“Desperado” is a song by the American rock band the Eagles. The track was written by Glenn Frey and Don Henley and appeared on the 1973 album Desperado as well as numerous compilation albums. It ranked No. 494 on Rolling Stone’s 2004 list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.
The song was recorded at Island Studios in London, with musicians from the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The orchestra was conducted by Jim Ed Norman, Henley’s friend from his former band Shiloh, who also wrote and arranged the strings for the song. According to Henley, he was given only four or five takes to record the song by the producer Glyn Johns who wanted to record the album quickly and economically. Henley felt intimidated by the large orchestra, and would later express regret that he did not sing as well as he could. He said: “I didn’t sing my best … I wish I could have done that song again.”
“Desperado” is one of Eagles’ most famous songs, and it was ranked No. 494 on the Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” in 2004. It was voted the No. 2 favorite Eagles song in a poll of Rolling Stone readers. In 2000 the song was listed in MOJO magazine’s list of greatest songs compiled with songs nominated by songwriters such as Paul McCartney, Hal David, and Brian Wilson. Members of the Western Writers of America included it in their list of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
From the album Desperado
Released April 17, 1973
Recorded Early 1973
Genre Soft rock
Songwriter(s) Glenn Frey, Don Henley
Producer(s) Glyn Johns