On this day (July 22) in 1947 Don Henley was born in Gilmer, Texas. Desperado was written for the Eagles by Don Henley and Glenn Frey (their very first song.) It was based on a song he had started in the style of old songs by Stephen Foster (Way Down Upon the Swanee River.) In fact, he imagined a Stephen Foster song as sung by Ray Charles.
Well, they came up with an enduring classic with instantly relatable chord changes and a compelling cowboy story. I mean, who can’t relate to ‘you ain’t gettin’ no younger’, ‘walking through this world all alone’, ‘don’t your feet get cold in the wintertime’ and letting someone love you?
Once again, this song is so much fun to play – especially this one, to which I have the following somewhat tenuous connection.
This performance is dedicated to my friend Alex McArthur, who played the heroic title role of Duell McCall in Desperado, an indelible but short-lived series of five Western TV movies in the ’80s. Throughout the film series, McCall is “a man of principle who roams the West of yesteryear helping people in trouble while struggling to get himself out of trouble—clearing himself of a false murder charge.” Don Henley performed the theme song for the series.
Bosendorfer piano sound – For this recording I’m playing a Yamaha Clavinova – which has the same keyboard action as a traditional acoustic piano, but there are no strings. Pressing a key activates (in this case) a sound which was sampled from a Bösendorfer Imperial Concert Grand piano. Try listening to it with a good set of headphones! It sounds better than any piano I’ve ever owned!!
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