One of These Nights
The members of the Eagles were struggling to write strong material for the band’s fourth album when, one night in the mid-1970s, guitarist Glenn Frey went out to dinner with a friend, the songwriter J.D. Souther. At their favorite restaurant next to the Los Angeles club the Troubadour, Frey noticed an attractive blonde woman out to dinner with a much older man. “Look at those lyin’ eyes,” Frey said, before immediately picking up a pen. The moment was, of course, the genesis of the Eagles’ “Lyin’ Eyes,” which Bob Buziak, the former president of RCA Records, called “among the best LA rock ’n’ roll songs ever written.” Released in 1975, One of These Nights was the Eagles most “painless” album, according to Frey, whose songwriting partnership with Don Henley was hitting new peaks. Sharing a Beverly Hills home together, the two wrote classic after classic: The sleazy dance-floor stomper “One of These Nights,” and “Take It to the Limit,” an anthem about the downsides of life on the road, co-written with Randy Meisner. While chronicling fame’s dark side can be a tired trope, Henley and Frey proved they were keen observers of life in the fast lane. “The only two people in this group who tend to think alike are Glenn and me,” said Henley, “and we’ve always wanted every song to be the best that it could be.” Working with their producer Bill Szymczyk, the band took new risks. They layered complex guitar riffs on “Too Many Hands,” and built Bernie Leadon’s banjo instrumental “Journey of the Sorcerer” into a folk-prog epic. Inspired by Al Green, Henley belted the title track with a soulful falsetto over a four-on-the-floor dance groove. Not everyone was happy with the sessions. Leadon resented Henley and Frey listening to demos and making changes without the rest of the band, and at one point disappeared from sessions for three days. He left the group in 1975. One of These Nights became the band’s first album to top the Billboard charts, producing a trio of hit singles: “One of These Nights,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” and “Take It to the Limit.” It also propelled the group to stadium-headliner status. “Although there were still disparities within the band in terms of songwriting, direction, [and more],” Henley said later, “Glenn and I now wanted to take advantage of the momentum we had going. We wanted to write more songs that would be played on the radio.” Mission accomplished.