Already Gone

Album: On The Border (1974)
Charted: 32
Play Video


  • In this song, a guy hears through the grapevine that his girl is going to leave him, but he cries no tears because he's already gone, checked out with a new sense of freedom. She'll have to eat her lunch all by herself from now on.
  • "Already Gone" is one of the few Eagles songs not written by any member of the band. It was written by the songwriters Jack Tempchin and Robb Strandlund about five years before the Eagles recorded it.

    Around 1968, Tempchin was managing a club called The Back Door at San Diego State College (which later became San Diego State University). The club was a showcase for folk music, and Tempchin and Strandlund often performed there together. When he appeared on the Songfacts Podcast, Tempchin told the story:

    "We were playing one night and we were in the back room, which was the kitchen where there were these big refrigerator doors. I opened the door and there was a white jug. So I got this jug out, and for some reason, we thought it would be OK to just drink out of this jug. It was hard cider, and I had never had any alcohol or any drugs or anything at that point.

    So, we were drinking out of this jug and we started to feel really good, and I said, 'Let's write a country song.' So in about 20 minutes in the back room there, we wrote 'Already Gone.' The chorus goes woo hoo hoo because I just felt so good suddenly."
  • The song found its way to the Eagles via Glenn Frey, who was good friends with Jack Tempchin - they met in San Diego in the late '60s. Tempchin performed the song himself from time to time, but didn't think much of it until years later when he got a call from Frey, who was in the studio working on the third Eagles album, On The Border.

    "He says, 'Do you know that country song you wrote? I think that'd be a good rock song,'" Tempchin told Songfacts. "Then he held up the phone to the speakers in the studio and there was their version of 'Already Gone.'"
  • Glenn Frey sang lead on this track. The song features twin guitar solos by Frey and Don Felder, who was new to the band. The Eagles also used twin guitar solos on "Hotel California."
  • The Eagles had loads of songwriting talent, but they also had some friends who could write a song or two as well, and some of these songs they ended up recording. Jackson Browne wrote "Take It Easy," and "Heartache Tonight" was co-written by J.D. Souther and Bob Seger along with Don Henley. Jack Tempchin ended up contributing three songs to their catalog. Along with "Already Gone," he also co-wrote "Peaceful Easy Feeling" on the first Eagles album and "The Girl From Yesterday" on their 1994 reunion album Hell Freezes Over. When the band split in 1980, Frey made Tempchin his primary co-writer for his solo material. All of Frey's solo albums have contributions from Tempchin.
  • The Eagles have some classic lines in their songs (many of which can be found in "Hotel California"), but two of their most quotable come in "Already Gone":

    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

    When you look up in the sky
    You can see the stars and still not see the light
  • This was one of the first songs the Eagles recorded with producer Bill Szymczyk. Their previous albums, and some of On The Border, were recorded in London with the venerable British producer Glyn Johns. Recording with a new producer at nearby Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles was a huge relief for Glenn Frey, who didn't get on with Johns. "I was much more comfortable in the studio with Bill, and he was more than willing to let everyone stretch a bit," he said. "'Already Gone' - that's me being happier; that's me being free."

