“One of These Nights” is a quintessential Eagles song. Co-written by frontmen Glenn Frey and Don Henley, “One of These Nights” was released as the lead single off the Eagles’ 1975 album of the same name. It took the revered band to new heights with Henley’s engaging voice, a fierce guitar solo by Don Felder and an enticing melody. Below, we look at the meaning behind one of the Eagles’ most memorable hits.
Videos by American Songwriter
Meaning Behind the Song
While the lyrics of “One of These Nights” are centered around pursuing a woman, they also serve as a metaphor for chasing one’s dreams. In between the dark and the light / Comin’ right behind you / Swear I’m gonna find you / Get you, baby, one of these nights, Henley’s voice slithers in the opening lines.
“It’s about putting things off,” Frey explained of the lyrics in an archived interview. “We’ve all said, ‘One of these nights I’m gonna do something – get that girl, make that money, find that house.’ We all have our dreams – a vision we hope will come true someday. When that ‘someday’ will come is up to each of us.
“All our records have the same theme, and that is the search,” adds Henley about how the song ties into the band’s overarching theme in their songwriting. “It doesn’t matter if it’s romance, money or security; it’s the act of looking for it. Your whole life is one long journey, and getting there is more important than the journey’s end.”
“One of These Nights” arrived not long after guitarist Felder joined the band, influencing the sound and how they wanted the song to feel. Henley said that they were trying to deviate away from their typical country-rock sound at the time. “We wanted to get away from the ballad syndrome with ‘One of These Nights,” Henley said in a 1975 interview with Rolling Stone (quote via Ultimate Classic Rock). “With Don Felder in the band now, we can really rock. He’s made us nastier and did a great guitar solo on the single.”
Frey and Henley wrote the song at a studio in Miami. Frey came up with the song’s melody on piano and Henley suggested the phrase that became the song’s title. In the liner notes of the Eagles’ 2003 greatest hits compilation album, The Very Best Of, Frey cited “One of These Nights” as his favorite song the band ever recorded.
“We had Don Henley’s voice, which allowed us to go in a more soulful direction, which made me exceedingly happy … A lot of things came together on One Of These Nights – our love of the studio, the dramatic improvement in Don’s and my songwriting,” Frey wrote. “We made a quantum leap with ‘One Of These Nights.’ It was a breakthrough song. It is my favorite Eagles record. If I ever had to pick one, it wouldn’t be ‘Hotel California’; it wouldn’t be ‘Take It Easy.’ For me, it would be ‘One Of These Nights.'”
Commercially, “One of These Nights” was a big success. It became the Eagles’ second consecutive single to hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 following “Best of My Love.” The album itself climbed to No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200, the first of four consecutive albums to achieve the feat, followed by Hotel California in 1976, The Long Run in 1979 and Long Road Out of Eden in 2007.
Photo by David Tan/Shinko Music/Getty Images