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September 5, 2009

Seven Bridges Road

I recently acquired an Eagles discography which has every song they did from 1980 to the present. There are a lot of 'best of' albums in the list which bear a lot repetition but I do not mind burning up the disk space.

I was very interested in finding the a cappella song Eagles performed called Seven Bridges Road. To my surprise, it is very hard to find. Wikipedia:
The song was recorded live by Eagles for their Eagles Live album in 1980; the single, b/w a live version of The Long Run, reached #21 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. (A version of this recording remastered for DTS appears as a DTS-only bonus track on the DVD version of Eagles' Hell Freezes Over reunion concert video.) However, Eagles never recorded or released a studio cut of the tune.

"Seven Bridges Road" is the title of a song written by Steve Young that he recorded in 1969 for his Rock Salt & Nails album. The definitive version is the cover recorded by Eagles in 1980 which still receives significant airplay on classic rock stations.

Apparently, it is a real road in Montgopmery, Alabama and Young recalls the significance of the road.
"I lived in Montgomery, Alabama, in the early 60s and had a group of friends there that showed me the road. It led out of town and after you had crossed seven bridges you found yourself out in the country on a dirt road. Spanish Moss hung in the trees and there were old farms with old fences and graveyards and churches and streams. A high-bank dirt road with trees. It seemed like a Disney Fantasy at times. People went there to park or get stoned or just to get away from it all. I thought my friends had made up the name 'Seven Bridges Road.' I found out later that it had been called by that name for over a hundred years. That people had been struck by the beauty of the road for a long time, however, this is not the official name of the road. It is a 'folk name.'

He adds,
I never dreamed that anyone would understand or like this song. I played it for the first time one night in Montgomery and it got a big reaction. I was very surprised and thought it just because it was a local known thing and that was why they liked it.
"It is really not a commercial song. I still don't understand why people like it so much. In 1968 I was recording an album for A&M Records. The producer wanted me to interpret songs. He didn't really want me to do any originals but we ran out of songs and I started singing Seven Bridges.

Ironic isn't it? A song that he was just messing around with ends up being an Eagles hit. This reminds me of the album that Sheryl Crow put out with the song All I Want to Do and how she wasn't going to put it on her album. Her brother said it had a catchy beat and that he thought it was a good tune so she ended up putting it on the label. It ended up being a big hit with her fans.

I think the reason it became such a big hit when Eagles sang it is because, well, they are the freaking Eagles. Rita Coolidge, Joan Baez, Ian Matthews, FireHouse, Ricochet, Dolly Parton, Tracy Nelson, Alan Jackson, and Whiskey Falls have all covered Seven Bridges Road but I don't think they even come close to sounding as good as Frey, Henley, Walsh and Schmit.

So, if you are trying to find this great single, do not check on any albums recorded in a studio. The only place to find it is on an album they recorded in 1980 and on the Hell Freezes Over DVD.

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