Browse by Title
A B C D E F G
H I J K L M N
O P Q R S T U
V W X Y Z #  




Desperado

by

Eagles



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

On the surface, this song is about a cowboy who refuses to fall in love, but it could also be about a young man who discovers guitars, joins a band, pays his dues and suffers for his art. The stress of being a Rock Star is a recurring theme in Eagles music (e.g. "Life In The Fast Lane"). The overall theme is how you must suffer for your art. (thanks, Randy - Beaumont, TX)
Don Henley began writing parts of this in the late '60s, but it wasn't arranged into a song until his songwriting teammate Glenn Frey came along. It was the first of many songs Henley and Frey wrote together.
Henley explained in the liner notes for The Very Best of the Eagles: "Glenn came over to write one day, and I showed him this unfinished tune that I had been holding for so many years. I said, 'When I play it and sing it, I think of Ray Charles - Ray Charles and Stephen Foster. It's really a Southern gothic thing, but we can easily make it more Western.' Glenn leapt right on it - filled in the blanks and brought structure. And that was the beginning of our songwriting partnership - that's when we became a team."
The album had an Old West theme. It was inspired by The Dalton Gang, a notorious group of outlaws. The Eagles recorded it in the very cosmopolitan setting of Island Studios in the Notting Hill section of London with the British producer Glyn Johns, but they went Western for the tour, making their set look like Deadwood.
Bon Jovi drew similar parallels between the life of a cowboy and that of a Rock Star on their 1986 song "Wanted Dead Or Alive."
Guitarist Randy Meisner claims that he came up with the guitar intro, but was not given songwriter credit, meaning he does not get royalties from it. The allocation of songwriting credits was one of many issues that caused turmoil within the band.
The director Sam Peckinpah, who made many popular Westerns, including The Wild Bunch and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, was at one time interested in making a film about the Doolin-Dalton gang based on the Desperado album. The project never came to fruition.
This was featured in a episode of Seinfeld where Elaine goes out with a guy who won't let her speak when it is playing.
This is a Classic Rock staple, but it was never released as a single. Holding it back from single release helped goose sales of the album, and also the various compilations it would later appear on.
This has been covered by Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Rogers, the Carpenters, Bonnie Raitt and Ringo Starr, among others. The Eagles started at Ronstadt's backup band.
The Eagles included this on their album Greatest Hits 1971-1975, which, mostly because of catalog sales, is the best selling album of all time. This song is a big reason for its success. Since it was never released as a single, it provided a lesser-known track that fit in very well. The Eagles' "Outlaw Man," which was released as a single, was left off the Greatest Hits album.
In 2004, Linda Ronstadt caused a stir when she dedicated this song to the filmmaker Michael Moore during a performance at the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas. Moore had a movie out called Fahrenheit 9/11, which made US president George Bush look very bad. Ronstadt said Moore "Loves his country deeply, and he's trying to get the truth out." This didn't go over well with the casino's president, who made her leave immediately. It's unclear what happened when Ronstadt performed the song, but stories circulated that patrons got upset and booed the singer. She had been dedicating the song to Moore throughout her tour without incident.
Eagles
Eagles Artistfacts
More Eagles songs
More songs covered by Linda Ronstadt
More songs used in TV shows
More songs with a cowboy theme
More songs covered by The Carpenters
More songs that reference playing cards or card games

Comments (91):

Listening to this song during my mutinous times reminds me to once again let Jesus love me so I can love others -- and myself. Thankful for the haunting and honest words (written by Henley & Frey).
- Bill, New York, NY
"Desperado" was never released by the Eagles as a single. It was only the title track for their second album and got very little airplay on FM stations (that played non single album tracks). Then their friend and original benefactor Linda Ronstadt decided to perform her version of it during the concert part of the movie "FM" in 1978. It became a big hit for her and revived interest in the Eagles' original version. Don Henley has said that he much prefers her vocals on this song than his own.
- Ken, Louisville, KY
"Desperado" is an excellent album. Not sure why this cut became the Eagles standard final song at their concerts [at least it used to be]
- DT, Gulf Breeze, FL
Beautiful song. One of the Eagles' greatest. One of my favorite songs of all time.
- Mike, Columbus, OH
The singer feels like "Desperado" is at a place in his life where he will receive the message of this song. He hasn't given up on "Desperado", which is actually the bright spot here. There's a reason for the gentleness in the delivery of the lyrics. "Desperado" is possibly at a turning point in his life where some well-meaning, well-timed words might finally open him up to change. No sense beating him over the head about it. Many have made the same mistake. I love the lyric "Desperado, oh, you ain't gettin' no younger" for all the reasons it implies.
- Camille, Toronto, OH
11 years ago, I had married a woman named "F" and make a family life, has 2 children. My wife "F" loved me, but I don't love her, but I continued to live my life with her because a sense of moral responsibility for my child. Faithfully "F" still waiting for me and keep her loved to me, and not just a sense of responsibility, there is also make me pity her, I decided to leave her but never divorce her.
Until one day, I found a woman named "A" is very special, and decided to marry her, after eight years together, the trials began to appear and make my wife "A" asks for a divorce with me, where I was, even to this day I still love her, because I felt she most appropriate person to accompany me, till my death for me later.

