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Tequila Sunrise (song)

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"Tequila Sunrise"
Single by Eagles
from the album Desperado
ReleasedApril 17, 1973
GenreSoft rock,[1] country rock
Songwriter(s)Don Henley, Glenn Frey
Producer(s)Glyn Johns, Eagles
Eagles singles chronology
"Peaceful Easy Feeling"
"Tequila Sunrise"
"Outlaw Man"

"Tequila Sunrise" is a 1973 song written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, and recorded by the Eagles. It was the first single from the band's second album, Desperado.[2] The song peaked at number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100.

A cover version was recorded by country music singer Alan Jackson on the 1993 tribute album Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles. It peaked at number 64 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.[3]


Glenn Frey and Don Henley did not write songs together for their debut album, Eagles, and they decided that they should collaborate after they had finished recording the debut album in London. In the first week of their collaboration, they wrote "Tequila Sunrise" and "Desperado".[4] According to Frey, the song was finished fairly quickly. He said he was lying on a couch playing the guitar, and came up with a guitar riff he described as "kinda Roy Orbison, kinda Mexican". He showed Henley the guitar riff and said: "Maybe we should write something to this."[5] The title refers to a cocktail named Tequila Sunrise that was then popular. In the liner notes of 2003's The Very Best Of, Henley had this to say about the song:

I believe that was a Glenn title. I think he was ambivalent about it because he thought that it was a bit too obvious or too much of a cliché because of the drink that was so popular then. I said, 'No - look at it from a different point of view. You've been drinking straight tequila all night and the sun is coming up!' It turned out to be a really great song.[6]

According to Billboard, the theme of the song is " one man's efforts at survival and having to take 'a shot of courage.'"[7] Cash Box called it "a magnificent medium tempo tune certain to become a classic" that is "highlghted by some excellent vocal harmonies."[8]

Henley said that Frey came up with changes for the bridge, and that "take another shot of courage" refers to tequila because they used to call it "instant courage." He said: "We very much wanted to talk to the ladies, but we often didn’t have the nerve, so we’d drink a couple of shots and suddenly it was, "Howdy, ma’am.""[9]

There is a live version of this song (Live ABC 1973) that Glenn Frey sings additional lyrics to the standard ending, it goes like this:

Guess I'll go to Mexico, down to where the pace of life is slow, there's no one there I know. It's another Tequila Sunrise, wondering if I'm growing wise or telling lies.

There is no information to confirm if this is just an impromptu, or if it is actually the original lyrics which they decided to leave off the original record.



Chart (1975) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[10] 68
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[11] 81
US Billboard Hot 100[12] 64
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[13] 26


  1. ^ Horn, David; Shepherd, John, eds. (2012). Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. Vol. 8 – Genres: North America. Continuum. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-4411-6078-2.
  2. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Desperado review". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 August 2010.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Hot Country Songs 1944–2012. Record Research, Inc. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-89820-203-8.
  4. ^ Travis Smiley. "Glenn Frey Tribute – Part 1". PBS. Archived from the original on February 27, 2016.
  5. ^ History of the Eagles. 2013. Event occurs at 48:30–49:00.
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. June 2, 1973. p. 62. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  8. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. June 2, 1973. p. 12. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  9. ^ Cameron Crowe (August 2003). "Conversations With Don Henley and Glenn Frey". The Uncool.
  10. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4898." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 4874." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  12. ^ "Eagles Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  13. ^ "Eagles Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.