One of These Nights is the fourth studio album by the Eagles, released in 1975. The record would become the Eagles’ first number one album on Billboard’s album chart in July that year, and yielded three Top 10 singles, “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes” and “Take It to the Limit”. Its title song is the group’s second number one single on the Billboard Hot 100. The album sold four million copies and was nominated for Grammy Album of the Year. A single from the album, “Lyin’ Eyes”, was also nominated for Record of the Year, and won the Eagles’ first Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
One of These Nights is the last Eagles album to feature guitarist Bernie Leadon, who was later replaced by Joe Walsh. Leadon left the band after the One Of These Nights tour. The seventh track, “Visions”, is the only Eagles song on which lead guitarist Don Felder sang the lead vocals, despite his desire to write and sing more songs. The album was the band’s commercial breakthrough, transforming them into international superstars and establishing them as America’s number one band. They went on a worldwide tour to promote the Album.
The Eagles began working on their fourth album in late 1974. Glenn Frey and Don Henley wrote four of the nine songs by themselves, and they also collaborated with other members of the band on three other songs. Many of the songs were written while Frey and
Henley were sharing a house in Beverly Hills, including “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes”, “Take It To The Limit” and “After The Thrill Is Gone”. Henley joked in an interview with Cameron Crowe that it was their “satanic country-rock period” because “it was a dark time, both politically and musically” in America, referring to the turmoil in Washington and disco music starting to take off. He added: “We thought, “Well, how can we write something with that flavor, with that kind of beat, and still have the dangerous guitars?” We wanted to capture the spirit of the times.”
Frey said that “One Of These Nights was the most fluid and ‘painless’ album [they] ever made”, and thought that the quality of the songs he wrote with Henley had improved dramatically. However, Leadon was becoming increasingly unhappy during the making of the album. He wrote three of the nine songs, none of which was released as a single. He was unhappy with the more rock direction of the band that Frey preferred, at one time walking out of a meeting to discuss which take to use after the recording of a rock track. Leadon would leave the band in late 1975, after the album was released.
Frey also began to sing less as a lead singer starting with this album, singing solo lead on only one song (“Lyin’ Eyes”) and sharing lead vocals with Henley on another (“After the Thrill Is Gone”). Henley later said: “[Glenn] was generous in that respect … If I began to do more than he did, it was because if someone had a strong suit he would play that card. ‘You sing this, you sing it better,’ that kind of thing.” Randy Meisner sings lead on two songs, one of which, “Take it to the Limit”, a composition he co-wrote with Frey and Henley, was released as the third single from the album. It is the only Eagles single on which Meisner sings lead.
The cover for the album is an image of an artwork by Boyd Elder, also known as “El Chingadero”. Elder created artwork of painted skulls in the early 1970s, and pieces of his work, titled “American Fetish”, were exhibited in an art gallery in Venice, California in 1972. Among those who attended the opening were members of the Eagles who performed “Witchy Woman” at the show, an early appearance by the band as the Eagles. Elder was also a friend of the album cover designer Gary Burden, who had been responsible for the Eagles’ three previous albums and who was interested in using one of Elder’s pieces for this cover. Elder presented two of his works to the Eagles in Dallas in late 1974, one of which was then chosen for the cover of One of These Nights. Later another work of Elder, an image of an eagle’s skull, would be used for the cover of Their Greatest Hits album. The painted animal skull motif was also used in the cover for their compilation album The Very Best of, and the skull of One of These Nights was used for the cover of the documentary History of the Eagles.
The album cover for One of These Nights is the last Eagles album design on which Burden was involved. He made the skull stand up off the page by debossing large areas together with detailed and elaborate embossing in the wings and feathers. According to Burden, the cover image represents where the band was coming from and where they were going – “The cow skull is pure cowboy, folk, the decorations are American Indian inspired and the future is represented by the more polished reflective glass beaded surfaces covering the skull. All set against the dark eagle feather wings that speak of mysterious powers.” The album artwork received a Grammy nomination for Best Album Package.
Stephen Holden of Rolling Stone, in an early review of the album, expressed a liking for the album for its relative lack of conceptual pretension compared to the Eagles’ previous albums, but did not consider it a great album. He thought the band’s ensemble playing “unprecedentedly excellent” but they “lack an outstanding singer”, and that while “many of their tunes are pretty, none are eloquent.” He added: “And for all their worldly perceptiveness, the Eagles’ lyrics never transcend Hollywood slickness. Their hard rock has always seemed a bit forced, constructed more from commercial considerations than from any urgent impulse to boogie. And when the Eagles attempt to communicate wild sexuality, they sound only boyishly enthused. These limitations, however, seem built-in to the latter-day concept of Southern California rock, of which the Eagles remain the unrivaled exponents.
“The Rolling Stone Album Guide judged the album to be the band’s “most musically adventurous outing yet, flirting with disco on the title song, a waltz on “Take It to the Limit”, and bluegrass psychedelia on Leadon’s “Journey of the Sorcerer”.
William Ruhlmann of AllMusic in a retrospective review was more favorable; he thought that it had more original material and that the material was more polished. He wrote: “One of These Nights was the culmination of the blend of rock, country, and folk styles the Eagles had been making since their start; there wasn’t much that was new, just the same sorts of things done better than they had been before. In particular, a lyrical stance—knowing and disillusioned, but desperately hopeful—had evolved, and the musical arrangements were tighter and more purposeful. The result was the Eagles’ best-realized and most popular album so far.”
The album first entered the Billboard 200 chart at No. 25 the week of its release, and climbed to No. 1 in its fourth week on the chart, where it then stayed the next four weeks. It is the first of the four consecutive No. 1 albums by the Eagles. The album was certified Gold three weeks after its release on June 30, 1975, and it received its 4× Platinum certification on March 20, 2001, signifying shipment of over 4 million copies in the United States.
Don Felder (vocals, guitar, slide guitar)
Glenn Frey (vocals, guitar, piano, harmonium)
Don Henley (vocals, drums, percussion, tabla)
Bernie Leadon (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin, pedal steel-guitar)
Randy Meisner (vocals, bass)
David Bromberg (fiddle on 04.)
Albhy Galuten – Synthesizer on 03.)
Jim Ed Norman – piano on 05. + 06.)
The Royal Martian Orchestra conducted by Jim Ed Norman (04.)
01. One Of These Nights (Henley/Frey) 4.51
02. Too Many Hands (Meisner/Felder) 4.43
03. Hollywood Waltz (B.Leadon/T.Leadon/Henley/Frey) 4.04
04. Journey Of The Sorcerer (B. Leadon) 6.40
05. Lyin’ Eyes (Henley/Frey) 6.22
06. Take It To The Limit (Meisner/Henley/Frey) 4.49
07. Visions (Felder/Henley) 3.58
08. After The Thrill Is Gone (Henley/Frey) 3.56
09. I Wish You Peace (Davis/B. Leadon) 3.45