Live Hits: Seven Bridges Road – The Eagles

There is moonlight and moss in the trees, Down the Seven Bridges Road

There are some songs that were bigger, sometimes a Billboard hit, in their concert recorded version. They may have a studio-recorded counterpart but the live version, in this case, was bigger. I’ll stay away from the ones that have a “fake” live audience. The last criteria, it has to be a favorite of mine.

I didn’t like the Eagles’ version at first. I thought it was too bluegrassy, too gospel. But the more I hear it, the better it sounds.

Steve Young

“Seven Bridges Road” was written and recorded by Steve Young[1] for his 1969 “Rock Salt & Nails” album. It is an ode to Woodley Road (Alabama Country Road 39), a rural two-lane road that runs south off East Fairview Avenue at Cloverdale Road, and which features seven bridges: three pairs of bridges, and the seventh approximately 1 mile south by itself.

[Him and his friends] used to go out to Woodley Road carousing around. I wound up writing this song that I never dreamed anybody would even relate to, or understand, or get. And I still don’t understand why it was so successful, actually” I don’t know [exactly] what [the] song means. Consciously… I [just] wrote…a song about a girl and a road in south Alabama. But I think on another level the song has something kind of cosmic…that registers in the subconscious: the number seven[2] has all of these religious and mystical connotations.

Steve Young

In August 1973, the album release of “Valley Hi” by Ian (Iain) Matthews[3] includes here version of “Seven Bridges Road”. The tune was recorded with a 4/4 time signature and close harmony vocal arrangement, with producer Michael Nesmith (of The Monkees) at his Countryside Ranch studio in North Hills, Los Angeles.

Ian and I put it together and [we] sang about six or seven part harmony on the thing, and I played acoustic. It turned out to be a beautiful record[ing].

Michael Nesmith

According to band member Don Felder, when the Eagles first began playing stadiums the group would warm up pre-concert by singing “Seven Bridges Road” in a locker room shower area. After, each concert would then open with the group’s five members singing “Seven Bridges Road” a capella into a single microphone.

Son of a gun if…Don [Henley] or somebody in the Eagles didn’t lift [our] arrangement absolutely note for note for vocal harmony…If they can’t think it up themselves [and] they’ve got to steal it from somebody else, better they should steal it…from me I guess.

Michael Nesmith

Felder recalls that it “blew [the audience] away. It was always a vocally unifying moment, all five voices coming together in harmony.”

Eagles Live Album Members
  • Don Felder – guitars, harmony, and backing vocals
  • Glenn Frey – rhythm guitar, keyboards, vocals
  • Don Henley – drums, percussion, vocals
  • Randy Meisner – bass guitar, vocals (1976 shows; “New Kid in Town,” “Wasted Time,” “Take It to the Limit,” “Doolin’-Dalton (Reprise II),” and “Desperado”) [He is not on the “Seven Bridges Road” recording]
  • Timothy B. Schmit – bass guitar, vocals (1980 shows; all other songs)
  • Joe Walsh – guitars, keyboards, vocals

“Seven Bridges Road” was released as a live recording from their “Eagles Live ” concert album on July 28, 1980. Released on Asylum (2051), the song reached No. 21 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The song was from the July 28, 1980 concert at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. I love the Eagles version, but the Ian Matthews (with Michael Nesmith) version is great too. My least favorite is the original by Steve Young.

Seven Bridges Road Lyrics
There are stars
In the Southern sky
Southward as you go
There is moonlight
And moss in the trees
Down the Seven Bridges Road

Now I have loved you like a baby
Like some lonesome child
And I have loved you in a tame way
And I have loved you wild

Sometimes there's a part of me
Has to turn from here and go
Running like a child from these warm stars
Down the Seven Bridges Road

There are stars in the Southern sky
And if ever you decide
You should go
There is a taste of thyme sweetened honey
Down the Seven Bridges Road

  1. Steve Young (July 12, 1942 – March 17, 2016) was an American country music singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He was a pioneer of country-rock, Americana, and alternative country sounds, and also a vital force behind the “outlaw movement” that gave support to the careers of Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, Jr., and more.
  2. The number 7 is a particularly strong symbol. In many cultures, it is considered beneficial and protective. Its mystical aspect opened the door to many beliefs and superstitions. Often considered a sacred number, the number 7 bears within it something spiritual, eternal.
  3. Iain Matthews (born Ian Matthews MacDonald, 16 June 1946) is an English musician and singer-songwriter. He was an original member of the British folk-rock band Fairport Convention from 1967 to 1969 before leaving to form his own band, Matthews Southern Comfort.


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Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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