To me, "A" so complete with everything I want from a woman. But because my inability to make it go away.
Now I return to the previous family with "F", although my wife "F" still loves me like it used to, but because there is no love in it, I keep sad, brooding and tortured myself with all the shadows "A"
And now my sorrow, I heard the song Desperado, this song is so penetrated my heart and right for my present condition, I realized my family had left earlier in order to get a woman who I love very much.
(lyrics: "Now it seems a fine to me ... some of Things ... Have been laid upon your table ... But you only want the ones .. That you can not get ...")
This song made me realize, because despite my love of the "A", she remains (lyrics: "queen of diamonds") who realized that I was never able to have it forever.
("Desperado ... oh ... You Is not gettin 'no younger Your pain and your hunger ... They're Drivin' you home ...")
While here with "F" I'm still waiting for and loved, although living with "F" hollow and empty soul, still chasing shadows of "A" forever.
(lyrics: "Your prison is walking ... Through this world all alone ...")
To commemorate her "A" I tattoo on my chest with word "Desperado" as I upload picture on facebook.
- Adrianus, Bekasi, Indonesia
I requested this be played at my domestic partner's memorial service. His sister commented that she didn't know he liked that song, and I told her I never heard him express an opinion about it one way or the other.

We were in the process of breaking up when he was diagnosed with cancer. I recommended that he stay with me, and on my insurance. The rest of his life, just short of two years, I took care of him as much as he would let me. But he would never "come down from his fences, open the gate."

So all of you, if you have someone in your life that loves you, lover, family, friend, do not fence them out!

"You better let somebody love you, before it's too late."
- Sarx, Tucson, AZ
In 1976, I left home and moved to a "back to nature" style commune. I lived there with my boyfriend, who was anything but a "[King] of diamonds", I thought. Now, I realize he was, not because of money but because he was the one that "sparkled" in my eyes. He was a true Bohemian in a rebellious age, and I loved that! I was truly surprised when my older sis sent me the words to this song and said it was about me. The older I get, the more I see it! To me, this song is about life lived by certain kinds of people. It describes every stage of that life, each year bringing new meanings and revelations.
- Rebecca, Pensacola, FL
I asked my friends to call me Desperado, they just call me Desperate
- Adam, York, PA
I have checked on urben legends, and found nothing. I heard that the song was not actually about any cowboy at all. I heard on a radio program years back that that song was actully written about their friend Joe Walsh, about changing his way of life before he killed himself, to reach for his friends who are wanting to help him.
- Tony, Gilertsville, KY
I heard Linda Ronstadt's version before I ever heard the Eagles'. I still like the Ronstadt version better. Great song.
- Linda, Shelton, WA
I believe the character in the song was origianally named "Leroy" and Frey changed the name to Desperado and the song came together.
- Steve, Trabuco Canyon, CA
I think Desperado is a religious song. Think about it. Come down from your fences, just open the gate. It may be raining, but there's a rainbow above you. You better let somebody love you before it's too late. What they're talking about is open the gate for God, and let him in. You better let Jesus be your savior before it's too late.
- Brett, Saint Charles, IL
This is the greatest song ever. The best lyrics, the best vocals, the best music, the best theme, the best song. No comparision. Pure heaven. God. "These things that are pleasing you can hurt you somehow" is the greatest line ever and the truest definition of life.
- Mayank, Ranchi, India
I was of the impression that the writer of Desperado had taken the thoughts from an old church song.
- Robert, Tulsa, OK
Ruth your not alone you have children and grandchildren. Though you may be now without a partner your life is still rich! The song reminds me of my ex I had in college, you know the one that your supposed to meet there and marry when you graduate for that picture perfect life. I threw it all the way because I was afraid that we wouldn't make it to the end. Now Im leaving home going to a far away place where ill know no one (new job), and I listen to this song daily trying to catch a glimpse of what fate has in store.
- Jarret, greensburg, PA
This song, to me was always about someone like my sister mainly, but in a way too, me. Not literally. But my sister always wanted the Captain of the football team, the unreachable. And wouldn't accept valid regular guys as boyfriends.
She is still alone. At 59. Bitter, lonely, and unhappy.
I chose a different path-sort of. I chose alone-but not for the same reasons. Fear for me I guess. But I am fine alone.
I taught my kids not to think like me, or like her. They are in good relationships. I'm an old Long Hair and a Great Grandma.
- Ruth, Grand Rapids MN Livein CA, CA
desparado is clearly about a man going through life dating the materialistic girls(quenn of diamonds) when he should try to find and love the "queen of hearts" the nice,polite, proper girl. you better let somebody in before its too late. refers to he better allow a girl in because he is not getting any younger. or maybe let someone in after he was hurt by a love. i have listened to this sound my whole life(i'm 44) i dated the gorgeous wild party girls for years. decided to dated a pretty, smart, but shy gril for a change. we were married last october and i danced with my mother to desperado. she told me at the end of the song"you finally let somebody in"we both cried and smiled. great great song
- rich, oglesby, IL
Does anyone remember the time a guy kidnapped a bunch of people in a Manhattan record company office in the late 1970's or early 1980's? The police kept negotiating with him until he dropped almost all of his demands, except one last thing. He insisted that a local radio station play "Desperado" by the Eagles. The radio station played it, and then he gave up. Sad?
- Gary, Sedro-Woolley, WA
Just an over all good song. Clint Black covered this on an tribute album to the Eagles.
- Hugh Running Deer, Pine Ridge, SD
Hard not to love this song. In fact, the whole album is killer, a good one to put in the CD player as you sit with your arm around the woman you love. The end of the album features a reprise of this song, with "Doolin-Dalton" incorporated. The reprise is even more moving, in my opinion.
- oldpink, New Castle, IN
the comment about Randy Meisner dosent make sense anyways cos there is NO guitar intro...its a piano silly, if ur gonna make things up do it better than that
- mike, Birmingham, United Kingdom
In his autobiography, "Endless Highway", David Carradine claimed, " Glen Frey told me he had written the song, 'Desperado' about me. I replied that he probably told that to every movie star he met. Years later, the Eagle's manager, without prompting,told me the same thing, so maybe it is true."