Comments: 40

  • Bill from Long Island , NyThat pinch harmonic from the guitar has been around for a long time. Both Leslie West (RIP) from Mountain and Randy Bachman from BTO , Baçhman Turner Overdrive have used them, amongst numerous other guitar players. This song is a bridge between the earlier country folk rock flavored Eagles and the harder edge they evolved to. Great guitar work by Don Felder. This has a nice rock edge without the "twangy" Telecaster sound.
  • Lorz from New YorkI always felt empowered by this song just when a break up was about to happen......yeah, he just broke up with me, but emotionally I was already gone and out the door 2 weeks ago! LOL!
  • John From Palo Alto from Palo Alto CaIs Homer Simpson's "Woo-hoo!" inspired by the Woo-hoo in this victory song?
  • Spotfire from NevadaWay back when I was a DJ, our morning guy, and program director said that "squeaky" note was the sound of a guitar string breaking. Apparently they liked the sound and left it in the track.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 28th 1974, "Already Gone" by the Eagles entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #97; and on June 23rd, 1974 it peaked at #32 (for 1 week) and spent 15 weeks on the Top 100...
    Was track 1 of side 1 on the quartet's third studio album, 'On The Border', and the album reached #17 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    Two other tracks from the album also made the Top 100; "James Dean" (at #77) and "Best Of My Love" (#1 for 1 week)...
    Tanya Tucker covered "Already Gone" in 1993; her version reached #75 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart.
  • Dt from Gulf Breeze, FlFantastic song, as mentioned the "we our lives in chains and never even know we have the key" metaphor is brilliant. If Dylan or Springsteen had come up with that the music critics would have pissed over themselves. It is an upbeat message, how liberating it is to be finally get out of a relationship that wasn't working or for that matter it can apply to a job, school or some other circumstance you are finally getting out of. [probably popular with convicts after they get paroled]
  • Camille from Toronto, OhDave, thanks for the insightful guitar tutorial!
    "That's right!"
  • Mark from Los Angeles, CaI was a rock DJ through most of the 70's. I loved playing The Eagles. This song contains one of the best lyrics in the business that so many people (especially today) should here: "So often times it happens. We live our lives in chains. And, we never even know we have the key".
  • Dave from Edwardsville, IlLong time guitar player here. The "squeaky" note is highly desirable by many guitarists, and is a sign of gritty expertise. It is called a false harmonic or "pinch" harmonic, and is difficult to evoke reliably. One frets as usual with the right hand, but while picking with the left hand, one simultaneously dampens the string in the same place, causing a harmonic. The simplest ones are a standard octave (twelve frets) higher harmonic, but more esoteric ones can be achieved by experts. Examples of this technique are the first note of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" guitar solo (squeaky) and ZZ Top's "LaGrange" solos (the "Reverand" Billy Gibbons is the best known and most frequent user of false harmonics, and uses an old Mexican peso as a guitar pick to get these harmonics at his extreme degree - very squeaky). Andy Summers of the Police is also well-known for using this technique not in solos, but to make rich background textures. See their middle work on the "Ghost in the Machine" record for examples. Quite unique, and aren't squeaky but sound like a percussive guitar synthesizer (and he uses those, too).

  • Adam from York, PaYes there is a squeaky note after heaven knows it wasn't you who set me free. But thats not the only squeaky note in the song!
  • Mayank from Ranchi, IndiaA great feel-good factor happy song. Always pumps me when I listen to it.
  • Tim from Springfield, MaMike, I'm sure the "squeaky" note was intentional as it's one of the greatest parts of the song IMO.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn the summer of 1975 the ABC network aired a live variety show on Saturday night, hosted by Howard Cosell. The show only lasted a few weeks but The Eagles appeared on it and sang this song live. It was in an outdoor setting and the audio wasn't the greatest!!!
  • Mike from Edgewater, FlI've been wondering just about since the first time I heard this song about the squeaky note after "Heaven knows it wasn't you who set me free"
    A lot of my friends think I'm nuts, but it's definately there. It should have been mixed out, but was not, so was it intentional?
    Does anyone know for sure???
  • Rufus from Victoria, CanadaWhat a kick ass guitar workout this song is.
  • Bob from Southfield, MiIf you read Don Felder's Biography (Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles) he mentions that he was brought in to the group to add a more hard-edged rock and roll sound into the group (as opposed to the country/acoustic sound dominant on their previous two albums.) This song was his first opportunity to demonstrate what he could do and convinced Glen Frey and Don Henley to bring him into the band as a regular member.
  • Diane from Orlando, FlThis is a great breakup song but so much more. You can't help feel the pain, but out of it comes an incredible feeling of power and so you end up feeling joy especially if you just sing it out loud with all of the emotions flowing freely with the music. I agree it has a deep meaning: we can free ourselves from so much of what we suffer but it sometimes hurts at first and you have to accept that feeling and go through to get to the other side. We have the power to free ouselves from pain we think we are chained to, but we really aren't. Love this song!
  • Ozzy from Fresno, CaWhat incredible lyrics. This is where the greatest song qotes are for sure.
    "Now often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key"
  • Michael from San Diego, CaGreat singing by Glenn drumming by Don, and guitar, bass & voice harmonizing by the rest of the band...all around terrific song!
  • Stuzza from Melbourne, AustraliaA song that doesn't get the recognition that it deserves in my opinion.

    A top song! from a champion band!
  • Terry from Livingston, MtThis is truly one of the best songs recorded by The Eagles. The meaning behind this song really hit me hard in 2002 when a relationship ended for me because, with the exception of "You'll have to each your lunch by yourself", it happened line by line, and I am singing "This victory song".
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaGod, this is such an upbeat, liberating song! Great attitude to take into the end of a relationship. Love the intertwining lead guitars. That sqeaky riff after the line "Heaven knows it wasn't you who set me free" is so perfect! Yes, there are great philosphical lines in the song, but my favorite is "Then you'll have to eat your lunch al;l by yourself!" It's so childish and sophomoric! It just takes you clear back to grade school--makes me smile ervery time!
  • George from Okc, OkThis song came out right after my first love (in high school) dumped me. There has been no better song written or recorded to relate to the feelings someone has or would like to have immediately after they have been dumped by their ___friend or spouse. Let's face it, knowing what's coming and dealing with it ahead of time is a great feeling.

