Lyin' Eyes

Album: One Of These Nights (1975)
Charted: 23 2
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Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a woman who cheats on her husband. She is very confused and down, and tells her husband she is going to see a friend when she is actually going to meet her lover. She goes across town to meet the boy with "Fiery eyes and dreams no one can steal."

    She gets there and she falls into his arms, but has to leave to go back home. She swears someday she will come back forever, because she is happy there. As the song continues, she ponders her emotions - "She wonders, how it ever got this crazy..." She just wants to feel loved and happy but she is torn. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    James - The Hideout, PA
  • In the DVD Hell Freezes Over, the Eagles discussed this song's origins. When they were a struggling band in Los Angeles, they saw a lot of beautiful women around Hollywood who were married to wealthy, successful men, and wondered if they were unhappy. One night they were drinking in a bar (their favorite watering hole: Dan Tana's) when they spotted this stunning young woman; two steps behind her was a much older, fat, rich guy. As they were half laughing at them, Glenn Frey commented, "Look at her, she can't even hide those lyin eyes!"

    Realizing they had a song title, the band members began grabbing for cocktail napkins to write down lyrics to go with that great observation.

    In the History of the Eagles documentary, Don Henley offered a slightly different interpretation: "It was about all these girls that would come down to Dan Tana's looking beautiful. They'd be there from 8 O'clock until midnight having drinks with all of us rockers, then they'd go home because they were kept women."
  • Glenn Frey sang lead, Bernie Leadon was on lead guitar.
  • This won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
  • In 2008, an Irish prosecutor quoted the words to this song ("You can't hide those lyin' eyes...") in her closing statement at a trial involving the email lyingeyes98@yahoo.ie. The Dublin jury convicted Sharon Collins of conspiring to have her older partner and his two sons killed. Using the lyingeyes98 email, she contacted a hit man at hire_hitman@yahoo.com to do the deed, apparently unaware that emails can be traced.
  • According to Don Felder, who was a guitarist with the Eagles at the time, Glenn Frey was extremely particular about how he sang the first word in this song: "City."

    "It would either be a little early, or a little late, or the 'T' would be too sharp," he told Ultimate Classic Rock. "But every time that word goes by now and I hear it, I can appreciate the time and dedication and perseverance that it took to get it perfect."
  • Glenn Frey would sometimes slip in a dig at his ex-wife Janie when the Eagles performed this song, dedicating it to "Plaintiff," a reference to his legal battles with her.
  • This was included on the popular soundtrack to the 1980 movie Urban Cowboy, which also featured a Top 20 solo hit from Joe Walsh (who replaced Leadon as the band's guitarist in 1975, the same year "Lyin' Eyes" was released): "All Night Long."
  • "Lyin' Eyes" peaked at #8 on the Country chart, giving the Eagles their only Top 10 Country hit. Two of their other singles reached the Top 40 on the tally: "How Long" (#23) and "Busy Being Fabulous" (#28).

Comments: 69

  • John J. from Queens County, New York City,nyThis young lady is a tragic figure. I'm sure there are many who can identify with the pathway that she chose to take. She was misguided (by herself.)
    In a similar vein, I was also guilty of such behavior. I was involved with a young man who insisted that we get "secondary" lovers for ourselves. I went along with this and I myself found my own "secondary." After this, he said we should add additional
    partners for ourselves.
    Being a person who wanted only a singular relationship in my life made it beyond difficult for me.
    One day, I wandered to the piers in Manhattan and I endeavored to jump in and end it all for myself.
    Luckily for me, there were people who were passing along the way of the piers. They discouraged me. They were
    successful in their efforts to deter me. Thank God!
    I had been a tragic figure but it wasn't my time yet.
  • Bub from Devon UkAm I the only one who's always seen this differently?! I always thought that the guy she was supposed to be seeing across town was someone she fantasised about and that she doesn't actually meet with him (this is the same guy she thinks about from school). The clues to me are 'the big old house getting lonely' and shortly after she's sworn to the affair guy she'll be coming back forever, she pours herself a strong one which suggests to me she's never left the house! This explains 'thinking about the boy she knew in school' and the fact that she's 'so far gone she feels just like a fool' i.e. she can't tell what's real and what's in her head any more...
  • Raven from Alabama No Where In ParticularI looked up the song facts to actually inturpret how i felt about the song.. I didn't think the girl was cheating just to cheat and wanted actual love in her life but fell in love with a rich cold husband who only used her for sex but the part of the song "refuge has it's price" that's what I took from. The woman's been hxrt so many times an old love and a new she doesn't know how it gotten that crazy being used by so many guys..I believe she married for love but has everything she wants and needs from her cold husband so shes torn between love and someone who may provides but uses her without love and she doesn't know if itd be different in a new relationship because she doesn't know if she can trust her lover not to turn out just like her cold husband.. The friend who she knew in school was a guy who was truely in love with her but she had mixed emotions about him because she doesn't know his intensions if he only just wants to use her or he truely loves her so, she leaves him... or it could've been for a different reason.. but to me she is someone who wants love but has been cheated out of it by guys who she fell for but lyed too her with their pretty words of 'love and happiness' so she doesn't know who truely loves her and not be used.. The lying eyes part is of the guys lied to her and turned her that way, its not the womans fault imho though, unless she cheated on a guy who truely loved her then thatd be her mistake, but the reason why she doesnt divorce the husband tho is because shes trying to figure her lover out she doesn't want to be with another guy wholl just use her the same way her husband did... But i'll stick to how i saw but it is always good to see other peoples iturprititations of the song
  • Dale Reed from Friendswood, TexasI have a different take on this song than most, but I think it makes the most sense and brings a more poignant meaning.

    My take - the story is about an attractive woman who married for riches instead of love and how it led her to a life of sadness and deception. The boy she was thinking about when she was in school is the narrator of the song. He was her true love in high school, but she broke his heart by leaving him to marry a much older man for his wealth many years before.

    There are three repeats of the Chorus “You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes…” The first chorus is from the viewpoint of her rich husband after she lied to him. The second chorus is from the viewpoint of the boy “on the cheatin’ side of town” after she lied to him about intending to leave her rich husband in the future. The last chorus is from the viewpoint of the narrator. That’s why he calls her “Honey” in the last verse. The “you set it up so well…” lyrics refer to her original overall plan to leave him for a richer life and how she has never changed her deceptive ways.
  • Jeff from CaliforniaAs a young man in the 1970's, I thought this song was about the infidelity of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage. "Every form of refuge has its price" and "hands as cold as ice" suggests we should sympathize with her plight. Indeed, after the first chorus, the words continue to evoke sympathy by suggesting that her unhappiness is causing her to drink too much. She "feels just like a fool". And then the last verse is perhaps her self-realization that despite her careful arrangements, she "is still the same old girl she used to be" -- unhappy and unable to change herself. (I don't think the last verse is either her husband's or her lover's statement about her because nothing in the song suggests either one of them knew her as a young girl; the only person in the song who would know her as a young girl is her, which is why the last verse is her voice acknowledging that despite all her careful plans she is still unhappy and unable to find meaning in life.

    But then twenty years later I bought the album, which has the longer version with the two verses about the boy across town "with fiery eyes and dreams no one can steal". After they "fall together", she promises him she will be back "forever" and "leaves him with a smile".

    What a difference these two verses make! Clearly, she is lying to the boy, too, about leaving her old husband. He knows it and is not going to let her "steal his dreams". Her smile, including the smile she gave him when she left, IS a thin disguise. He knew it just as her husband knows it --- and by the end of the last verse, we know that she knows it too.

    I agree with Tom --- pure poetry.
  • Joe Cantello from GeorgiaThe single version of this song omits the verses where she travels to the other side of town to see her younger lover--and makes it appear that the woman has learned to cope with her situation by turning to drinking.
  • Libby from Johannesburg RsaI ask this question years ago & got told the answer is obvious - well I’ve spent a life time wondering so if someone want to give an opinion I’d be really happy. I can’t make up my mind if the “so far gone” is drink or if she’s pregnant seeing she doesn’t seem to sleep with the wealthy hubby(hands of ice) it’s a 50/50 call for me but would love to know what others think.
  • Graham from Australia Had the line “a man with hands as cold as ice” in my head, but couldn’t remember the song or artists. Found it here!
  • Bill Brown from North CarolinaI would dedicate Lyin' Eyes to both of my exes - - but they are dead...Y'All need some cool water down there?
  • Larry A. Rogers from Wilder Vt.Best music, harmony vocals ever heard !!!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1975 {November 2nd} "Lyin' Eyes" by the Eagles peaked at #2 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Top 100 chart, for the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "Island Girl" by Elton John...
    At the time "Lyin' Eyes" was at #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and at #30 on the Hot Country Singles chart...
    "Lyin' Eyes" won a Grammy Award for 'Best Pop Performance by a Group'...
    Between 1972 and 2003 the LA band had twenty-one records on the Top 100 chart, ten made the Top 10 with five reaching #1...
    Original band member Glen Frey passed away at the age of 67 on January 18th, 2016...
    May he R.I.P.
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the Top 10 on November 2nd, 1975:
    At #3. "Calypso"/"I'm Sorry" by John Denver
    #4. "Who Loves You" by The Four Seasons
    #5. "Miracles" by The Jefferson Starship
    #6. "Heat Wave"/"Love Is A Rose" by Linda Ronstadt
    #7. "They Just Can't Stop It (The Games People Play)" by The Spinners
    #8. "This Will Be" by Natalie Cole
    #9. "Feelings" by Morris Albert
    #10. "The Way I Want To Touch You" by Captain and Tennille
  • Ken from Louisville, KyUntil this song, Glenn Frey had played all piano parts on Eagles songs (including "Desperado"). But the band brought in Don Henley's college friend and former Shiloh bandmate Jim Ed Norman to do orchestra arraignments on several tracks. They liked several piano parts Norman had played on some country songs, so the asked him to play country-styled piano on "Lyin' Eyes"
  • Ken from Louisville, Ky"Lyin' Eyes" was the only Eagles song to make the Billboard country charts until 2007's "How Long?"
  • Tom from United StatesAn oldies station has been playing this a lot lately, and I finally started paying attention to ALL the lyrics. It only took nearly four decades.

    This song is poetry set to music. I'm in awe of this masterpiece, just reading the lyrics, without the melody. Although the music is a masterpiece too.

    There's not a wasted word in this song. Each one has a purpose. Every line packs a punch. It tells a complete story, with very few words.

    There are even double entendres, "She pulls away and leaves him with a smile". Is she pulling herself off of him, or driving away in her car? I think she is the one smiling, "your smile is a thin disguise". But it’s also the boy with fiery eyes, and the rich old man, too. They all see what's happening.

    The boy in school is not the one she hooks up with in this song. The boy in school is what could have been. She married for money, not for love, thinking money would make her happy. It didn't.

    "Ain't it funny how your new life didn't change things. You're still the same old girl you used to be".
  • Susan from Atlanta, GeorgiaI heard an interview with one of the Eagles (Glenn Frey, I think, but I wouldn't swear to it) who said that once they started writing this song, it practically wrote itself and it just kept going and going and took on a life of its own before they finally ran out of verses.

    To Mike in Hueytown, Alabama: I'd say the guy she was cheating with was the guy from school and much younger -- much younger than the husband who was being cuckolded.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThis is another example of how Glenn Frey likes to write lyrics to a title. Most pop songwriters do it the other way around. Frey also did this with "Life In The Fast Lane". He had the title first, before the lyrics.
  • Molly from Niagara Falls, NySomeone says it would make a good song for a country singer...Diamond Rio's covered it. Well, the Eagles can be country too.
  • Dt from Gulf Breeze, FlA masterpiece. I'll disagree with those who say it's too long. It's like seduction-there is no time limit, as long as it gets done right. To me, the story is being told by her old lover, "the boy she knew in school." She used her looks to marry a guy with with money, thinking that would give her everything she wanted in life, but she still desperately needs the emotional and sexual charge of a younger lover to satisfy her needs. While there is almost always some deception in relationships, I've known some women who are absolute and complete liars. "Still the same old girl you used to be."
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxGood idea for a song and well-performed, but it goes on a least a minute too long. Ditto 'Hotel California.'
  • Jane from Jinan, ChinaI'm a big Eagles fan and this one is definitely my favorite. I don't know why, because I have not been through a similar life situation it describes, but the refined lyrics and tuneful melody always strike me deeply, and its glamour never fade out after countless times of listening...I think I can truly understand the situation and feel the complicated emotions of the people inside the story. Anyway, its a genius work in my eyes.
  • Carolyn from Knoville, TnNothing says it quite like this song. A true classic!
  • Sarx from Tucson, AzFirst line bothers me.

    "City girls just seem to find out early
    how to open doors with just a smile"

    I've always heard it as "city girls," checking the lyrics it's "city girls," but wouldn't "pretty girls" make more sense?

    Jay nailed it, she's lying to her husband, she's lying to her lover, but most of all she's lying to herself, and fooling no one.

    Ken is right, "the boy she knew in school" is not her lover. May be her lost love, definitely is the road not taken.

