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The Sad Cafe by Eagles

Album: The Long RunReleased: 1979
  • This song was written about The Troubadour, which is a music club in Los Angeles on Santa Monica Boulevard where many fledgling musicians would congregate. Don Henley and Glenn Frey met there and became friends, later began writing together and eventually recruited Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner to form a back up band for Linda Ronstadt. This band eventually became the Eagles.
  • The line, "I don't know why fortune smiles on some and lets the rest go free" is a reference to how some people are lucky enough to get a break while other equally talented people don't.
  • This was the final track on The Long Run, which until the Eagles reformed in 1994 and released Hell Freezes Over, was their final album. It's a poignant song ending with a haunting sax solos. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Steve - Peterborough, England, for all above
  • Don Felder, who was with the Eagles from 1974-2001, tells us that this song is one of his favorites. Said Felder, "There's an acoustic guitar harmony solo where I play about six acoustic guitars and harmony together on 'Sad Cafe,' which is a really unusual solo that was kind of fun to do."
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Comments: 13

Still one of the greatest songs about success (or lack of it). "Things in this life change very slowly if they ever change at all"

Lorrie Morgan's version is good but for the best cover, check out JD Souther who of course was with The Eagles at the Troubedour and the beginning of their career and was one of those who fortune never really smiled upon. He had one hit "You're Only Lonely" but became more well known as a a songwriter and collaborator in Nashville.

His version is stripped down and haunting, with the same incredible sax solo.

Then song is on Souther's album "Natural History" which has a few other Eagles covers, "New Boy in Town" and "Best of My Love"
Toby - Key West
Henley's voice is strangely unlikable to me on this unlike every other song he ever sang, yet the more I hear it the more it is one of the best of the Eagles.Jack - Mesa, Az
This was the best track on their weakest album, pre-breakup. An extremely well written and crafted song. The Eagles seemed to be at a point in their career where they had hit the absolute zenith after "Hotel California" and instead of just enjoying life at the top, they seemed to be letting petty jealousies and greed tear them apart. I love Henley's line" Now I look at the years gone by, and wonder at the powers that be. I don't know why fortune smiles on some and let's the rest go free." I'm just guessing but maybe this is a common feeling among many in show business. I know virtually everyone pays their dues, but I'd guess almost all successful actors and musicians know others who worked just as hard, were as good looking or as talented but just never got the break. So much of life is timing. I don't know if this guilt is partly responsible for the overwhelmingly leftist political leanings in the Hollywood community.Dt - Gulf Breeze, Fl
The message (s) in this song are quite varied and are applicable to so many different facets of life both personal and social. I like the
semi-religious references in the lyrics which gives them an even more personal message about both the fortunes and the losses in our individuasl lives. I especially like Lorrie Morgan's version on the "Common Thread CD.
James - Summerville, Sc
Glen Frey recruited Bernie Leadon from the Flying Burrito Brothers. When I listen to this song, I think of one star that fell too quickly, Gram Parsons. He was the lead singer of the Flying Burrito Brothers. It is said that the Eagles sat in at all the FBB shows and took notes. Parsons died in 1973, relatively unknown. It was the year that the Eagles made it big with "Witchy Woman" and "Take It Easy." This song could be written about Gram and the others who had so much to give, but who just didn't become big stars.Suzanne - Long Beach, Wa
I just started reading the book "To the Limit" The untold story of the Eagles and it tells how the members had met at the Troubadour.I never knew this song was about the Troubadour.The Eagles are an incredible band. This was written on April 12th 2011.Brian - Boston, Ma
Wonder why its not often performed in their concerts and not often included in their greatest hits or very best compilations. Its a classic, one of their top 5 in my opinion and has the best sax solo ever.Mayank - Ranchi, India
Whether or not you're an Eagles fan, it's hard not to respect this masterpiece.David - Knoxville, Tn
Lorrie Morgan did this song on the Common Thread CD, that had country singer doing the songs of The Eagles.Paul - Denver, Co
This song is so sad. It really you think about what you should do in life.Liz - Smallville, Ks
I really don't like the Eagles, but I make an exception for this song. It's a good example of luminous, beautiful sadness.Mark - Madison, Wi
The Sandborn sax solo really makers the track, don't you think?Tim - Denver, Co
This is one of the greatest works of art produced by these fine men!Jeff - Cleveland, Oh
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