The Long Run (song)

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"The Long Run"
Single by Eagles
from the album The Long Run
B-side"The Disco Strangler"
ReleasedNovember 27, 1979
Songwriter(s)Don Henley, Glenn Frey
Producer(s)Bill Szymczyk
Eagles singles chronology
"Heartache Tonight"
"The Long Run"
"I Can't Tell You Why"

"The Long Run" is a song written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey and recorded by the Eagles. The sound of the song is viewed as a tribute to the Stax / Memphis rhythm and blues sound.[2] It was the title track of their album The Long Run and was released as a single in November 1979. It reached No. 8 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in early 1980.[3] It was the second of three singles released from The Long Run album, preceded by "Heartache Tonight," which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in November 1979, and followed by "I Can't Tell You Why," which also reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100, in the spring of 1980.[3]


According to Don Henley, "The Long Run" was written in part as a response to press articles that said the Eagles were "passé" as disco was then dominant and punk emerging, inspiring lines such as "Who is gonna make it/ We'll find out in the long run". He also said that irony was part of the inspiration, as the song is about longevity and posterity while the group "was breaking apart, imploding under the pressure of trying to deliver a worthy follow-up to Hotel California".[4]


Billboard describes "the Long Run" as "a midtempo rocker with a rather straightforward rhythmic delivery and a catchy lyrical hook towards the end."[5] Billboard also praised the "tight, well crafted orchestration.[5] Cash Box said that the song is an "upbeat cut" but that "Don Henley's raspy vocals suggest subtle tension with the theme of survival."[6] Record World praised "Henley's affecting vocals."[7] In his book The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made, music critic Dave Marsh called the song a complete ripoff of the 1972 R&B record "Tryin' to Live My Life Without You".[8]

Music Video[edit]

A music video was produced from the song, featuring the band playing in a staged recording session. The line-up was the same as the studio version, except that Joe Vitale plays the Hammond organ in place of Don Felder, and no electric piano is featured.[9]


Chart performance[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Popular culture[edit]

  • The song was featured on the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati on the episode "The Doctor's Daughter". Specifically, Dr. Johnny Fever decides to air the recording and his programming director Andy Travis is hysterical with delight that his popular DJ is playing a then-hit record for once.[19]


  1. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2001). All Music Guide: The Definitive Guide to Popular Music. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780879306274.
  2. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "The Long Run > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "The Long Run > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  4. ^ Browne, David (June 10, 2016). "Eagles' Complete Discography: Don Henley Looks Back". Rolling Stone.
  5. ^ a b "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. December 1, 1979. p. 52. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  6. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. December 1, 1979. p. 20. Retrieved 2022-01-01.
  7. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. December 1, 1979. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-02-11.
  8. ^ Dave Marsh (7 May 1999). The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. Hachette Books. p. 332. ISBN 9780306809019. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
  9. ^ Eagles - The Long Run (1979) Video, retrieved 2023-09-05
  10. ^ "RPM Volume 32 No. 19, February 02 1980". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  11. ^ "RPM Volume 32 No. 19, February 02 1980". Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  12. ^ "Eagles - The Long Run". Retrieved January 31, 2010.
  13. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 175. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 77.
  15. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 2/02/80". Archived from the original on 2018-02-12. Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  16. ^ "Top 100 Singles (1980)". RPM. Archived from the original on 2016-04-25. Retrieved 2017-07-21.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1980/Top 100 Songs of 1980".
  18. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1980". Archived from the original on 2018-09-28. Retrieved 2017-10-22.
  19. ^ "Untitled".