When he sits down to write a song, the composer has a unique opportunity in front of him. The lyric sheet provides an open canvas for the artist to write about anything they could imagine. It can be abstract, it can be fiction… and sometimes it can be a real person.
Instead of just combing through their own personal psyches, these bands have crafted fantastical tunes based on what’s really going on around them. Although it seems like the easiest way to write about something that’s already happened, the real power of the song is in the details. Whether it’s someone they know, something they read, or even one of their own inspirations, these lyricists have abandoned the more artistic lyrical approach to give the listener detailed accounts of something. which they considered artistically powerful.
Throughout each of these songs, you find notes of anger, pride, love and even grief depending on the band’s performance. Regardless of artists’ feelings about it, these people have certainly got on the nerves of musicians who have seen them. It may be good, bad, or indifferent, but each of these everyday people will now have their name carved into the music world for decades to come.
Any time you put on an Eagles record, you can just safely turn off your brain and settle into the pleasant grooves of the California sun. However, don’t let that fool you into thinking there’s no depth to the band’s lyrical approach.
Midway through the band’s third effort At the border, Guitarist Bernie Leadon brings his singing talents to the ballad “My Man,” the subject matter of which is more heartbreaking than you might think. Before joining the California band, Leadon had been one of the founding members of the Flying Burrito Brothers, led by country rocker Gram Parsons. As Leadon reached greater heights with Glenn Frey and Don Henley, news broke midway through the record cycle that Parsons had died after a morphine overdose.
In grief, Leadon poured out his soul in “My Man,” which was dedicated to Gram’s memory. Throughout the track, Leadon reflects on the hell out of his former bandmates and how his music could bring any listener to the brink of tears. “My Man” may be a low point in the Eagles discography, but it remains a poignant tribute to a fine rocker whose light was extinguished too quickly.