On the Border

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This article is about the album. For the restaurant chain, see On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina. For the 1930 film, see On the Border (1930 film).
On the Border
Studio album by Eagles
Released March 22, 1974
Recorded Record Plant Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Olympic Studios, London, 1973–74
Genre Rock,[1] hard rock[2]
Length 40:29
Label Asylum
Producer Bill Szymczyk, Glyn Johns
Eagles chronology
On the Border
One of These Nights
Singles from On the Border
  1. "Already Gone"
    Released: April 19, 1974
  2. "James Dean"
    Released: August 14, 1974
  3. "Best of My Love"
    Released: November 5, 1974
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau B+[4]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[5]

On the Border is the third studio album by American rock group the Eagles, released in 1974. During the making of the album, the band experienced significant changes. As the band tried to lean towards a more hard rock sound, they felt that their producer Glyn Johns overemphasized their country-influenced rock sound.[6] After recording only two songs, the band let go of Johns and hired Bill Szymczyk. At Bernie Leadon's request they brought in guitarist Don Felder to add slide guitar to the song "Good Day in Hell". The band was so impressed that they invited Felder to become the fifth Eagle.[7] They credited him as a late arrival on the album's liner notes. The album reached #17 on the charts and sold 2 million copies. The album also released three singles, "Already Gone", "James Dean" and "Best Of My Love". The singles reached #32, #77 and #1 respectively. "Best of My Love" became the band's first of five chart toppers.

This is the first album by the Eagles to be released in Quadraphonic surround sound. It was released on Quadraphonic 8-track tape and CD-4 LP. A hidden message carved into the run out groove of vinyl LPs reads: "He who hesitates is lunch".

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Already Gone" (Jack Tempchin, Robb Strandlund) – 4:13
    • Lead vocal by Glenn Frey, lead guitar (uncredited) by Don Felder, guitar solos by Glenn Frey and Don Felder
  2. "You Never Cry Like a Lover" (J.D. Souther, Don Henley) – 4:02
    • Lead vocal by Don Henley, lead guitar (uncredited) by Bernie Leadon
  3. "Midnight Flyer" (Paul Craft) – 3:59
    • Lead vocal by Randy Meisner, slide guitar by Glenn Frey, banjo by Bernie Leadon
  4. "My Man" (Bernie Leadon) – 3:31
    • Lead vocal and pedal steel guitar by Bernie Leadon
  5. "On the Border" (Henley, Leadon, Glenn Frey) – 4:28
    • Lead vocals by Don Henley, T.N.T.S. by "Coach", claps by The Clapetts, lead guitar (uncredited) by Glenn Frey

Side two[edit]

  1. "James Dean" (Jackson Browne, Frey, Souther, Henley) – 3:37
    • Lead vocal by Glenn Frey, lead guitar by Bernie Leadon
  2. "Ol' '55" (Tom Waits) – 4:22
  3. "Is It True?" (Randy Meisner) – 3:14
    • Lead vocal by Randy Meisner, slide guitar by Glenn Frey
  4. "Good Day in Hell" (Henley, Frey) – 4:27
    • Lead vocals by Glenn Frey and Don Henley, lead and slide guitar by Don Felder
  5. "Best of My Love" (Henley, Frey, Souther) – 4:36
    • Lead vocal by Don Henley, pedal steel guitar by Bernie Leadon

Song information[edit]

"My Man"[edit]

Bernie Leadon's "My Man" is a tribute to Gram Parsons, who had died of a drug overdose in September 1973. Leadon and Parsons had been members of the pioneering country-rock band The Flying Burrito Brothers.

"On the Border"[edit]

This track was inspired by the infamous Watergate scandal and fears at the time of the government overstepping its bounds and infringing on people's privacy. Barely audible at the end of the song, Glenn Frey can be heard whispering "Say Goodnight, Dick," a line made famous by Dan Rowan of Rowan and Martin but in this case referring to Richard Nixon's resignation.[8] Nixon would indeed resign five months after the release of the album.

"Good Day in Hell"[edit]

For the recording of "Good Day in Hell", guitarist Don Felder, a long-time friend of Bernie Leadon, was called upon to perform the slide guitar. Although slide guitar on two other songs on the album (the bluegrass "Midnight Flyer" and the mid-tempo "Is It True") were performed by Glenn Frey, the Eagles' new producer Bill Szymczyk wanted to get a more experienced slide guitarist for this song.[citation needed]

The Eagles were so pleased with Don Felder's work on the song that they decided to make him an official member of the band, making them a quintet.[citation needed] He also performed the dual guitar solo with Glenn Frey on another On the Border song, "Already Gone". These are the only two songs he played on on the album and he is billed as a "late arrival".

"Good Day in Hell" was released as the B-side to the "James Dean" single on August 14, 1974.

When performed live on the band's 1976-1977 tour, Joe Walsh played a regular guitar solo during the ending of the track and dueling with Felder's slide in some parts.[citation needed]



  • "Already Gone"/"Is It True" - Asylum 11036; released April 19, 1974
  • "James Dean"/"Good Day in Hell" - Asylum 45202; released August 14, 1974
  • "Best of My Love"/"Ol' 55" - Asylum 45218; released November 5, 1974



Year Chart Position
1974 Pop Albums 17

This was the first Eagles album to chart in the UK, reaching #28.


Year Single Chart Position
1974 "Already Gone" Pop Singles 32
1974 "James Dean" Pop Singles 77
1975 "Best Of My Love" Pop Singles 1
1975 "Best Of My Love" Adult Contemporary 1

None of the above singles charted in the UK.


  1. ^ William Ruhlmann (1974-03-22). "On the Border - Eagles | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  2. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/on-the-border-mw0000193647
  3. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "On the Border". Allmusic. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert. "The Eagles: On the Border". Robert Christgau.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  5. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (2004). Eagles. Simon and Schuster. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/eagles-mn0000144847/biography
  7. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/on-the-border-mw0000193647
  8. ^ The Very Best of the Eagles (CD). Eagles. Warner Music Group. 2003. R2 73971.