Take It to the Limit (Eagles song)

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"Take It to the Limit"
European picture sleeve, crediting "The Eagles"
Single by Eagles
from the album One of These Nights
B-side "After the Thrill is Gone"
Released November 15, 1975
Format 7"
Recorded 1975
Genre Soft rock

3:48 (single version)

4:48 (album version)
Label Asylum
Writer(s) Randy Meisner, Don Henley, Glenn Frey
Producer(s) Bill Szymczyk
Eagles singles chronology
"Lyin' Eyes"
"Take It to the Limit"
"New Kid in Town"

"Take It to the Limit" is a song by the Eagles from their fourth album One of These Nights from which it was issued as the third single on November 15, 1975. It reached #4 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and was also the Eagles' greatest success to that point in the UK, going to #12 on the charts. Billboard ranked it as the No. 25 song for 1976.[1]

The song was written by Eagles' members Randy Meisner, Don Henley and Glenn Frey. Meisner, who sang lead on it, says the song began as his solo composition. As it remained unfinished when time came for the One of These Nights album to be recorded, Henley and Frey assisted Meisner in completing it.

Eagles' recording[edit]

"Take It to the Limit" is unique in the canon of the band's singles, being the sole A-side on which Randy Meisner sang lead, as well as the first A-side Eagles single on which neither Henley nor Frey sang lead. It was also the last Eagles single to feature founding member Bernie Leadon before he was replaced by guitarist Joe Walsh. The single version of the song is 3:48 in length, almost a minute shorter than the album version. "Take It to the Limit" is one of few Eagles' tracks written in waltz time. ("Hollywood Waltz", another One of These Nights tracks, the Meisner/Henley/Frey waltz "Saturday Night" (co-written with Leadon) from the 1973 Desperado album, Frey's "Most of Us are Sad" from their self-titled debut album, Frey/Henley/JD Souther's hard-rocking "Teenage Jail" from 1979's "The Long Run" album, and Walsh's "Pretty Maids All in a Row" on the 1976 album Hotel California were other notable waltzes performed by the Eagles.)[2]

Meisner left the band after their Hotel California tour in September 1977.[3] According to the Eagles biography, To the Limit: The Untold Story of the Eagles, the song was a source of great contention between Frey and Meisner during the tour because Frey maintained that the fans loved Meisner's hitting the high notes at the end of the song. According to Joe Walsh, Meisner enjoyed performing the song, but was not fond of being told he had to sing it. During one of Meisner's last performances as an Eagle, Frey had a physical altercation with him backstage over the performance of the song. The song was revived for the Eagles' late 1999 shows at Los Angeles' Staples Center. At those shows, as well as the Eagles' Farewell 1 Tour in 2004 and 2005 and on subsequent tours, the song was sung by Frey.

The song was redone on Meisner's first solo album (Randy Meisner), with 1970s teen idol David Cassidy singing backing vocals.


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[4] 16
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[5] 6
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[6] 23
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[7] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 4
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[9] 4

Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings version[edit]

"Take It to the Limit"
Single by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings
from the album Take It to the Limit
B-side "'Til I Gain Control Again"
Released October 8, 1983
Genre Country
Length 3:50
Label Columbia
Producer(s) Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings
Willie Nelson singles chronology
"Why Do I Have to Choose"
"Take It to the Limit"
"Without a Song"
Waylon Jennings singles chronology
"Hold On, I'm Comin'"
"Take It to the Limit"
"The Conversation"

The song was covered by country musicians Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings as the title track of their duet album, Take It to the Limit, which was released in 1983.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1983–1984) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 8
U.S. Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 2
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary Tracks 31
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Preceded by
"Houston (Means I'm One Day Closer to You)"
by Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers Band
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

January 14, 1984
Succeeded by
"You Look So Good in Love"
by George Strait

Other versions[edit]

  • Dave Mason covered this song.
  • The song was covered by Jill Lancaster for the 1977 Christo documentary Running Fence.
  • The song was covered in 1977 by Etta James.
  • Cher performed the song on her first solo tour in 1979-1980 and again in 1989-1990 on the Heart of Stone Tour.
  • In 1993, Suzy Bogguss recorded the song for the album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles.
  • Sarah Dougher covered it on her 1999 album Day One.
  • Richard Marx would regularly cover this song in concert. One 1987 performance, which was filmed, included both Meisner and Timothy B. Schmit, marking the only time (outside of the Eagles' induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame) the two former Eagles and Poco bassists shared a stage. Meisner played 12-string acoustic guitar and Schmit sang backing vocals.


External links[edit]