It seems to me that the song pre-dates Carradine's famous peyote overdose during which he cut an artery and broke in to the homes of his Laurel Canyon neighbors bleeding all over the place. In any case, Carradine, the ol'"Hollywood Cowboy", certainly seems to have fit the description of the "Desperado".

I think the metaphor is pretty straight forward and you all have been over analyzing it.
- Dot, Auburn, NH
In his autobiography, "Endless Highway", David Carradine claimed "Glen Frey told me that he had written the song 'Desperado' about me. I replied that he probably told that to every movie star he met. Years latter the Eagle's manager, without prompting, told me the same thing, so maybe it's true." pg 482

I'm pretty sure that the song was written before Carradine had really publicly demonstrated what a "desperado" he could be. I'm pretty sure that it pre-dates the episode in which Carradine overdosed on peyote, broke into a neighbor''s home, cut an artery while trying to break a window and proceeded to pretty much bleed all over the neighborhood. Other than that, the song could be describing him, along with a lot of other guys.
RIP DC
- Dot, Auburn, NH
I think this song is about choosing money and power over love. The queen of diamonds represents wealth and power and the queen of hearts represents love. The narrator in this song advises the desperado to choose love over money "the queen of hearts is always your best bet." Unfortunately, however, it is learned in Desperado Part 2 that the desperado chose money over love. Desperado 2 opens with the following lines: "The queen of diamonds let you down, she was just an empty fable, and the queen of hearts you claim you never met. Your twisted fate has found you out and it's finally turned the tables, stole your dreams and filled you with regret." After listening to part 2 it becomes obivious that he chose the queen of diamonds and money over the queen of hearts and love. Because of his greed, his punishment is to wander through the rest of his days alone. To make it even worse, he didn't even find the wealth he was looking for either, because the queen of diamonds turned out to be an empty promise. I think the moral of the song is simple and clear, there are more important things than money and power (love) and be careful with your choices and goals in life because they may not be what you think they were in the end.
- Brad, Archer Lodge, NC
(first off, I really liked Celtic Thunder's version.) Now, this song is about a man who's getting older, and he has no love(r). He's been riding fences because he can't make up his mind on anything. And, the queen of diamonds is a metaphor for his high standards. The queen of hearts is more to do with his feelings, which he won't face, but is what he needs to feel satisfied. And, to do that he needs to open the gate, in other words open up to others and let people in. He's been riding fences, also, meaning being on guard, defensive. It's Pink Floyd's The Wall in some respects. And, the way he's been living his life isn't getting him any satifaction, these things aren't good for him, probably drinking, smoking, and gambling. But, a woman is good for him. And, the narrator is trying to tell him that. He's desperate and doesn't even know it. So, he calls him Desperado. And, the freedom he craves is with a woman, a good woman with a big heart. A Queen, a wife. He's not such "a hard one." He's really soft and needs a woman like that to open up to so that he can be satisfied.
- Jeff, Casa Grande, AZ
The first time I heard this song I thought it was a song about depression (Desperado=Depression). Several lyrical references can be interpreted as someone in the throws of a depression ("...why don't you come to your senses," "losing all your highs and lows," "your prison is walking through this world all alone," "it maybe raining, but there's a rainbow above you.")
- Curtis, Lubbock, TX
***Celtic Thunder - Desperado - BEST VERSION OF THIS SONG!!!

