Western Music
The Lone Writer  

Western Song: Desperado

Desperado is one of the most popular songs of the American rock band the Eagles, written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley. The song not only appeared on the 1973 album Desperado but in numerous compilation albums as well. It also ranked No. 494 on Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” and was chosen as one of the Top 100 Western Songs of all time by the members of The Western Writers of America.

A few months after the Eagles’ Desperado album was issued, Linda Ronstadt recorded Desperado and released it on her 1973 album Don’t Cry Now. Even though Ronstadt’s recorded version of the song wasn’t released as a single, it exposed the song to a much wider audience, mostly females.

Desperado was inspired by a song that Don Henley started in 1968 that was written in the style of old songs by Stephen Foster. It is said that the song was originally about a friend named Leo as it began with “Leo, my God, why don’t you come to your senses…”

Popular Recordings

Various artists covered the song and some versions hit the charts. Some of the popular recordings are made by the following artists:

  • Linda Ronstadt 
  • Johnny Rodriguez
  • Carpenters
  • Clint Black 
  • Alisan Porter
  • Diana Krall
  • Kenny Rogers 
  • Judy Collins 
  • Chris LeDoux 
  • Emi Fujita 
  • Johnny Cash 
  • Superfly (band) 
  • Miranda Lambert 
  • Kristin Chenoweth

Desperado In Albums

The song has been released as well in different albums. Here is the list of albums where the song has been included in the tracklist.

  • Desperado
  • Reflecting
  • Horizon
  • Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles
  • Wallflower
  • Don’t Cry Now
  • Daytime Friends
  • Hard Times for Lovers
  • Used to Want to Be a Cowboy
  • American IV: The Man Comes Around
  • Wildflower and Cover Songs: Complete Best
  • For The Girls

Listen (Eagles Version)

Desperado Lyrics

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
You've 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
(Let somebody love you)
You better let somebody love you before it's too late

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