Well, he sits up there on his leatherette
Looks through pictures of the ones that he hasn’t had yet
When he thinks he wants a closer look
He gets out his little black telephone book
Welcome to my April A-Z! I’m exploring songs by the fabulous Eagles and today’s feature is “King of Hollywood,” from their 1979 album The Long Run. Don Henley and Glenn Frey are listed as the writers. If you recall, this was the first Eagles album to feature Timothy B. Schmit, who had replaced founding member Randy Meisner, and the last full studio album to feature Don Felder before his termination from the band in 2001 over money. He hadn’t been officially fired during the “14-year hiatus” between the blowup in 1980 and the reunification in 1994 (Wikipedia).
Come sit down here beside me, honey
Let’s have a little heart to heart
Now look at me and tell me, darling
How badly do you want this part?
Are you willing to sacrifice?
And are you willing to be real nice?
All your talent and my good taste
I’d hate to see it go to waste
This may sound like Harvey Weinstein, but 1979 was before that whole scandal. Yet it’s a story as old as time, with the powerful man preying on the young and desperate. “King of Hollywood” was not one of the singles released from The Long Run (those were “Heartache Tonight,” “The Long Run,” and “I Can’t Tell You Why”), so there is no chart info for it. Unfortunately, the pressure to match the success of their 1976 Hotel California album created a lot of problems for the band. The Long Run took 3 years to produce, and they knew it wasn’t as good. “The romance had gone out of it for Glenn and me,” Henley said. “We were having fights all the time about the songs–enormous fights about one word–for days on end.” (Source: The Eagles, An American Band by Andrew Vaughan.)
We gon’ get you an apartment, honey
We gon’ get you a car
(Yeah, we’re going to take care of you, darling)
We gon’ make you a movie star
For years I’ve seen ’em come and go
He says, “I’ve had ’em all, ya know.”
I handled everything in my own way
I made ’em what they are today
E-trivia: Rumors are that Don Henley wrote this song in anger toward movie producers, as a response to a promised part in a Western he did not get (Genius). Frey quit the band after The Long Run tour, casually informing Henley during a phone chat. Their management and record company tried to keep the breakup a secret, but in 1982 Frey came out with his solo album, and everyone knew the Eagles had flown.
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