YouTube it!

=]
- Jonathan, Deer Park, NY
country singer Clint Black also has a version of this song
- Jill, Nederland, TX
My dad says this song reminds him of my brother..who was a somewhat..ahem..problem child.
- nady, adelaide, Australia
I think that as well as being a metaphor for the 1970's music scene in California, as the whole Desperado album is, this song portrays a classic American hero, or anti-hero, so often seen in Westerns. The idea that life is falling apart for this character, and that he actively attempts to be the "bad guy" to seperate himself from society as a form of penance for the guilt of his past is a fantastic psychological study of man. The idea of a nameless character desperately trying to find vengance, justice or just a reason to be can be seen everywhere. I think that Desperado along with characters like "The Man With No Name" in The Good, The Bad and the Ugly and "Harmonica" in Once Upon A Time in the West, even "Sawyer" in Lost depict so accurately the life long struggle so many men have to come to terms with their morrality. Somebody once said that the reason characters like these have no name or go by false ones is so that we can write in our own in the blank space, and I couldn't agree more. These characters are everyone, and no-one all at the same time.
- Robert, Glasgow, United Kingdom
I read that this song was about Don's friend who couldn't get a girl.
- Liz, Smallville, KS
DOn Henley said in an interview with Rolling Stone Mag, that Desperado was written about a dog he had as a child.
- Dave, charlotte, NC
Sure I like it and all but it seriously gets old fast.
- INZAIN, Moultrie, GA
I like this song. In my opinion it is about an outlaw who starts to rethink his life of crime and becomes reformed through the love of a good woman.
- Joel, Columbia, MD
Joe Walsh did the best version of the song on the Howard Stern Show, but Don Henley got upset that Walsh performed his song so it actually put the kybosh on the Eagles reuniting sooner than they did because the rumor was that The Eagles were getting back together at that time. When Joe Walsh sang this song, the reunion was postponed.
- Jack, queens, NY
I think its more of Don Henley as a narartor and hes giving a younger man some much needed advice. The queen of diamonds meaning money, and that he should find true love instead. Some great things have been offered to him but he wants more. Hes growing up and getting frustrated that he cant find anybody to be with. He needs to find someone to love before its to late. "Come down from the fences" open the gate as in open up your heart and let the love in. It might be raining and difficult to get .started but will be much worth it
- Cody, BayArea, CA
I love the song and my interpretation of the lyrics is about wanting something that you can't have (the Queen of Diamonds) even though he has has a loving partner waiting for him (Queen of Hearts). The Queen of Diamonds is out of his reach - she will lead him on but he will never have - though he doesn't realise it and the Queen of Hearts won't wait around forever. He better come to his senses "before it's too late".
- carol, Brisbane, Australia
sorry to crash the party people, but their is a claim out their that desperado is about David Carradine, of kung fu and kill bill fame. In his book, Endless Highway (interesting and insightful book, sometimes like reading a bob dylan book which is like one big fuc#in song that is a trip!) he talks about how one of the Eagles tells him how they wrote this song about him. he was good friends, shared living spaces and girlfriends with the bunch... he also was relapsing drug addict and alcoholic and womaniser. desperado, is about carradine... read the book and you will understand.. thankyou
- laurie, Brisbane, Australia
This song has a very special place in my heart. In September 2007, my stepfather, Gary passed away and one of his friends, Larry played this song on the guitar at his graveside for everyone to hear and see right after they lowered the casket. It was the most perfect song for Gary as he struggled for many years with drug and alcohol addiction. He is missed very much and this song was a perfect ending to a lifelong of struggle for Gary. He is now resting in heaven, peacefully. RIP Gary. We all miss you and love you!
- Tara, All over Long Island, NY
in the song, talking about not drawing the queen of diamonds, but drawing the queen of hearts sounds like he is talking about taking a loving woman over a rich woman.
- Wayne, Las Vegas, NV
Those of you talking about 'proselytizing' are missing either the meaning of the song or the meaning of the word. The song is about a loner who has what he needs ("the Queen of Hearts", "fine things laid upon your table") within his grasp, yet is always reaching for the wrong things ("the Queen of Diamonds", "the ones that you can't get") - and therefore, he remains a loner ("hurt you somehow"). The last line, "you better let somebody love you", is referring back to same theme as the "Queen of Hearts" - the girl who loves you, not your money. It has no religious significance.
- Gregg, Middletown, CT
One of THE most recognizable piano licks there is. It is to beginning pianists what Stairway To Heaven is to beginning guitarists!
- Ed, Incognito, IL
This song was also sung on a film called "In America".Great movie and sung very well by the child actress,whose name escapes me
- brian, kilkenny, Ireland
i did speak to my dad for half of my life after a falling out .... he died then i started to realise what i missed basically it!
- john, newcastle, England
How could one possibly judge this to be the band's worst song?? The vocals, as John from MD and Brian from NZ already said, are flawless! This song is so musically oriented and has an amazing sound! Just saying...
- Ben, Claremont, MN
As stated earlier in "Song Facts",the song "Desperado" was used in a episode of the TV show "Seinfield". The character,who Elaine was dating,said it was "the" song of a former relationship.He went into a trance everytime it came on.Elaine wanted to have a song for their relationship and decided on "Witchy Woman".She told Jerry Seinfield of her decision and he asked "Which "A" woman?",to which Elaine responded "No,"WITCHY" woman,not Which A woman." However her boyfriend refused the idea saying it could never compare to "Desperado".
- Joe, Maysville, KY
To me, this song is a call to "settle down", and is appropriate to the era.

