The Eagles have released their version of my song, “I Love to Watch A Woman Dance” on their new “Long Road Out Of Eden” album. