♫ Desperado ♫ (Redux)

A few nights ago, I played One of These Nights by the Eagles, and I noted then that Desperado is my all-time favourite Eagles song.  A few readers agreed with me, so tonight, as it is late and I am tired, I am taking a shortcut and reduxing this song. 

You know how some songs get stuck in your head and just refuse to leave?  This one does that to me periodically.  This, and Girl From Ipanema.  And these days, of course, Fool on the Hill.

Don Henley began writing parts of this in the late ’60s, but it wasn’t arranged into a song until his songwriting teammate Glenn Frey came along. It was the first of many songs Henley and Frey wrote together.

Henley explained in the liner notes for The Very Best of the Eagles: “Glenn came over to write one day, and I showed him this unfinished tune that I had been holding for so many years. I said, ‘When I play it and sing it, I think of Ray Charles –  Ray Charles and Stephen Foster. It’s really a Southern gothic thing, but we can easily make it more Western.’ Glenn leapt right on it – filled in the blanks and brought structure. And that was the beginning of our songwriting partnership – that’s when we became a team.”

Desperado is a classic rock staple, but it was never released as a single.  The song has also been recorded by Linda Ronstadt, Kenny Rogers, the Carpenters, Bonnie Raitt, and Ringo Starr, but I prefer the Eagles version.

I love the lyrics to this … yes, there is a certain sadness to them … but … they are poignant and remind me of …


Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
You been out ridin’ fences for so long now
Oh, you’re a hard one
But I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin’ you
Can hurt you somehow

Don’t you draw the Queen of Diamonds, boy
She’ll beat you if she’s able
You know the Queen of Hearts is always your best bet

Now, it seems to me some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can’t get

Desperado, oh, you ain’t gettin’ no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they’re drivin’ you home

And freedom, oh freedom, well that’s just some people talkin’
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

Don’t your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine
It’s hard to tell the night time from the day
You’re losin’ all your highs and lows
Ain’t it funny how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin’, but there’s a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you (let somebody love you)
You better let somebody love you
Before it’s too late

Songwriters: Glenn Lewis Frey / Don Hugh Henley
Desperado lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

24 thoughts on “♫ Desperado ♫ (Redux)

  1. Pingback: ♫ Desperado ♫ (Redux) | The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

  2. I can understand why this song takes on a personal feeling. All too often we spend more time on those things that eventually turn out to be of little substance in favor of those we love. Thanks, Jill. A great choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent song, Jill. Love the internal rhymes. I wonder if I internalized the technique from this song without noticing it. I used it in some of my poetry. That led me to trying a completely different rhyme method, every verse started and ended with the same sound, air. I wish I had been able to get that poem published. Maybe someday…

    Liked by 1 person

        • You’re right … like many things, it is a vicious circle. Just out of college, I was trying so hard to get a job, but all I heard was “Come back when you have a years’ experience under your belt.” Finally, in frustration, I asked one interviewer, “How the hell am I supposed to get the experience if nobody will even open a door?” I got that job, and the rest is history, but I was lucky … many aren’t.


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