|Song by Eagles from the album Desperado|
|Released||April 17, 1973|
|Writer(s)||Glenn Frey and Don Henley|
|Desperado track listing|
"Desperado" is a song written by Eagles group members Glenn Frey and Don Henley. It appeared on the 1973 album Desperado and numerous compilation albums. It was one of the groups best known songs and ranked No. 494 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
According to Henley, Desparado was based on a song he started in 1968. The song originally had lyrics about a friend named Leo. Then, in 1972, after recording the album Eagles  Henley played Frey the unfinished version of the song and said: "When I play it and sing it, I think of Ray Charles and Stephen Foster. It’s really a Southern Gothic thing, but we can easily make it more Western." With Frey's assistance the song became "Desperado" and according to Henley "was the beginning of our songwriting partnership."
The song was recorded at Sarm West Studios in London, with musicians from the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra was conducted by Jim Ed Norman who also wrote and arranged the strings for the song.  Henley was intimidated by the large orchestra and said: " I didn't sing my best..........I wish I could have done that song again."
"Desperado" is one of the Eagles' most famous songs, and it was ranked No. 494 on the Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004. It was voted the No. 2 favorite Eagles song in a poll of Rolling Stone readers. In 2000 the song was listed in MOJO magazine's list of greatest songs. Members of the Western Writers of America included it in their list of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
William Ruhlmann of AllMusic considered one of Eagles' major compositions.  Paul Gambaccini of Rolling Stone felt it was Henley's rough voice that made the song memorable. The song finally charted on Billboard after the death of Glenn Frey, when it reached No. 20 in the Rock Digital Songs section.
- Don Henley - lead vocals, drums
- Glenn Frey - piano, backing vocals
- Bernie Leadon - electric guitar, backing vocals
- Randy Meisner - bass, backing vocals
- Jim Ed Norman - string arrangement
- Johnny Rodriguez's version on his 1976 album Reflecting was released as a single, and reached No. 5 on both the Country Singles charts of Billboard in the United States and RPM in Canada.
- Clint Black on the Eagles tribute album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles. His rendition peaked at No. 54 on Hot Country Songs in 1993 in the US, and No. 52 on the Country chart in Canada.
- Diana Krall covered the song on her 2015 album Wallflower and released as a single in September 2014. The song debuted on Billboard's Jazz Digital Songs chart at No. 3.
- Alisan Porter performed the song as a competitor in the tenth season of The Voice TV series. Her version of the song charted on Bubbling Under Hot 100 at No. 9, and No. 24 on Digital Songs.
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- Linda Ronstadt on her 1973 album Don't Cry Now. Henley credited Ronstadt with popularizing the song, calling her version "poignant, and beautiful".
- Miranda Lambert performed the song at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors as a tribute to the Eagles.
In popular culture
- Horn, David; Shepherd, John, eds. (2012). Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. 8 – Genres: North America. Continuum. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-4411-6078-2.
- "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 17, 2006.
- Cameron Crowe (August 2003). "Conversations With Don Henley and Glenn Frey". The Uncool.
- Travis Smiley. "Glenn Frey Tribute – Part 1". PBS.
- Graeme Thomson (May 21, 2014). "The Eagles on Desperado: "We were quite taken with the idea of being outlaws..."". Uncut.
- Paul Verna (July 10, 1993). "Eagles Songs Get Country Coverage". Billboard.
- Bob Doeschuk (September 21, 2015). "10 Things We Learned From Billy Joel's Interview With Don Henley". Rolling Stone.
- "Desperado by Eagles". Song Facts.
- "Readers' Poll: The 10 Best Eagles Songs". Rolling Stone. July 29, 2015.
- Colin Blackstock (July 13, 2000). "Beatles head list of greatest songs". The Guardian.
- Western Writers of America (2010). "The Top 100 Western Songs". American Cowboy. Archived from the original on 10 August 2014.
- William Ruhlmann. "Eagles: Desperado". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation.
- William Ruhlmann. "Song Review - Eagles: Desperado". AllMusic.
- Paul Gambaccini (May 10, 1973). "Desperado". Rolling Stone.
- "Rock Digital Songs". Billboard. February 6, 2016.
- "Johnny Rodriguez: Awards". AllMusic.
- "Country Playlist: Volume 27, No. 1" (PDF). RPM. Library and Archives Canada. April 2, 1977.
- "Hot Country Songs: November 27, 1993". Billboard.
- "Country Tracks: Volume 58, No. 24" (PDF). RPM. Library and Archives Canada. December 25, 1993.
- Brian Mansfield (September 22, 2014). "Premiere: Diana Krall covers 'Desperado'". USA TODAY.
- "Jazz Digital Songs". Billboard. October 11, 2014.
- Brian Cantor (May 24, 2016). "Chance The Rapper, Alisan Porter, J Balvin Score Debuts on Bubbling Under Hot 100". Headline Planet.
- "Digital Songs". Billboard. June 4, 2016.
- History of the Eagles. 2013. Event occurs at 54:15–54:45.
- Sophie Schillaci (December 30, 2015). "Miranda Lambert Covers The Eagles' 'Desperado' In Show-Stopping Kennedy Center Honors Performance". Entertainment Tonight.
- Dave Tobener (December 23, 2014). "The Best One-Time Character in 'Seinfeld' History". The AP Party.