Linda Ronstadt's cover of the song came out about the same time as the Eagle's "Tequila Sunrise", ('74-'75?). These songs reflected a trend in Rock music of those years, as rockers stepped back from the hyper-excesses of the late '60's and early '70's, with many going into rehab programs for the first time (such as Eric Clapton), and coming out with a softer, mellower, slower sound.
- Rick, Seattle, WA
I think Desperado is a song about a horse
- Madonna, Washington, DC
kieth I dont think Don and Glenn was proselytize this song onther than that line has realy nothing that could be linked to god.So why the last line? Becouse there not refering to god there telling "desperado" that he'd better let the "queen of hearts" love him and stop chasing the "queen of diamonds".
- Jose, Hemet, CA
Favorite Eagles song.
- Glen, Charlotte, NC
To me the song is about a addict of some sort,
who has lost his girl because of it. alot of time has gone by, yet he is still afraid to commit to another relationship, because she was just in it for material reasons.
- Brian, Boston, MA
Didn't the police use this song to get somebody to come out of a building at some point?
- Ryan, Largo, FL
"You better let somebody love you, before it's too late."
I hate when rock stars proselytize.
- Keith, San Anselmo, CA
'don't you draw the queen of diamonds boy, she'll beat you if she's able'...i always though the line was 'she'll beat you if she a boy'...makes more sense now!
- MeL, SoutH AustraliA, Australia
Clint Black recorded this song recently...Excellent version by a great country artist!
- Bruce, Gainesville, GA
I also love the Johnny Cash version. Probably #1 best cover of it on my list Petter Angelholm, Sweden.
- Jon, Oakridge, OR
Johnny Cash did a sentimental and wonderful cover of this on his last album American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002). it can make you cry.
- Petter, Ã?ngelholm, Sweden
I heard a Christian artist do this in concert, it put chills down my spine.
- Jay, Atlanta, GA
For those of you that have just the Eagles Greatest Hits CD, Desperado is their best regular issue CD. In fact all of their regular CDs are worth owning except for "The Long Run". By the time of "The Long Run" the Eagles were weary of trying to live up to the high standard they'd set and were going through the motions.
- Steve, Fenton, MO
this is the eagles best song and it is just great Don Henly makes it that good. If he wasnt singin there is no Desparado
- Matt, Haddon Hieghts, NJ
I agree with your interpretation Buster. I think the song's about love too.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
Looking beyond the obvious, literal meaning of the lyrics, the song is about life and love. A "desperado" is a desperate person, one who despairs--lonely and afraid. The cowboy metaphor is used for poetic purposes. The queen of diamonds represents material or physical things and the queen of hearts represents love or spiritual things. The song is simply saying not to shut yourself off from love. (It is a recurring theme in many songs.) Do not put up false "reasons" for being hard. Do not ignore what you have. Do not imagine freedom is more important than the bonds of love.

While putting one's own personal meaning into songs is part of their charm and a measure of their appeal, we must not imagine that our "truth" is everyone else's.
- Buster, Monrovia, MD
I didn't like it much at first, but it really grow me. Espacially the "Don't your feet get cold in the wintertime..." part.

Henley's vocals are FLAWLESS, that just adds to the effect.
- John, Millersville, MD
Well, it's a different kind of song. It's not bad at all. Hey, why aren't there any songfacts for Peaceful Easy Feeling?
- Aylin, Montreal, Canada
A number of decades have passed since this song was written, and each person has his or her own thoughts of the meaning of the lyrics to Desperado by the Eagles, but suddenly this pm, it became to clear to me that these lyrics can be applied to whatever they need to be, for whomever needs them. As for me, it hit home. It made me realize that my life with my husband is worth salvaging, and ending a year long affair would be in my best interest.
- Beth, Baden, PA
This is, far and away, the band's worst song.
- Chase, Pasadena, CA
I think Randy of Beaumont is correct. Go back and listen to the lyrics (especially of Certain Kind of Fool) and think guitar rather than 6 gun.
- Steve, Fenton, MO
VERY interesting comments by everyone. Just one thing I have been thinking about the past few days. I am referring to the friendly "feud" between Randy of Beaumont Texas and Brian of New Zealand. First things first, Saturday Night is on the Desperado album. Now concerning the sub-plot given by Mr. Randy, That is an interesting idea and it very well could be true but I think the romantic in me still believes this album is based upon the Doolin/Dalton gang which formed up in the early 1890s and came to a bloody end in.....you guessed it, Coffeyville, Kansas in 1892. Whether you believe this is an album about an outlaw gang from the wild west or a stuggling rock musician, everyone should do a little research on the Doolin/Dalton gang. Its pretty interesting stuff.....and did you know that Grat and Bob Dalton (two original members of the infamous Doolin/Dalton gang) were originally U.S. Deputy Marshals in their younger days?
- Robert, London, England
I heard The Eagles play this last night. D. Henley's voice is outstanding. All Eagles vocals are outstanding. I'm 52, and I've seen so many awesome bands, but Eagles are a cut above most. My 15-yr. old son was blown away by it, too. There is magic in their music. The lyrics translate to Truth. The story may be about different things to each of us. That's the way art is. Hotel Calif. has some creative posts about "meaning". Compare the lyrics of Hotel Calif. to Witchy Woman. James Wells, in Queens, NY, no one knows like we do, eh? Hope you're still doing OK. Been there, done that... These songs can apply to something greater, hugely more powerful than we are. Whether it's a lover, a drug, gambling, sex, the fast lane lifestyle, we can lose ourselves so easily, our minds rationalize to make our habits seem "reasonable" and make sense to our breaking hearts. We do the things we said we'd never do. At that point, we're shells of the person we were. Luckily, some of us make it back to teach others as the "wounded healer" or Chiron. I pursued heroin bliss that I felt the first time for 12 years. It just got further and further away. How ironic that I can experience that bliss again, whenever I choose, through meditation. I just had to stop doing heroin to be able to get to it. --- I feel like I was part of a great secret society (hippies/flower children) who, only by virtue of when I was born and, to a lesser extent, where, lived through a very special time. Only WE really 'got' the meanings of those lyrics. The beautiful people, free love, dope, music festivals, and peace activism took us on a fantastic ride. But then our friends started dying. Addiction meant we couldn't trust our best friends from kindergarten any more. The whole scene just fell apart in decay, the feeling of some music was old, bittersweet, painful. Veterans returned with the horrors of war experience, without arms, legs, or perhaps sanity. Long strange trip, indeed. Anyway, thank you to all of you amazing musicians who pointed out the way. And keep up the good works, all you other music lovers, dope fiends, and heppers out there. I won't tell. They will never know how many of us there are; we've experienced absolute bliss, we saw how beautiful it can be, and have struggled to learn to live a physical life gentled by The Love and The Light. Now we are the elders, here to teach. Blessings..AD, S.Bar.,CA brigitvictoire@yahoo.com
- Adrienne, Santa Barbara, CA
to clarify. the song played in the cab scene was peacefull easy feeling.
- calvin, kyle, TX
the eagles are a great band. in regards to the guy who said desperado was in the big lebowski your are wrong. and eagles song was in it in the cab scene but desperado was not.
- calvin, kyle, TX
I personally think it's about a guy who falls in love with beautiful women, not women who return their love to him.

