Long Road Out of Eden

Album: Long Road Out Of Eden (2007)
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Songfacts®:

  • This 10-minute opus is the title track to the Eagles Long Road Out Of Eden album, which was a long time coming - released in 2007 it was their first studio album since 1979. The song was written by group members Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Timothy B. Schmit, with Henley writing the lyric and doing the lead vocal. At the time, America was entrenched in seemingly endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Henley felt were counterproductive. In this song, he uses biblical references to describe the folly of American foreign policy under the leadership of George W. Bush. The road out of Eden seemed long, and he didn't like where it was headed.
  • Much of this song deals with the way information was disseminated in modern times. Breathless cable news anchors and clickbait internet stories had taken the place of nuanced coverage, and more than ever it was driven by moneyed interests. Henley sings:

    Weavin' down the American highway
    Through the litter and the wreckage and the cultural junk
    Bloated with entitlement, loaded on propaganda
    Now we're drivin' dazed and drunk


    He told Billboard: "I was originally going to write 'weaving down the information highway' because I get on my computer every day and there is so much crap on the Internet. It's such a big waste of time if you aren't careful. There are wonderful things on there, too - it's such a resource of knowledge and information. But, just like television, the Internet has a lot of useless crap going on. In the end I decided that it wouldn't make a lot of sense with the rest of the song just to suddenly go over and start talking about computers and the Internet. So I changed it back to American highway just to make it broader in scope. I think with the words 'cultural junk' I got my point across. I think we've cornered the market on cultural junk, pretty much."
  • Henley, Frey and Schmit started writing this song in 2001, but putting together an Eagles song is a very slow-moving process. By 2003, they had a song with a similar sentiment called "Hole In The World" ready, which they released as a single and included on their compilation The Very Best Of The Eagles. Frey and Henley got the songs "Busy Being Fabulous " and "Fast Company" finished, but "Long Road Out Of Eden" took longer because was 10-minutes long and Henley considered the lyric carefully. Finally, inspiration hit and he delivered the lyric. The album didn't appear until 2007 but was a double-disc set with 20 songs. They released it on their own label and sold it (at first) exclusively at Walmart for the low-low price of $11.88, which still let them pocket about $4 per unit because they cut out the record company. With 7 million copies sold, it was a nice payday and a great lead-up to their subsequent tour.
  • Don Henley was strongly in favor of making Long Road Out of Eden a one-disc outing, but he was outvoted. He told Billboard: "This album's not perfect. If I were king, I would have done a couple things differently. I might have left a couple of songs off and perhaps made it a single album. But we vote by committee."
  • In the first week of the album's release it sold 711,000 copies in the States, over double what Britney Spears sold for Blackout (294,000), which was released the same day.
  • When Long Road Out Of Eden topped the Billboard 200, the Eagles set a record for longest gap between successive #1 albums. Their previous set, The Long Run, came 28 years and two weeks earlier and also hit the top spot.
  • We can confirm that this is the only Eagles song with the word "brisket" in the lyric ("He said, Give me another slice of that barbecued brisket'").

Comments: 12

  • Karogar from TexasThe 23rd psalm was often recited in Vietnam , I was there in 1969. He’ll was there. Except it used to say : ... even though I walk through the shadow of death I’m not afraid cause I’m the meanest sonofabitch here.....
    Noughf said
  • Stefan from TennesseePatrick,
    You are spot on! No doubt in my mind. The spiritual references are replete throughout the entire song.
    God bless!
  • Kevin D. from Columbus, OhioI concur with what Debi LeFors and Jeff from Cleveland wrote.
    The excesses of America will do us in; we don’t need ISIS to do it for us.
  • Eddie from Long Beach, NyA fantastic song, and in my opinion, one of Joe Walsh's best guitar solos....
  • Pieter from Eersel, NetherlandsDear people, if you listen and look very carefully, this is just about greed.
    Get real and think about why soldiers still have to fight, it's all about money. Why bother with a country that won't bring a profit to our sociaty.
    I love this song, it makes us think of all the stupid things people do just to get rich
  • Patrick from Grand Rapids, Miokay people, personally i belive don henley to be a bit too intelligent to be writing a song with his only intent on the war in iraq. this is obviously a very spiritual song, with multiple biblical references besides that of eden. first of all, the long road out of eden probably refers to a leaving of paradise, as shown in the bible when cain, a wanderer, must leave to go east of eden after killing his brother. henley decribes society as wanderers in this sense, and it is worth noting that the opening music gives this impression of wandering. another reference to genesis in the line "i can't tell wrong from right," which parallels the theme of the tree of knoledge in the garden of eden. still more lines support images of the creation when he sings about "galaxies unfolding, new worlds being born." still the idea of iraq can be proved absurd because the line "been down the road to damascus, the road to mandalay; met the ghost of caesar on the appian highway." damascus is in syria, and is one of the oldest cities in the world. it also is a biblical reference, where in the book of isaiah, there is a prophacy that states the city will become a "heap of ruins." this is more than likely pointing out the direction that america is headed. mandalay is a city in burma, and has been a centerpoint of many other songs. then there is the appian way, which was the most important road in the ancient roman empire, and the story of sparticus and his slave comes from this, where they were defeated by the roman army and crusified along this path--once again giving morose imagery. it is also important to mention the reference to psalm 23 in the third line of the song. psalm 23 is about the protection god has over his people, and it calls him a shepard--perhaps another clue to the theory of wandering, and that we must be led. also, this psalm is often read at funerals, therefore showing us that sullen imagery. basically, this song is not about iraq. it is about society, particularly american society, and henley devotes an entire verse to what he calls "cultural junk." it is also about human morals and and how they are often lost in the sight of ambition, such as creating an empire, as he speaks of. i hope that settles any dispute over the matter, but please feel free to comment with any opinions on what i said.
  • Ozzy from Fresno, Cawow i was so shocked to hear them so recent and as good as ever. I like how they embraced their edgier side
  • Sean from Miami, FlThis Song rocks. And Joe... I think ur wrong about the Iraq thing. It is about Iraq. Cuz it may hav been started in 2001 but Glenn said that Don didn't come up with the lyrics till years later. Besides listen to the words in the song! Its about people in Iraq working there (enter your own word here) off while rich bussiness men dont give a (insert your own word here) about wuts happening. Also, like Debi said, the Garden of Eden is said to have been located in Iraq.
  • Joe from Evansville, Init OBVIOUSLY isnt about the war in iraq...because it was started in 2001...and it was based on what it started out as...i dont believe it would have been possible to evolve from whatever it was in 2001 to a whole song about the war.
    what greed is there about the war btw anyways...we're gona lose hella money if anything...not really gain
  • Brian from Dubois, MoI take a lot of songs for what they're worth, which may or may not be a good thing. It sounds like it's really talking about the garden of eden. What I'm saying is that since Adam and Eve were kicked out of that perfect place, we've managed to fill the world with all kinds of garbage. What have we really done but make the world a crap-tastic place to live?
  • Debi Lefors from Snyder, TxThis song is obviously about the war in Iraq. The Garden of Eden is thought by some to have been in Mesopotamia (Iraq). It parallels the sacrifices of the US soldiers daily life in Iraq to the gluttony and excesses of the average American. Don Henley is quite an observer of the greed and lust of America as a whole.
  • Jeff from Cleveland, OhI believe this song is about at the begining a soldier whos is fighting while people here in the states could give a rats hind quarters what that man is doing, but im quite sure there is underlying things in the song (sorry about any spelling mistakes).
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