The Top Ten Songs by the Eagles

Some bands have a song that has become so iconoclastic that everyone assumes it is the best thing that band ever did. Such is the case with The Eagles’ “Hotel California.”

“Hotel California” definitely rates in the Top Ten Songs By The Eagles, but not to number one. It is the band’s relatively unknown song “The Last Resort” that sets the bar by which all their other songs must be measured.

The song is a swipe at suburbia and the cookie-cutter mentality of the home designers and suburbanites. And, I have listened to the song dozens of times as I made my way past identical-looking condo and townhouse developments in Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Chicago.

But perhaps even more key to the song is the anti-expansionist mentality that it promoted. The final line of the song sums it up best, “You call someplace Paradise, kiss it goodbye,” At issue is taking a beautiful piece of unspoiled land, in the case of the song a piece of Southern California, and have people start building there to escape the city drudgery that they have already built and the next thing you know, the Paradise is just another city.

The song is The Eagles’ best because it addresses the political and social issues of the time with beautiful harmonies and a memorable tune.

The number two song on the list would have to be “Seven Bridges Road”. This may be the most relaxing pop song ever released. It relies almost entirely on the harmonies of voice and is quietly uplifting without being nauseatingly pushy and encouraging.

“Hotel California” actually makes it to number three on my list, largely because of the enormous number of metaphors used in the song. I like that it challenges the intellect on the average listener and that most people who love the song probably have not ever taken the time to understand some of the more obscure references in the song, including “We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969” which is widely believed to be a reference to the development of Anton LaVey’s Church of Satan and its creation in 1969.

The song is icon in rock music with an intro reminiscent of Spanish guitars and the melodic twists of an unsavory subject.

“Take It Easy” is easily number four in my mind, because of a trip through Winslow, Arizona, my junior year in college. We were on our way to Flagstaff for a journalism convention, but there was no way we were going to miss a chance to take a picture “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona”.

“Desperado” is another of my favorite Eagles’ songs and comes in at number five. No matter when or where I hear it, it calls to mind the Old West and a simpler way of life. It also serves as a reminder to appreciate the things we have.
Ever a fan of the ballads, I would have to put “The Sad Cafe” at number six on the list and “Best of my Love” at number seven.

To round out the top ten, I have to pay tribute to the other end of the spectrum, the more rocking songs. At number eight, I would list, “Life in the Fast Lane”. Again, the social commentary of the music appeals to me as much as the harder edge does.

My top ten ends with tributes to broken hearts and doing what is necessary to survive. Number nine is “Lyin’ Eyes” and number ten is “Victim of Love”, both testimonials to what happens when love doesn’t quite work out the way you planned.
All in all, I can’t say that the music of The Eagles is particularly happy, but it does touch a deep chord in my heart and soul and remind me that music can have a message that people need to hear.

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