Queen of Diamonds - a woman who wants riches and money
Queen of Hearts - a woman who loves him back

These are my views, and to each his own
- Rayyan, Dubai, Other
This song is also in the movie, The Big Lebowski, one of the funniest films made in my lifetime.
- Johnny, Scotch Plains, NJ
Hi I am a recovering cocaine addict and alcoholic and to me this is a song of desperation in the world of addiction..."These things that are pleasing you can hurt you somehow". Whiskey and cocaine stopped pleasing me a long time ago but I continued to try and keep "riding the fences" for so long......I knew I was destroying my life but I kept using because I was to afraid to stop...
"Now it seems to me some fine things have been laid upon your table but you only want the ones that you can't get"....I had a family who loved me, I had a job that I didn't realize was so important to me until I lost it. I had so many wonderful things but I lost them all due to addiction...The things that I wanted that I couldnt get was truly to become sober and beat the "devil" but I was never truly able to show it to the world.. So I kept taking the painful "easy" way out.......
"Your prison is walking through this world all alone".......I used heavily for the past 5 years and completely isolated myself from all my friends and family....I remember trying to fight off the temptation and walking around in the streets of Queens or sitting a slice of pizza ALONE and it hurt so much.....Addiction is a personal prison...."Your losing all your highs and lows, aint if funny how that feeling goes away"....The more cocaine and alcohol I used the the highs began to become nonexistent but the lows would trick you into believing they went away so you could give it another shot tonight...
In reality the lows went away and became unclimbable holes..."It may be raining but theres a rainbow above you, you better let somebody love you before it's to late".....As I write this a miracle has transformed my life one day at a time and I have 60 days today......It is raining outside but Jesus is behind that rain...And in front of God is the rainbow of freedom I feel and all addicts can feel if they surrender......I've never had a girlfriend in my life due to addictiona and alcohol and the isolation it led to so its time Jimmy to let somebody love you before it's to late.......thank you if i helped anyone today email me theevolution4285@aol.com
- james wells, queens, NY
very funny charlie i feel the same way and hate that eagles are considered pop to some people. and also this is my favorite song of all time and think it should have gotten more comments than it did and i dont think it should be overlooked so much. i just said somthing about hotel california and there were tons of comments. don henley has an awsome voice and i hate that the eagles are not as popular as they should be. pure talent and i cherish everyone of the eagles songs when they play. also like the seinfield guy i wouldnt let anyone talk when they are playing either, expecially this song. once again it is my favorite song and really appreciate all the talent th eagles put into every one of their songs. its amazing to me and will never grow out of them.
- meagan, baton rouge, LA
Aww C'mon Brian of New Zealand. The beauty of your country is distracting you. LOL. My assessment of the album was edited from a much longer one that was published in "Music Connection" Magazine. Look below the layer of the Cowboy story. There's a sub-plot. The sub-plot advances the story about a hundred years. Now, there's no cowboy, just a boy(very much like myself as a teenager I might add) who has a "craving" for something but doesn't know what...UNTIL...in "Certain Kind of Fool" he sees the Les Paul or (like me) the Strat in the store. "...it felt shiny and smooth in his hand. He took it to the country and practiced for days without rest...". NOWHERE is there a mention of a gun OR a guitar....because this is a subjective work....and a damn good one. He joins a gang (band) and goes through all the suffering (Saturday Night...which, indeed, is on the album.... all the craziness (Out of Control)...He pays his dues to the point of despair mentally, emotionally and physically ("...you're losing all your highs and lows...ain't it funny how the feeling goes away...") and against the advice of his mentors (Bitter Creek) continues his pursuit. I call it a pursuit now because we can get VERY subjective and even find a third sub-plot about being an artist....or guitarist.....or anyone in pursuit of perfection (Like Ahab in Moby Dick...the white whale being a metaphor for perfection). but...never finding it. Fact is, we CAN'T find perfection...only pursue it. Anyway, so he goes into town for one more gig (holdup..first layer/ concert..sub plot). He turns away from those who love him and hates those who seek him out..."..all you blood thirsty bystanders better try to find your seats...". Eventually, as we all are, he's confronted with the very ethical questions about what IS important in life. He's faced with continuing the quest (Bitter Creek) or letting it go...but doesn't and, like Ahab, this unattainable quest for perfection destroys him "...your twisted fate has found you out and finally turned the tables..stole your dreams and left you with regret...".
Our question now is an age old one... why do we strive to find the unattainable...the perfection when it doesn't exist in this life? Only God is perfect and we can't attain His level, but we can seek Him out. Maybe it's the quest itself that makes life worthwhile...even if it turns us into desperados. And, if so, then so be it. Here's to that desperado spirit in us all!
I cant take credit for all of these very deep thoughts....when the album first came out Rolling Stone made a comment on the "Concept in the sub-plot". I just found it for myself on some kind of philosophical level.
- Randy, Beaumont, TX
This is one of my favorites by the Eagles, and hits home everytime I hear it. I consider myself a hopeless romantic and have been holding out for the right women to come into my life. This just sums things up for me in that regard.
- Dee, Indianapolis, IN
hey Dougie, did you say pop, did you? the eagles are classic rock, and if i ever hear anyone sayh there pop again, so help me, i will, eat my belt buckle!
- charlie, Thomaston, CT
A timeless classic, perfectly executed. To this day, Don Henley writes some of the most intelligent lyrics in pop music.
- Dougie, Orlando, FL
This is a great song. Everything the eagels sang is great.
- debbie, winthrop, MA
No, Brian you are wrong "Saturday Night" is on "Desperado" not "Eagles." Thanks
- Peter, Montrose, DC
Don's voice is incredible in this song. Probably as good as it ever was. Its just the kinda song that touches you deep down inside. I love that about The Eagles
- BoB, Las Vegas, NV
Straight from Don Henly: "Desperado" was a song fragment that I?d had since the late ?60s. Maybe ?68, I started that song. It wasn?t even called "Desperado." It was called something else, but it was the same melody, same chords. I think it had something to do with astrology [chuckles]. Whatever the title was back then, it was horrible [laughs]. Jackson Browne suggested a Western themeâ??something to do with playing cards, I thinkâ??which is sort of where we were headed anyway. When we returned from England, after making our first album, I was living in a little house, way up in Laurel Canyon. I think Roger McGuinn had lived there previously. It was one of those houses on stilts, and when the winds were high, the house would rock gently. It was sort of unsettling, but I got used to it after a while.

