J.D. Souther, who had previously worked with the Eagles co-writing some of their biggest hit songs including "Best of My Love", "Heartache Tonight" and "New Kid In Town" wrote this song. Though the band frequently performed it live in the first half of the 1970s, they did not record it at the time due to J.D. Souther's desire to use it. Souther released it on his first solo album, John David Souther, in 1972.
Glenn Frey in a Q&A with Billboard magazine on October 12, 2007 said: "The story with 'How Long' is my kids were watching YouTube one night about seven months ago and they said, "Dad, come here. You've got to look at yourself." [YouTube] took it down shortly after I watched it, but they were streaming this show called Pop Gala, a television special we did in 1974 in Holland. I guess we did about eight or nine songs on this show and one of them was 'How Long.' My kids were laughing at how long my hair was, and there we were playing this J.D. Souther song. And my wife said, 'You should do this song Glenn. This is classic Eagles.' And I said, 'You know, you're right.' I think we learned it but we didn't record it back in '74 because J.D. Souther wanted to use it on his first solo album, if I'm not mistaken. So it just sort of sat there, but it was rediscovered and I thought, 'I really think we should cut this, this would fit in nicely with some of the other stuff we have on the album.' So we did."
Six years in production, Long Road Out Of Eden was the Eagles seventh studio album and their first full studio record for 28 years.
Long Road Out Of Eden marked the longest time a group has ever taken to reach the top of the UK charts from its album debut - 33 years and 7 months. The Eagles first album, On the Border, reached #28 in the UK in April 1974. Despite their huge success, the Californian rockers, responsible for hits like "Hotel California," "Desperado" and "Take It To The Limit" have never had a UK #1 single or album before. Their Greatest Hits 1971-75 and Hotel California albums both peaked at #2.
It was agreed that Wal-Mart would be the only American retailer to sell this album during its first year of release. Don Henley explained to the Dallas Morning News October 30, 2007 why: "We didn't want to sign with a major label again. We've had trouble with the major labels our entire career. Wal-Mart made us a very good offer. We looked very carefully at their new green program and we were impressed. A lot of companies are figuring out that being green increases their net profits over time."
In the late 1960s J.D. Souther and Glenn Frey joined together to form the folk duo Longbranch Pennywhistle. They made one self-titled album, which sold little but featured a number of outstanding session musicians including Ry Cooder, Larry Knechtel and Jim Gordon.
This won a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals.
Mark "spud" Friedman from Birmingham, Al, UsaHere is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fkmj1INRCok
Ken from Louisville, KyAs of December 2013, a clip of the Eagles performing this song on a Holland TV show in either 1973 or 74 still exists on You Tube. Bernie Leadon introduces the song as written by a "former partner of Glenn's". In this version, Randy Meisner sings the third verse. When the Eagles revived the song for Long Road Out Of Eden, Frey sang both the first and third verses. The 2007 version has a more country riff, thanks to a pseudo country twang guitar lead by Steuart Smith. In fact, the Eagles debuted the revival of the song during the nationally televised 2007 CMA Awards show.
Liz from Smallville, Ksgood song...it's really there comeback song. It's so classic eagles. you know, the blending of the voices and the "look at us,we can still sing as perfectly as we did in the '70s". I love it.
Gary from Bonham, TxThirty years ago the band I played in played a lot of Eagles music. Nine years ago we got back together for a reunion after a lenghthy separation of careers and raising families. We have continued to have at least two reunions each year in different settings and continue to play the songs of one of the best groups ever. That would be the Eagles. We are giving a free concert Saturday night in a small east Texas town where the people still love to hear the Eagles music. Yeah we're considered old by most accounts, but we're still playin' that rock and roll and havin' fun. Life is GOOD!!!!!
Dc from Hilo, HiThat's so funny that Youtube played a small part in that song being recorded for this album. And funnier that Glenn Frey's kids were razzing him about his long hair back in the day.
Derek from Cambridge, New ZealandThis song just goes to prove that The Eagles haven't lost any of their magic... and a great album too!!!