Music Flashback: The Eagles and “Long Road Out of Eden”

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The Eagles play the CMA Awards in Nashville, 2008 (Getty Images/Scott Gries)

The Eagles play the CMA Awards in Nashville, 2008 (Getty Images/Scott Gries)

Four years ago this week, the [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Eagles[/lastfm] album Long Road Out of Eden topped both the Billboard 200 album chart and the country album chart. It was the first Eagles album since Hell Freezes Over in 1994, and their first album containing all-new material since The Long Run in 1979 — although not all of it was new in 2007. Several songs had already been released elsewhere.

“Hole in the World” appeared as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Long Road Out of Eden; it had already appeared on the compilation Very Best of Eagles, released in 2003. Three other songs, “No More Cloudy Days,” “Do Something,” and “Fast Company,” appeared on a disc accompanying the DVD Farewell 1 Tour: Live From Melbourne that was sold only at Walmart. “How Long,” the album’s lead single and one of its best tracks, goes back even further. Written by [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]J. D. Souther[/lastfm], “How Long” had been part of the Eagles’ set lists in the early ’70s, although the band never recorded it then. (Souther did, however, on his first solo album.)

Like many double-length albums, Long Road Out of Eden would have made a fine single disc. Over its full length, however, it’s the Eagles’ White Album — songs often resemble the solo work of [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Don Henley[/lastfm] or [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Glenn Frey[/lastfm] than they do the Eagles of yore. But when the band gets it right, as on “Waiting in the Weeds,” “How Long,” and “No More Walks in the Wood,” it’s easy for a fan to remember why he dug this band for years, and why he digs them still.

What made the 2007 remake of “How Long” interesting for Eagles fans was the rare trading of verses by Henley and Frey. On this vintage version from the 1970s, [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Randy Meisner[/lastfm] takes one, too.

Experience more Music Flashbacks.

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