The Eagles have a vast catalog – with a wide range of success. Their offerings include some of the biggest rock hits from the ’70s and also some of the best-hidden gems from the era. Because their name-making hits have been more than picked over, we’re choosing to take a magnifying glass to those that have escaped the casual listener.
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We previously gave you a crash course on five of the best Eagles deep cuts. Now, we’re back with five more to help expand your knowledge of the country rock pioneers even wider.
The Eagles go full bluegrass on “Earlybird.” Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner penned this track for the band’s debut, self-titled record.
The intro features a spry banjo riff that leads into Leadon singing the opening line, Early in the morning About the break of day / The earlybird is working / So his life don’t fade away.
The band’s tight harmonies bolster the chorus of “Earlybird,” showcasing what made them household names in the first place. It may not be as well-known as “Peaceful Easy Feeling” or “Witchy Woman” but, “Earlybird” is a must-listen for those who deem to call themselves Eagles fans.
2. “Saturday Night”
Appearing on Desperado, “Saturday Night” is a hidden gem amongst the host of heartbreaking ballads Don Henley has performed lead vocals on throughout his time with the Eagles.
Whatever happened to Saturday night / Finding a sweetheart and holding her tight? / She said: “Tell me, oh, tell me, was I alright?” / Whatever happened to Saturday night, he sings in the chorus.
Though the title track will always take the crown when thinking of stunning down-tempo tracks on Desperado, “Saturday Night” is a worthy alternative if you want to mix it up.
3. “Ol’ 55”
Appearing on the track list for On The Border, “Ol’ 55” is a cover of a Tom Waits song. The folk singer’s spirit is still very much alive and well on the Eagles’ version with warping pedal steel and a waltzing piano melody.
Though we believe you’d be hard-pressed to find a more moving rendition of a song about a car, Waits was less than impressed with their homage.
“I frankly was not that particularly crazy about their rendition of it,” he once said (per Genius). “The song is about 5 years old, it’s one of the first songs I wrote so I felt like it was kind of flattering that somebody wanted to do your song but at the same time I thought their version was a little antiseptic.”
4. “I Wish You Peace”
The biggest songs on One of These Nights are up-tempo bangers—namely the title track and “Lyin’ Eyes.” But, the group does slow things down for a few numbers.
The most famous ballad on One of These Nights is “Take It To The Limit,” but it’s the lesser-known ballad that acts as the album’s closer, “I Wish You Peace,” that we are looking at for this list.
Leadon’s girlfriend at the time, Patti Davis (daughter of Ronald Reagan), wrote this with the Eagles member, shortly after Nancy Reagan had disowned her for choosing to shack up with Leadon.
The lyrics seem to act as a message from Davis to her mother: I wish you peace when times are hard / The light to guide you through the dark / And when storms are high and your, your dreams are low.
5. “King of Hollywood”
Glen Frey and Henley wrote this scathing diatribe against Hollywood for the album, The Long Run.
The lyrics read, Come sit down here beside me honey / Let’s have a little heart to heart / Now look at me and tell me darlin’ / How badly do you want this part?
The song has a prescient quality about it in a post #MeToo world. In any light, it’s a driving rock anthem that showcases the heavier side of the Eagles’ musicality.
Photo Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns