Song Lyric Sunday — The Queen of Hearts

For today’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams gave us Cards/Dice/Gamble/Lose/Win. There are lots of songs that covers those topics, but the one that I chose may not be that obvious. I decided to go with the Eagles’ “Desperado.” How could I not? It’s my wife’s favorite song.

Written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley, “Desperado” appeared on the 1973 album Desperado. Although the song was never released as a single, it is one of the Eagles’ best known songs. I chose it for this week’s prompt because of references to the Queen of Diamonds and the Queen of Hearts.

Ostensibly, this song is about a cowboy who refuses to fall in love, but some have suggested that it’s a metaphor about a young man who discovers guitars, joins a band, pays his dues, and suffers for his art.

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. Henley explained in the liner notes for an Eagles compilation album that, “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 and Stephen Foster. It’s really a Southern gothic thing, but we can easily make it more Western.’ Glenn jumped right on it, filled in the blanks and brought structure. And that was the beginning of our songwriting partnership. That was when we became a team.”

Linda Ronstadt, who was a huge recording star at the time, recorded this song and released her version on her album Don’t Cry Now, which was issued a few months after the Eagles version. Before the Eagles formed, members of the group played in Ronstadt’s backup band. Her recording of the song gave it a big boost.

Here are the lyrics to “Desperado.”

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses
You been out ridin’ fences for so long now
Oh, you’re a hard one
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, before it’s too late

Song Lyric Sunday — Take It Easy

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt, Helen Vahdati selected “drive/driving” as the theme. I’m a big fan of both Jackson Browne and of the Eagles, so choosing the song “Take it Easy,” written by Browne and the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, was an easy choice for me.

“Take It Easy” was the Eagles’ first single, released in May 1972. Frey sang lead vocals. It peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also was the opening track on the band’s debut album, Eagles. Jackson Browne later recorded the song as the lead track on his second album, For Everyman, in 1973. He also released it as a single.

Browne started writing this song for his first album, but he didn’t know how to finish it. At the time, he was living in an apartment in Los Angeles, and his upstairs neighbor was Glenn Frey, who needed songs for his new band, the Eagles. Frey heard Browne working on the song and told Jackson that he thought it was great. Browne said he was having trouble completing the track, and played what he had of it. Browne then played the unfinished second verse that begins with “Well, I’m a-standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…,” and Frey finished the verse with “Such a fine sight to see. It’s a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford, slowin’ down to take a look at me.”

Browne turned the song over to Frey, who finished writing it and recorded it with the Eagles. Frey says that Browne did most of the work on the song and was very generous in sharing the writing credit. He described Browne’s unfinished version of the song as a “package without the ribbon.”

I’m including the Eagles’ version as well as Jackson Browne’s in this post.

Here are the song’s lyrics:

Well, I’m running down the road
tryin’ to loosen my load
I’ve got seven women on
my mind,
Four that wanna own me,
Two that wanna stone me,
One says she’s a friend of mine

Take It easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels
drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand
and take it easy

Well, I’m a standing on a corner
in Winslow, Arizona
and such a fine sight to see
It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me
Come on, baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me
We may lose and we may win though
we will never be here again
so open up, I’m climbin’ in,
so take it easy

Well I’m running down the road trying to loosen
my load, got a world of trouble on my mind
lookin’ for a lover who won’t blow my
cover, she’s so hard to find

Take it easy, take it easy
don’t let the sound of your own
wheels make you crazy
come on baby, don’t say maybe
I gotta know if your sweet love is
gonna save me, oh oh oh
Oh we got it easy
We oughta take it easy