James Dean [April A2Z]

eagle soaring sunset sky

You were the low-down rebel if there ever was
Even if you had no cause, James Dean
You said it all so clean
And I know my life would look all right
If I could see it on the silver screen

Welcome to my April A-Z! I’m exploring songs by the fabulous Eagles and today’s feature is “James Dean,” the second single released from their 1974 album On the Border. It was written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Jackson Browne, and J.D. Souther. Henley says that Browne wrote most of it, and it was conceived as part of an “anti-heroes” album along with “Doolin-Dalton.” But Dalton appeared on their 1973 Desperado album and “James Dean” was shelved until the next one.

Little James Dean up on the screen
Wonderin’ who he might be
Along came a Spyder and picked up a rider
Took him down the road to eternity

The song was about the actor James Dean and his short, exciting life. Frey provided lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Henley did drums and background vocals, Leadon played lead guitar and did background vocals, and Randy Meisner did bass and background vocals. The song received a good reception from critics, but didn’t chart that well, coming in at 77 on Billboard Hot 100. (All info from Wikipedia.)

James Dean
James Dean
You bought it, sight unseen
You were too fast to live
Too young to die, bye bye
You were too fast to live
Too young to die, bye bye (bye bye)

E-trivia: The B-side “Good Day in Hell” is the first Eagles track recorded with Don Felder, who joined the band midway through the sessions for the On the Border.

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

11 responses to “James Dean [April A2Z]

  1. Several music researchers noted Dean’s greatest influence may have been on rock and roll, including the works of Elvis Presley.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s a new one for me! No appeal for me, but that doesn’t matter. Fun to hear the different kinds of songs Eagles has made.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I live not far from Marion, Indiana, where James Dean was born. He lived his teen years in the small community of Fairmount. They have a James Dean museum and a festival every September.

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  4. Wow! An Eagles song I’ve never heard😲 or if I did hear it, it was a long, long time ago.
    Their harmonies are so amazing. 🎶💃🏼🥳
    Bye bye 👋 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This one I like a lot. I think I put it on SLS awhile back. Another commenter mentioned the James Dean museum. My daughter used to live in Indiana and both daughters visited this museum while there. It was cool they said. 🙂

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  6. You know I watched “Rebel without a Cause” and it made me giggle. James Dean was quiet a lovely lad, lol

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