    After nearly 30 years I saw this woman again and was finally able to ask why I was so uncerimoniously dumped. It ended up being typical teenage love and fickleness, not me. So much for having one's ego crushed, huh?

    Still, the song makes me feel good everytime I hear it and it puts a smile on my face. Oddly enough, the volume on the stereo goes up every time this song is played. ;-) It gives you that: I saw this coming and I'm able to deal with your unkindness, cause I'm Already Gone!
  • Dave from St. Louis, MoThis is probably the Eagles best song. Although they didn't write it, the performance and arrangement show originality. I love the Eagles but, this song represents one of the few times they aren't just rrying to mimic Poco.
  • Big Petee from Huntington, NyIt has a great beat and it's easy to dance to
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlAnother song that will make you feel good about a break up. The Eagles raised the roof with this one.
  • Tyler from Rochester, NyThis is a really good easy-to-listen-to-song, but what i really noticed and liked about this song was the, what you can say vocal solo, after the first chorus of the long 'already gone'.
    Woo hoo hoo hoo ah my Woo hoo hooo
  • Dan from Kingston, CanadaGreat lyrics but beyond that it is probably the best all out rock 'n' roll song The Eagles ever did - sorry, maybe "Out of Control" from the Desperado album is
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThis is a great guitar part, adn a great song. I used to be mad at it, when I wasn't as experienced w/ music as i am now (I'm 13) because it was overplayed. now i like it.
  • Kory from Atlanta, GaI like this song, but recently (as in the past 3 weeks) it has come on the radio alot when I turn the car on or when something has happened to me in a negative way. I don't whether that's coincedence or what BUT I had just gotten over a break up and just a few days later I got a date to Homecoming who is better than I could've expected and when I turned the car on to go pick her up this song came on. What do you think it means?? HAHA!
  • John from Millersville, MdKim, I couldn't have said it better myself. It's as if the song was built for that line--every time it's sung, even if I'm just playing the music in the background and not really listening to it, that line comes out completely clearly.
  • Brianna from Davie , FlThis song has great meaning!!
    One day it will get to you, listen to the words and feel the deep meaning!! Becomes a voice in your head and stays.
    "Just remember when you look up in the sky, you can see the stars, but still not see the light"
    "so often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key"!! Great Eagles song!!!
  • Calvin from Kyle, Txthis is one of my favorite eagles song. and it fits so perfectly in everyones life if you ask me. but dont take my word for it you'll see someday.
  • Meagan from Baton Rouge, Laalready gone is definatly in my opinion a jaw dropper and beleive me my jaw is sore! i love the eagles
  • Kim from Lancaster, PaThere's a line in this song that has become the voice in my head when things look bad "so often times it happens that we live our lives in chains and we never even know we have the key"
    so I start looking for my key.
  • Victor from Vienna, VaThe best Eagles song in my opinion.
  • Brianne from Nova Scotia, CanadaWhy I do believe its Chantal! Anywhok, I love this song!!
  • Chantal from Liverpool, CanadaI agree! makes me smile everytime i listen to it :)
  • Brett from Moore, OkThis is one great song!!!!
  • Brett from Moore, OkThis one great song!!!!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa CarltonSongwriter Interviews

The "A Thousand Miles" singer on what she thinks of her song being used in White Chicks and how she captured a song from a dream.

Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues

Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesSongwriter Interviews

Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn YankeesSongwriter Interviews

Revisit the awesome glory of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees: cheesily-acted videos, catchy guitar licks, long hair, and lyrics that are just plain relatable.

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"

Dave Alvin - "4th Of July"They're Playing My Song

When Dave recorded the first version of the song with his group the Blasters, producer Nick Lowe gave him some life-changing advice.

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go's

Charlotte Caffey of The Go-Go'sSongwriter Interviews

Charlotte was established in the LA punk scene when a freaky girl named Belinda approached her wearing a garbage bag.

Brandi Carlile

Brandi CarlileSongwriter Interviews

As a 5-year-old, Brandi was writing lyrics to instrumental versions lullabies. She still puts her heart into her songs, including the one Elton John sings on.