The Long Run (1979)


 
1. The Long Run 2. I Can't Tell You Why 3. In the City 4. The Disco Strangler 5. King of Hollywood 6. Heartache Tonight 7. Those Shoes 8. Teenage Jail 9. The Greeks Don't Want No Freaks 10.The Sad Cafe

 

When a band is falling apart, yet somehow manages to release something as masterful as Hotel California, you can't help but not be surprised when they experience a major burnout. This is exactly what happened to The Eagles, and it took them almost three years to come up with a follow up record. To be fair, it did go to number one and it did produce three top ten singles, but you have to honestly ask yourself if this was because of the quality of the record, or simply because they had etched themselves in everyone's mind as simply one of the best bands of the decade.

The guys sound tired, out of touch and, frankly, out of ideas. They would later admit this and the whole record seems forced. Bassist Randy Meisner was the latest casualty, and in his place was former Poco member Timothy B. Schmidt. Schmidt's one writing credit comes from the same lone song that he sings, I Can't Tell You Why which is one of the best things on the album. They definitely slow down the pace on the song and, as good as it initially sounds, it does wear thin after several listens. The same criticism could be applied to the title track which seems to be a bit bluesy-Memphis sounding. Joe Walsh's slide guitar on top of the band's harmonies knock the song up a notch, but it really doesn't rival much that the band had released at this point. Glenn Frey seems to never want to distance himself too far from the sound of the band's early days, and he puts out a successful sing-along honky-tonk rant in Heartache Tonight. This one actually sounds o.k. after one has consumed several alcoholic beverages.

So that takes care of the singles. So what else is left? Sadly, not much. One listen to the awful The Disco Strangler and/or The Greeks Don't Want No Freaks will tell you just how desperate this band was when trying to write songs for this album. They actually sound like they're not even trying. Then they try too hard with King of Hollywood that essentially has the same theme as the song Hollywood Waltz from One of These Nights yet it's nowhere near as good, or even interesting as the song it tries to copy. Also in the "leftover" department is Joe Walsh's In the City that sounds o.k., but it's always a bit ironic when a band "re-releases" a song by one of its members that they already covered as a solo artist (Walsh did it solo on the soundtrack to the movie The Warriors).

Teenage Jail and Those Shoes both have some interesting themes and hooks that keep things interesting, but even on those tunes, it sounds like they were being stretched mighty thin. To be fair, the album's closer The Sad Cafe is a pretty good, somewhat overlooked track. It seems to be a good closer to an album, or in this case, a closer to a career. It was sad indeed to see these guys go away.

There would be a tour, and it would be massively successful, yet the band basically imploded on the road. They were just all sick of one and other and getting under everyone else's skin. It was a bit of shame that they had to go out this way. Of course, financially the album was a "success" and no one seemed to mind the lack of quality at the time. It's only in hindsight that it seems a bit lackluster. Then again, had they packed it up after Hotel California, people would have complained that they "quit while they were at their peak". After the breakup of this band, Don Henley quipped that they would get back together when "Hell Freezes Over". Although no one knew it at the time, he would be proven wrong, to the delight of everyone, about a decade and a half later.

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