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New Kid in Town

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"New Kid in Town"
Spanish picture sleeve
Single by Eagles
from the album Hotel California
B-side"Victim of Love"
ReleasedDecember 7, 1976[1]
GenreYacht rock[2]
Length5:04 (Album Version)
4:49 (Single Version)
Songwriter(s)Don Henley, Glenn Frey, J.D. Souther
Producer(s)Bill Szymczyk
Eagles singles chronology
"Take It to the Limit"
"New Kid in Town"
"Hotel California"

"New Kid in Town" is a song by the Eagles from their 1976 studio album Hotel California. It was written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey and J.D. Souther. Released as the first single from the album, the song reached number one in the U.S. and number 20 in the UK. The single version has an earlier fade-out than the album version. Frey sings the lead vocals, with Henley providing the main harmony vocals. Randy Meisner plays the guitarrón mexicano, Don Felder plays electric guitars, and Joe Walsh plays the electric piano and organ parts.[3] The song won the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices.


J. D. Souther initially wrote the chorus for the song.[4] According to Souther, the band thought it sounded like a hit, but he did not know what to do with it.[5] About a year later, Souther, Frey and Henley gathered for the writing of Hotel California where Souther played the song for them, and the three finished the song.[6]

Souther later said that the song came about as a result of their "fascination with gunfire as an analogy" and added that "at some point some kid would come riding into town that was much faster than you and he'd say so, and then he'd prove it." He said: "We were just writing about our replacements."[7] Similarly, Henley discussed the song's meaning in the liner notes of The Very Best Of:

It's about the fleeting, fickle nature of love and romance. It's also about the fleeting nature of fame, especially in the music business. We were basically saying, 'Look, we know we're red hot right now but we also know that somebody's going to come along and replace us — both in music and in love.'[8][5]

While the Eagles had become one of the most popular bands in the world at the time the song was recorded, the lyrics reflect their anxiety about being replaced by a more popular band.[4] The lyrics also contain references to the phony friends they acquire when they are popular but who will forget them "when somebody new comes along."[4] Sometimes the lyrics use a romantic relationship as a metaphor but this is not done consistently.[4]

Eagles' biographer Marc Eliot stated that "New Kid in Town" captures "a precise and spectacular moment immediately familiar to any guy who's ever felt the pain, jealousy, insecurity, rage and heartbreak of the moment he discovers his girlfriend likes someone better and has moved on."[9] He also suggests that it captures a more abstract theme of "the fickle nature of both the muse and the masses."[9]

Former Los Angeles Kings player Gene Carr, a friend of Frey's, speculated that he was an inspiration for the song.[10]

On Henley's first solo album, I Can't Stand Still, he references the song by singing the line "there's a new kid in town" over the rideout of "Johnny Can't Read".[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Cash Box said that "Bill Szymczyk’s production brings out the delicacy of the vocal harmonies, and the lyric here is quite effective."[12] Stereogum contributor Tom Breihan said "It’s a sad, dark, passive-aggressive song. It’s also really pretty...It’s just a self-pitying, discontented, beautifully realized sigh of a song."[4] In 2016, the editors of Rolling Stone rated "New Kid in Town" as the fifth greatest Eagles song, describing it as "an exquisite piece of south-of-the-border melancholia" and praising its complex, "overlapping harmonies."[5] These harmonies helped the song win the Grammy Award for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices.[5][13]


Partial credits from liner notes.[14]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[35] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ Kevin Fong. "Discography of Eagles". superseventies.com.
  2. ^ Masley, Ed (September 30, 2014). "10/1: 5 essential Eagles albums- 'Hotel to 'Border'". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved May 23, 2015.
  3. ^ "Liner Notes - Hotel California (The Eagles)". Glennfreyonline.com. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
  4. ^ a b c d e Breihan, Tom (October 7, 2019). "The Number Ones: Eagles' "New Kid In Town"". Stereogum. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  5. ^ a b c d Eagles: The Ultimate Guide. Rolling Stone. 2016. p. 86.
  6. ^ Browne, David (January 28, 2016). "Glenn Frey: An Oral History". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  7. ^ "J.D. Souther". Song Facts.
  8. ^ The Very Best Of (CD). Eagles. Warner Music Group. 2003. R2 73971.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  9. ^ a b Eliot, M. (2004). To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles. Da Capo Press. p. 149. ISBN 9780306813986.
  10. ^ "'New kid in town' — How a former King met the daughter he didn't know existed". The Athletic. December 5, 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2024.
  11. ^ "New Kid in Town by Eagles". Song Facts.
  12. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. December 18, 1976. p. 17. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  13. ^ "Past Winners Search: Glenn Frey". grammy.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
  14. ^ "Liner Notes - Hotel California (The Eagles)". Glennfreyonline.com. Retrieved 2014-05-24.
  15. ^ "Eagles – New Kid in Town" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  16. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5172a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  17. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 5164." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  18. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 4469." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – New Kid in Town". Irish Singles Chart.
  20. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 9, 1977" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  21. ^ "Eagles – New Kid in Town" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  22. ^ "Eagles – New Kid in Town". Top 40 Singles.
  23. ^ "Eagles – New Kid in Town". VG-lista.
  24. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  25. ^ "Eagles: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  26. ^ "Eagles Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  27. ^ "Eagles Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "Eagles Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Cashbox Top 100: February 19, 1977". cashboxmagazine.com. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  30. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Eagles – New Kid in Town" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
  31. ^ "Top 200 Singles of 1977". RPM magazine. December 31, 1977. Archived from the original on March 14, 2016.
  32. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1977". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved December 11, 2021.
  33. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1977/Top 100 Songs of 1977".
  34. ^ Billboard, December 24, 1977.
  35. ^ "British single certifications – Eagles – New Kid In Town". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 9 February 2024.

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