The Eagles song that become a hit after 30 years

the eagles

The Eagles consistently maintained specific standards when creating songs for their albums. They didn’t automatically consider a track as suitable for inclusion between masterpieces like ‘Hotel California’. Even if one of the band’s core members penned it. Despite having to make tough decisions in their prime, one of their initial songs remained shelved for decades before its eventual release.

Glenn Frey got his start in the rock scene in Los Angeles before forming the band. Following his relocation from Detroit to the “City of Angels,” singer-songwriter J. D. Souther and Frey grew close after connecting through their girlfriends. Although Frey and Souther were originally in a duo band called Longbranch/Pennywhistle, it didn’t take long for him to start landing jobs with clients. Clients like Linda Ronstadt were among his early successes.

But once he started playing as a side artist, Frey’s group really took off when he began touring with drummer Don Henley. They formed the Eagles as the 1970s got underway. And their debut album featured Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon as the remaining members of the lineup. Souther would go on to pursue a solo career. But he would always be an important member of the core group of songwriters.

The Eagles would often write some of their best songs with the young songwriter Souther. They transformed “Victim of Love” into one of the album Hotel California’s standout deep cuts. There was an unwritten rule that the band would not cover anything that Souther saved for his solo albums. Even though they could magically transform anything he threw at them.

A song that told the tale of a man who ends up on the wrong side of the tracks. He has to watch his former flame back home rock herself to sleep. And it was called “How Long”. Even though they would play the song occasionally in their early years, up until the 2000s, it would always be a result of performing live.

With massive sweeping epics scattered throughout the track list, “Long Road Out of Eden” was the Eagles’ first album in decades. It became one of their last statements. However, his wife persuaded Frey to try his hand at ‘How Long’ before the heavy subject matter began.

Frey recalled being reminded of the song when his children discovered an online video of the band’s performance. He shared with The History of Eagles. Their comment was, “Dad, come see your hair”. His wife also recognized it as a potential hit Eagles song. Despite the passage of time since their early days, they approached the song with the expertise of seasoned veterans in the studio.

The song, which featured a vocal tradeoff between Frey and Henley, became a standout on their new album. They included it in the group’s setlist during their legacy tours, making it one of the few tracks from the album. While the Eagles initially refrained from cutting it to preserve their friendship with Souther. The song’s trademark harmonies meshed perfectly with the melody.

Listen to the song “How Long” below:




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