The Eagles returned nearly three years after the release of Hotel California and all was not well. Drug use and bickering among the group members had almost reached a climax. Original member Randy Meisner would become fed up with the mess and leave altogether. He was replaced by Timothy B. Schmidt who had, oddly enough, taken over for him in Poco a number of years before.
It was difficult at best to follow the brilliant Hotel California and the biggest selling album in U.S. music history, Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975). The anticipation leading up to their next album was tremendously high and only intensified through its two-year recording process.
The Long Run may not have had the consistent excellence of some of the group’s other studio albums, but it nevertheless contained a number of high points. It would ultimately prove to be a very popular release as it was the Number One album in America for over two months, contained three Top Ten singles including their last Number One hit, and garnered yet another Grammy award.
Joe Walsh was now firmly entrenched within the group and his dual guitar attack with Don Felder signaled an effective end to their country/rock inclinations as here they would veer in a harder rock direction.
“Heartache Tonight” which would reach Number One on the American charts, remains one of my favorite Eagles songs. The a capella type introduction and the morphing into a smooth rock song are a brilliant combination. Glenn Frey’s vocal along with Joe Walsh’s slide guitar make it a perfect Eagles track.
I am sure I am in the minority but my other favorite track from this album is the goofy “The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks.” I’m not sure how serious they were when recording this song but it gets the spirit of college or toga rock just perfect. It’s just an infectious and fun, rocking romp.
“I Can’t Tell You Why” is a showcase for new member Timothy B. Schmidt, whose lead vocal is memorable while his voice among the harmonies is effective as well. The title track bears a wistful aspect to it as Don Henley’s vocal floats above the mix. “In The City,” which finds Joe Walsh in full-on rock mode both vocally and musically — especially on the slide guitar — is a remake of his contribution to the movie, The Warriors.
The final track, “The Sad Café,” would be the group’s swan song. Henley’s bluesy vocal is enhanced by David Sanborn’s soulful sax, making for a poignant finish to what would be perceived as the end of the Eagles’ career.
The Long Run is flawed by some of its lesser songs but it also remains very listenable — especially if you want the rocking Eagles.
The group members would go their separate ways and produce a number of solo projects with varying degrees of success over the subsequent years. The bitterness of the group’s dissolution was such that they maintained hell would have to freeze over before they played together again.