Don Henley’s vocal performance on the Eagles famous “Desperado” is broadly recognized as one of the most untouchable lead vocal displays of the rock era, but there’s just one little puzzle: Henley doesn’t believe so. He denied his lead vocal on that track in a discussion with Billy Joel in 2015, stating he wishes he could perform it again.
During his performance at 92nd Street Y in New York City on Sept. 20, 2015, Henley felt very intimidated in front of the crowd and didn’t feel that he had given his best.
“That was recorded in London, England, in a cavernous studio with the London Symphony Orchestra,” he recalled, adding, “I was terrified, and they were just bored sh-tless.”
Producer Glyn Johns “wouldn’t allow us to do more than four or five takes,” Henley recollected, although he desired to keep singing.
The older orchestral performers were so jaded, “they had brought chess boards with them,” Henley described. “Each pair of players would set a chessboard up between them, and when we weren’t doing any takes, they would play chess. That’s how bored they were.”
Eagles will issue their live album and concert film Live From the Forum MMXVIII on Oct. 16.
You can watch the interview below: