Fast (Life in the Fast Lane) [April A2Z]

city streets night woman silhouette

He was a hard-headed man
He was brutally handsome, and she was terminally pretty
She held him up, and he held her for ransom
In the heart of the cold, cold city

Welcome to my April A-Z! I’m exploring songs by the fabulous Eagles and today’s feature is their iconic hit “Life in the Fast Lane,” which was written by Joe Walsh, Don Henley, and Glenn Frey. This song was the third single released from the Hotel California album, and it peaked at No. 11 on Billboard Hot 100 (info from Wikipedia).

Eager for action and hot for the game
The coming attraction, the drop of a name
They knew all the right people, they took all the right pills
They threw outrageous parties, they paid heavenly bills

Joe Walsh joined the band in 1975 as a guitarist and keyboardist after the departure of Bernie Leadon. A founding member of the Eagles, Leadon had become unhappy with their movement away from a country rock sound and ended up pouring a beer over Glenn’s head as a goodbye note. Walsh was warming up one day in the studio and played a riff ~ Henley and Frey immediately said it was a song and to keep it. Frey’s lyrics were inspired by a car ride he took with a drug dealer ~ Frey asked the dealer to slow down on the freeway and the dealer responded with a remark about the fast lane. Those words plus Walsh’s riff turned into “Life in the Fast Lane.”

He said, “Call the doctor, I think I’m gonna crash”
“The doctor say he’s comin’, but you gotta pay him cash”
They went rushin’ down that freeway, messed around and got lost
They didn’t care, they were just dyin’ to get off, and it was

Henley did lead vocals and drums on this song; Frey played a clavinet and did backing vocals; Walsh was on lead guitar and rhythm guitar as was Felder; and Randy Meisner played bass guitar and did backing vocals. If you recall, Don Felder was also a relatively new member, coming in for their 1974 album On the Border. That was a smash album, like their first one, making up for the meh reception of Desperado. That all paved the way for the harder rock sound of One of These Nights and Hotel California, both monster hits. Not that everyone agrees, hence we have some people labeling the Eagles as “yacht rock.”

E-trivia: Walsh was an English major at Kent State during the 1970 massacre. After that, he dropped out to pursue a music career. My good friend Professor Longhair says that the Eagles were just four guys holding back Joe Walsh.

©️2022 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted.

16 responses to “Fast (Life in the Fast Lane) [April A2Z]

  1. I remember Joe Walsh when he was with the James Gang. He was a great addition to The Eagles when he joined.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always thought this part –
    “There were lines on the mirror, lines on her face
    She pretended not to notice, she was caught up in the race
    Out every evening, until it was light
    He was too tired to make it, she was too tired to fight about it”

    shows the sad, desperation that kind of life leads to. Great song. But s

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Being too tired to have sex is one of the most common hindrances to a healthy sex life for married couples. Nothing can prepare a couple for how exhausting raising children can be.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this with us. I’m enjoying your Eagles tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such cool opening to this song! Another good one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I knew that quote was what you’ve been moving toward. Joe did a great show when I saw him solo.

    I had a friend in high school who boasted about living his life according to this song. He didn’t see the warning in it. Of course, now he’s a tee-totaling, “how do I explain trans-gendering to my daughter” Trumper.

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  7. One of my all-time favorites! It captured L.A.’s party culture of the time quite well, as well as being a darned good driving song.

    Liked by 1 person