, did you think you had to, honey?" is Henley talking to Frey, not so nicely. At this point, both men acknowledge there was jealousy and competitive rivalries between them. "Who can go the distance, we'll find out in the long run." Wow.Kelly - Santa Barbara, Ca
Walsh was a full member of the Eagles in 1976 - when they recorded Hotel California. They (Frey and Henley) brought in Walsh and Felder to "harden" their sound - in place of Bernie Leadon - who was far more comfortable with the country side of the band. The deal with "In the City" was basically that Walsh, Felder and newest Eagle - Timothy B Schmidt would each get 1 song on The Long Run - Schmidt's was "I Can't Tell You Why" Walsh's was "In the City" and I believe that "Disco Strangler" and 1 other "Those Shoes" - were co-written by Felder.Dave - Minneapolis, Mn
"Did you do it for love, did you do it for money? Did you do it for spite, did you think you had to, honey? Who is gonna make it, we'll find out, in the Long Run. " - oh my God, amazing lyrics. Its surprising they still broke up after understanding all this.Mayank - Ranchi, India
Don Henley dated a girl from Houston. We all knew her and some of her friends even spoke to Don when he would call her from on the road. She also had pictures of them together. This song is clearly about herBeverly - Houston, Tx
I always thought this song was Henley's shout out to Frey disguised as a guy-girl song: "I don't understand why you don't treat yourself better/do the crazy things that you do". That was Frey during the 1970's. Henley's reference to a "Houston debutante" was an artisc way of saying "prima donna" which native Texan Henley would have known about. And Frey was certainly a prima donna in those days.Ken - Louisville, Ky
That line "Those debutants in Houston couldn't hold a candle to you" always made me smile because shortly before this song came out, the National Organization for Women (NOW) held some big rally/demonstration/sit-in/protest or something in Houston.Paul - Marysville, Wa
Johnnny - About In The City: The Eagles didn't give that to Joe to attract him to the band. The Warriors soundtrack came out before The Long Run. It was a Joe Walsh solo song first, then he brought it to The Eagles.Mborz - Midwest, Oh
Clarification to my previous comment to Johnny and Pete: By "this song" I meant "In The City", not "The Long Run".Joshua - La Crosse, Wi
Johnny and Pete: There are actually two different versions of this song: the Eagles version on the album, and the Joe Walsh solo version from the movie. The differences between the two are subtle, but they are there. The biggest difference is the sound effect of (what I take to be) a subway train screeching to a stop at the beginning of the Walsh movie version.Joshua - La Crosse, Wi
How could this be about Glenn and Don? It sounds more like a guy/girl song. Weird.Mary - Phoenix, Az
I completely agree, Clay.On this album,there is the song "In The City" with Joe Walsh on vocals.In a movie called "The Warriors" they credit this song as a Walsh solo tune.
- Pete, Carbondale, PA
Why give Walsh the credit. I guess they gave it to him to attract him into the band completely.
Johnny - Los Angeles, Ca
On this album,there is the song "In The City" with Joe Walsh on vocals.In a movie called "The Warriors" they credit this song as a Walsh solo tune.Pete - Carbondale, Pa
This song is nearly identical musically to another song that came out at the same time, "Trying to Live My Life Without You" by Bob Seger. Both were homages to the Memphis horn sound.Rob - Santa Monica, Ca
This was used to open their Farewell I Tour. It was a very touching indication of the 33 year relationship between Glen Frey and Don Henley. They both still look young for their age and even if their voices aren't quite as powerful, they add more with their experience than they had in their youth. The band has amazing chemistry, experience, and unheard of musical talent. If indeed they do finally call it quits at the end of this tour, they'll still be going out in their musical prime. Their age and experience makes them capable of such moving vocal harmonies such as "Hole in the World" but at the same time Frey, Walsh, and Steuart Smith (Don Felder's replacement) can still lay down amazing rhythm and absolutely dazzling lead guitar. Seeing the three of them joined by Don Henley ALL playing white Telecasters on "Boys of Summer" gave me chills. This is a band of really talented and committed musicians who love their job despite all the struggles they faced in the past decades.Clay - Chattanooga, Tn
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