    Stephen ask "When they sing "she pulls away and leaves him with a smile" - who has the smile? Him or her??" Both. After they make love, she opens the door "with just a smile" to go back to her husband. "She swears that soon she'll be comin' back forever," and her lover smiles because he knows she's lying. (But that's OK with him, he's happy with things as they are, and doesn't want a long term relationship, or at least not with her.)
  • Ronald from Winston-salem, N.c, NcMy 2nd favorite song of all time; only one to beat it is the #1 rock & roll song of all time - "Satisfaction" by The rolling Stones!
  • Camille from Toronto, OhI've never been a big Eagles fan, even tho they were so popular when I was a teen. To me, this song is boring, and I wouldn't hesitate to change the channel when it comes on the car radio.
  • Adam from York, PaMy dad told me once, that he saw one of the members of the Eagles later solo after the band split up. And right before he starts singing this song, he leans in close to the mike, and goes "This one's for my first wife, BITCH!
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaGreat song. Henley and Frey got the inspiration of this song from the gold-digging women @ Dan Tana's restuaraunt next store to the Troubador(in West Hollywood). That is where these women would go with their sugar daddies and party. Great restuaraunt still..
  • Anna from Hemel Hempstead, United KingdomLove this song! really clever lyrics and fantastic composition! :-)
  • Hugo from Segundo, CaThe most important thing about this song is how only a certain someone can put you out there over the stars, I mean its really has alot of meaning if you ever have any kind of relationship that you know the woman is hot and is not getting the attention she needs. But how did it ever get this crazy? She's cryin, thinkin oh God please help me! Its a "baby come home now song'. And it not about a bad woman or whore its about the women who have had just 1 or 2 men in their lives , secure women, who missed true love. I lived it it's beautiful , I 'll never forget those memories, This song is a fav ad it will be for some of you sooner or later.
  • Kim from Hawkhurst, United KingdomIt's the ultimate cheating song. And the woman is lying to everyone - especially herself. Her husband knows precisely what she is doing but she's fooling herself that he hasn't a clue
  • Tony from San Antonio, TxHere's how I see this song. Most men don't like to admit they could be attracted to "bad" women, but this song almost forces the male listener to "feel sorry" for the bad girl described in the song to the point of wanting to "rescue" her. This song tugs at the heart of a man! Guys can't help feeling "strangely" attracted to this imaginary woman. Why? Because instead of making a song about an attractive scheming "bitch" who got what she deserved, Henley & Frey, instead chose to create this "romanticized" vision of an attractive fallen woman whose poor choices caused her life to "tragically" fall apart. This way, male listeners will empathize and want to help her from her plight... Rescuing an attractive woman from herself... The ULTIMATE IMAGINARY MALE FANTASY!!..Simply put, Henley and Frey's musical brilliance created for me the greatest emotional manipulation of the male psyche in country/pop/rock history!!
  • Mayank from Ranchi, IndiaThis, in my estimation, is the greatest country song ever. Simply winning a grammy award was not enough - that's an understatement. It doesn't get any better than this when it comes to a full country song which is a package of melody, guitar, good vocals/ lyrics and a theme which still hits you with a feel-good factor though its about something bad.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxGood song, but no way did it need to be so long. It was a 4-minute song padded to 6-and-a-half.
  • Peter from San Francisco, CaROFL....Your parents used "Lyin Eyes" as their wedding song? O.K.
  • Peter from San Francisco, CaIf you live long enough you will probably live each part of this song, or be tempted to. I have the first 2 parts down.
  • Sara from Eckerty, InWhile working our boss would practice playing and singing this song, he noted that the Eagles songs were all hard to play even though they sound easy. I worked at Gerogetown Dental Lab.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyThe album version was 6 mins. & 22 secs. in length while the 45 RPM version was 3 mins. & 58 secs. I always assumed that this was because AM stations in the 1970s were reluctant to play anything that was over four minutes long. Love the final line: "HONEY, you can't hide your lyin' eyes"!!! {Also enjoyed reading all the posted comments}
  • Bobby from Joplin Mo., Moi think its tells the about a lot of people
  • Brad from Long Island, Ny@Bo, when you listen to that line at a fairly low level, it does sound like "whore", but when you turn it up, it sounds like both say "girl".
  • Mary from Motown, Msfor thirty years every single time i have heard this song it has always reminded me of a girl i had an across town relationship with while i had a girl friend. just reverse all the he and she's around and most of it fits. her name was nola. i havn't seen her in thirty years, but i remember her like it was yesterday. out of no where she contacted me yesterday. now i can't sleep and i'm playing this song.
  • Liz from Smallville, KsHe does say it
  • Blake from Tahlequah, OkI read what Bo said and sure enough no lie thats whats he says.
  • Steve from Baltimore, MdThis song is great it reminds me of my wife when she kept going out to the clubs and did not come home until the next morning and she played stupid when i asked her where she was and what she was doing
  • Natalie from Dublin, Irelandthe story goes that glenn wrote this about his first wife who cheated on him...you cant hid your lyin eyes.there must have been another boy waiting for her at the other side of town with firey eyes and dreams no one could steal
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI love this song,too. It was on the Urban Cowboy Soundtrack and It was on Lying Eyes,the movie about the cheerleader and the cheating attorney.
  • Brian from Vancouver, CanadaI think this songs about an unhappy woman whos made some poor choices and how her husband can see shes cheating on him, THERE AINT NO WAY TO HIDE YOUR LYIN EYES...
  • Leslie Ann from Port Of Spain, Trinidad And Tobagolove the music and harmonies..cant get enuff
  • Karl from Akron, , Oh One of the local radio stations here in Cleveland play this song quite a bit, but they play an edited version of it... It goes from "She gets up and pours herself a strong one and stares out at the stars up in the sky... My oh my you sure know how to arrange things" ect..ect..ect. I feel leaving out the rest of that last verse takes away the part of her life that she can only look back at at realize that she had lead a carefree life not really knowing how much she lost until it was too late, and without the whole verse it dosen't give the song a true closure.
  • Ken from Nashville, TnThere's three men in the song: The rich old man, the lover on the cheatin' side of town, and the boy she knew in school. The old man and the lover get nothing but lies. The boy she knew in school was her true love; but she, the schemer, left him to choose this lazy, crazy, "easy" life so she could "dress up all in lace and go in style." The boy she knew in school offered her true love, but not big money. He's watched her life since then and is the narrator, singer, of the song.
  • Marty from Chicago, IlThere seem to be several things the girl in the song is lying about. The final lie in the last chorus may be that she murdered her rich older husband in order to escape a loveless marriage and re-join her old boy friend and that she is is now lying to him about the murder. But the old boy friend knows it's a lie because he says "funny, you can't hide your lyin' eyes".
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlI don't think "the boy she knew in school" and the guy she's running to is the same guy. The guy she's cheating on her husband with sounds much younger.
  • Jim from Scituate, Ma"Lyin' Eyes" is about how the commen misconception that people that are rich are well off. There is a woman who is living the life of a lie. She is married to a man that has "hands as cold as ice". She finds herself night after night all alone in a mansion, drinking hard alcohol. One night she decides to go to the "cheatin' side of town" to meet an old "friend" but its an old boyfriend from school. She tells him that she'll be coming back to him, but he knows that she's lyin' and knows that she'll go back to where the moneys at. She has fallen into the pit of the highlife and can't get out and hides it behind her smile, but it's thin disguise.....
  • Bo from St Simons Island, GaListen closely (with headphones) to the last line of the last verse. While Don Henley's harmony part definitely says, "You're still the same old girl you used to be", Glen Frey sings, "You're still the same old whore you used to be"
  • Gary from Seattle, WaI heard this song was inspired by Kenny Rogers and the First Editions "Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town." That from a close friend of Glenn's.

