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 (film).
On the Border
The Eagles - On the Border.jpg
Studio album by the Eagles
Released March 22, 1974
Recorded Record Plant Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Olympic Studios, London
Genre Rock,[1] hard rock
Length 40:29
Label Asylum
Producer Bill Szymczyk, Glyn Johns
the 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

On the Border is the third studio album by American rock group the Eagles, released in 1974. Apart from two songs produced by Glyn Johns, the album was produced by Bill Szymczyk as the group wanted a more rock‑oriented sound to their album instead of the country rock feel of the first two albums.[2] It is the Eagles first album to feature guitarist Don Felder. The album reached No. 17 on the Billboard album chart and has sold 2 million copies.

The album also released three singles, "Already Gone", "James Dean" and "Best Of My Love". The singles reached No. 32, No. 77 and No. 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 some vinyl LPs reads: "He who hesitates is lunch".


The album was initially produced by Glyn Johns and recorded at Olympic Studios, London, but during the making of the album, disagreement arose between the band and the producer. 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.[3] The band, Glenn Frey in particular but not Don Henley, was also unhappy with the no-drug policy of Johns during the recording,[4] furthermore they did not feel at home recording in London.[5] The band spent six weeks recording in London, with both the band and the producer becoming frustrated with each other.[6] The band then took to a break, decided to find a new producer, and discarded all the recordings except for two usable tracks, "Best of My Love" and "You Never Cry Like a Lover".[2]

The band relocated back to California and hired Bill Szymczyk, who had previously produced two rock albums by Joe Walsh (he would later join the band in late 1975) that interested the band.[2] The band recorded the rest of the album at the Record Plant Studios in Los Angeles. The band wanted more input how the album was made, and Frey felt that they enjoyed more freedom with Szymczyk in the making of the album.[5][7] Szymczyk suggested they bring in a harder-edged guitarist to add slide guitar to the song "Good Day in Hell". Bernie Leadon suggested his old friend Don Felder, whom they had met and jammed with on a few occasions. The band was so impressed that they invited Felder to become the fifth Eagle.[8] The only other track on this album on which he appeared was "Already Gone".[9] They credited him as a late arrival on the album's liner notes.

On the difference in sound between Johns' and Szymczyk's productions, Henley said: "There’s a lot less echo with Bill, for one thing. There’s more of a raw and funky presence. Glyn had a stamp he put on his records which is a deep echo that is really smooth like ice cream". He thought that the production on the two songs Johns that produced was good and necessary.[5] Frey however found that L.A. country-rock records were "all too smooth and glassy", and wanted a "tougher sound".[10] Their friend and collaborator J. D. Souther ascribed the change of producer to "Eagles’ desire to get more of a live, thin sound on the albums".[5]

The first two singles release were more rock-orientated; Frey was reluctant to release Johns-produced "Best of My Love" as a single and held off its release for some months. However, when it was finally released, the label had truncated the song so that it would be more radio-friendly without the band's knowledge or approval.[11] The song would become their biggest hit thus far, and their first No. 1 on the charts.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B+[12]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[13]


In an early review, Janet Maslin of Rolling Stone found the album "competent and commercial", but was disappointed that it did not live up to the potential for bigger things shown in Desperado. She also thought that with three guitarists in the band, there were "just too many intrusive guitar parts here, too many solos that smack of gratuitous heaviness. Many of the arrangements seem to lose touch with the material somewhere in mid-song." Overall, she judged the album "a tight and likable collection, with nine potential singles working in its favor and only one dud ("Midnight Flyer") to weigh it down," and that it's "good enough to make up in high spirits what it lacks in purposefulness."[14] William Ruhlmann of AllMusic noted in his retrospective review the R&B direction in its title track that would be pursued more fully in later albums, and considered the album "which looked back to their earlier work and anticipated their later work" to be "a transitional effort that combined even more styles than most of their records did."[1]


The album became the band's most successful album of the three released thus far. It entered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 50 in its first week of its release,[15] peaking at No. 17 in its sixth week on the chart.[16] The album certified Gold by the RIAA after two months of its release on June 5, 1974,[17] and was eventually certified double Platinum on March 20, 2001.[18]

Track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Already Gone" (Jack Tempchin, Robb Strandlund) – 4:15
    • Lead vocal by Glenn Frey, Lead guitar by Glenn Frey, Guitar solos by Glenn Frey and Don Felder Ending dual guitar solo by Glenn Frey and Don Felder
  2. "You Never Cry Like a Lover" (J.D. Souther, Don Henley) – 4:00
    • Lead vocal by Don Henley, lead guitar (uncredited) by Bernie Leadon
  3. "Midnight Flyer" (Paul Craft) – 3:55
    • Lead vocal by Randy Meisner, Slide guitar by Glenn Frey, Banjo by Bernie Leadon
  4. "My Man" (Bernie Leadon) – 3:29
    • Lead vocal and pedal steel guitar by Bernie Leadon
  5. "On the Border" (Henley, Leadon, Glenn Frey) – 4:23
    • 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) – 3:38
    • Lead vocal by Glenn Frey, Lead guitar by Bernie Leadon
  2. "Ol' '55" (Tom Waits) – 4:21
  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) – 4:25
    • Lead vocals by Glenn Frey and Don Henley, Lead and slide guitar by Don Felder
  5. "Best of My Love" (Henley, Frey, Souther) – 4:34
    • 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.[19]

"On the Border"[edit]

This track was inspired by the Watergate scandal and fears 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.[20] Nixon would indeed resign five months after the release of the album.

"Ol' 55"[edit]

David Geffen played a demo of 3 songs from Tom Waits to Frey, and Frey loved the song, took it to Henley suggesting that they split the vocals on the song. Frey said: " It’s such a car thing. Your first car is like your first apartment. You had a mobile studio apartment! “Ol’ 55” was so Southern California, and yet there was some Detroit in it as well. It was that car thing, and I loved the idea of driving home at sunrise, thinking about what had happened the night before."[21]


Additional musician


Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b c William Ruhlmann (1974-03-22). "On the Border - Eagles | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-05-23. 
  2. ^ a b c Richard Buskin (September 2010). "The Eagles 'Hotel California' Classic Tracks". Sound on Sound. 
  3. ^ William Ruhlmann. "Eagles". AllMusic. 
  4. ^ History of the Eagles. 2013. Event occurs at 38:00–39:20. 
  5. ^ a b c d David Rensin (September 24, 2015). "Eagles: 'We were too busy trying to find a good restaurant' – a classic interview from the vault". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ David Rensin (September 24, 2015). "Eagles: 'We were too busy trying to find a good restaurant' – a classic interview from the vaults". The Guardian. 
  7. ^ Andrew Vaughan (February 1, 2015). The Eagles FAQ: All That's Left to Know About Classic Rock's Superstars. Backbeat Books. ISBN 9781617136238. 
  8. ^ Felder, Don; Holden, Wendy (2008). Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974–2001). Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-4704-5042-0. , 110-13.
  9. ^ William Ruhlmann. "On the Border". AllMusic. 
  10. ^ Crowe, Cameron (September 25, 1975). "The Eagles: Chips off the old Buffalo". Rolling Stone. The Uncool. Retrieved March 8, 2016. 
  11. ^ Eliot, Marc (2004). To The Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles. Da Capo Press. p. 112. ISBN 9780306813986. 
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert. "The Eagles: On the Border". Robert Christgau.com. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian David (2004). Eagles. Simon and Schuster. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  14. ^ Janet Maslin (May 23, 1974). "On The Border". Rolling Stone. 
  15. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard. April 20, 1974. 
  16. ^ "Billboard 200". Billboard. June 1, 1975. 
  17. ^ Eliot, Marc (2004). To The Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles. Da Capo Press. p. 111. ISBN 9780306813986. 
  18. ^ a b "American album certifications – Eagles – On the Border". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  19. ^ Gary Graff, Daniel Durchholz (June 15, 2012). Rock 'n' Roll Myths: The True Stories Behind the Most Infamous Legends. Voyageur Press;. ISBN 9780760342305. 
  20. ^ ‹See Tfm›The Very Best of the Eagles (CD). Eagles. Warner Music Group. 2003. R2 73971. 
  21. ^ Cameron Crowe (August 2003). "Conversations With Don Henley and Glenn Frey". The Uncool. 
  22. ^ "Eagles – On The Border". Discogs. 
  23. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 5062a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  24. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Eagles – On the Border" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  25. ^ "Eagles | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart
  26. ^ "Eagles / Awards". Allmusic. 
  27. ^ "Eagles Album & Song Chart History – Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 
  28. ^ "Eagles Album & Song Chart History – Easy Listening". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 
  29. ^ "RPM100". RPM. 
  30. ^ "RPM Pop Music Playlist - Volume 22, No. 25". RPM. February 15, 1975. 
  31. ^ "British album certifications – Eagles – On the Border". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter On the Border in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search