Anyway, Glenn came over to write one day, and I showed him this unfinished tune that I had been holding for so many years. I said, "When I play it and sing it, I think of Ray Charlesâ??Ray Charles and Stephen Foster. It?s really a Southern gothic thing, but we can easily make it more Western." Glenn leapt right on itâ??filled in the blanks and brought structure. And that was the beginning of our songwriting partnership . . . that?s when we became a team.
- Bill Crawford, Oro Valley, AZ
Used in the 2003 film "In America". The family's daughter sings this in a school pagent. Good scene.
- MAx, Ottawa, Canada
Clint Black covered this on the 1994 country tribute to the Eagles and Johnny Cash did, too, on his last album.
- Eddie, Lachine, MI
For me this song doesn't have to be for a certain gender although it does mention the queen of diamonds. Being divorced for many years, I am frequently told to "let somebody love me before it's too late" and to take the fence away from around my heart. Everything comes to a stop when this song plays as I just love the words, the music and the feeling it leaves with me.
- Pamela, Palatka, FL
I listen to this song and take it for what it's worth. For me, the song tells of a man that can't find the right woman. The line; "Don't you draw the queen of diamonds boy, she'll beat you if she's able, you know the queen of hearts is always your best bet", definately makes the song what it is. Henley's vocals cry out and touch the young men in this world who want to fall in love but can't seem to find the attitude to fit the face. This song is soothing to the soul of any young man who feels alone in his quest for true love.
- James Lo Cascio, Mahwah, NJ
Sorry, Randy of Beaumont, Texas is wrong. In "A Certain Kind Of Fool", what he sees in the window is not a guitar, it's a gun. And "Saturday Night" is not on the Desperado album, it's on their first one, "The Eagles".
- Brian, Auckland, New Zealand
Lol the Senfield that included this song was hilarious. Great song, Don Henley's vocals are flaw-less, probably one of the best sung songs ever.
- Brian, Paoli, IN
I'm not sure the comment about Randy Meisner is accurate. He wasn't a guitarist during Desperado, he was the bassist. It wasn't until the early 80's, when he was solo that he began to play acoustic.
What is the basis of this?
- Amanda, Overland Park, KS
You have to to post comments.
Macabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's SongsMacabre Mother Goose: The Dark Side of Children's Songs
"London Bridge," "Ring Around the Rosie" and "It's Raining, It's Pouring" are just a few examples of shockingly morbid children's songs.
Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit and Black Light BurnsWes Borland of Limp Bizkit and Black Light Burns
Wes tells the "Nookie" story, and explains how songwriting compares between Bizkit and Burns.
Supertramp founder Roger HodgsonSupertramp founder Roger Hodgson
Roger tells the stories behind some of his biggest hits, including "Give a Little Bit," "Take the Long Way Home" and "The Logical Song."
John Doe of XJohn Doe of X
With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.