My father was a professional musician, specifically an outlaw country lead guitarist (that means a LOT of Willie and Waylon), and we grew up utterly surrounded by music and its various bits and pieces. One upside: we always had a really great stereo system. One downside: carrying amplifiers.

Amplifiers are HEAVY, especially when you’re a kid.

My father and I stopped agreeing on music about the time I was in middle school, when I shifted from the country and oldies stuff he and Mom listened to (Conway Twitty – barf. Faron Young – OMG NEVER AGAIN!!), to my own pop music. My mother, in her infinite wisdom, actually nudged me into this shift when she gave me this album for Christmas.

This would have been Christmas of 1976, when I was twelve and still listening to Tammy Wynette and Buddy Holly on the radio. By the time I started 8th grade the next fall, I’d seen Star Wars dozens of time, had feathered my bangs, had a couple more Eagles albums (heloooo Hotel California and Desperado), and one Eagles song had made a substantial dent in my worldview, one that has not wavered in more than 40 years.

That song is The Last Resort.

EAGLES – The last resort from Wagner on Vimeo.

It’s the last song on Hotel California, on the B-side, rather long (I think it was also the B side on the Life in the Fast Lane’s 45RPM which my aunt Deanie gave to me at some point—probably my birthday—during the summer of ’77). I have every pre-breakup Eagles song memorized and can sing almost all of them acapella without a bit of hesitation, but The Last Resort is by far my favorite. It still makes me cry as I belt it out while cooking supper or folding laundry or simply taking a walk through town. It’s one of the few Don Henley songs I sing well (Glenn Frey is closer to my natural key).

You can leave it all behind and sail to Lahaina
Just like the missionaries did so many years ago
They even brought a neon sign ‘Jesus is Coming’,
Brought the white man’s burden down, brought the white man’s reign

Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine?
‘Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here
We satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny and in the name of God

This song made me aware of the environment and what we’ve done to it, and it helped me break away from religion. It’s reinforced my internal belief system and it, along with a Jackson Browne song (which I’ll post about some other day, I don’t need the potential drama right now *cough* Rebel Jesus *cough*), established my unwavering defiance to greed, corruption, and wasting resources, stances which have remained true for nearly all of my conscious life.

As Don sings, There is no more new frontier, we have GOT to make it here.

I say basically this same truth to someone almost every day of my life.

Fwiw, I’ll probably tackle P!nk next. Maybe. 😉

Love you all! <3

Lead photo on Visualhunt.com

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