    Enjoy, Gary
  • Patrick from Tallapoosa, GaI love this song. Would be a great song to be covered by a country artist like Toby Keith. Has the theme common for a country song.
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlGreat Cheatin song...an Eagles masterpiece
  • Jay from Brooklyn, NyThere are three lies in this song. She is lying to her husband, to her boyfriend, and to herself. She cannot hide her lies from any of them.
  • Gary from Albertville, AlI really beleive she was his misteres are maybe a call girl at first and later marrisd for his richies.Waiting for his death and get hie riches and then ahe can be with her high school love
  • Jay from Brooklyn, NyThis is a short story. It has plot and characterization and irony. I'm with Scugie -- this (along with many other Eagles songs) could be the theme of a film, TV show, or a play.
    On another note, why is it that the Eagles' great "story songs" such as Lyin' Eyes never use personal names? The only Eagles song I know that uses a name is James Dean, and that is about a real person. Their songs are usually about "I", "he" and "she". I don't know the relevence of this observation, I'm just wondering if anyone else has thought about it.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cascugie: i think that would sorta ruin it.
  • Jeanette from Irvine, Cathis is one of my favorite eagles songs.
  • Stephen from Northampton, EnglandWhen they sing "she pulls away and leaves him with a smile" - who has the smile? Him or her?? Could be either, right? I'm guessing it's him that's smiling - hope so for his sake!
  • John from Millersville, MdGreat vocals from Frey. I love this song.
  • Jerry from Brooklyn, NyBrady
    This seems a rather strange song for a wedding song since it's about a "trophy wife" cheating on her older husband; then again, years ago, my sister would occasionaly sing with local bands for weddings. One couple wanted the song "A Day in the Life of a Fool" -- which has a beautiful melody and was the theme for a 1960 Brazilian film called "Black Orpheus" which updated the Greek tragedy to Mardi Gras time in Rio. The band finally decided just to play the melody but my sister did not sing!
  • Scugie from New York City (manhattan), NyGreat lyrics, pacing, and instrumentation. My favorite rock song, period. I wonder why its theme was never made into a film, for TV or theater.

    Scugie,
    NY NY
  • Meagan from Baton Rouge, Lanice song and i also love the eagles
  • Aj from Cleveland, GaI love the Eagles.
  • Dan from Winthrop, MaHenley and Frey composed this song in a restaurant on a napkin after seeing many older men with absolutely gorgeous young women.
  • Clay from Chattanooga, TnIn the Farewell I Tour, Frey dedicated this to his "first wife...Plaintiff"
  • Brady from Fort Stockton, TxI love this song. When my parents got married in '80, this was their song. And now its one of my all time favorites
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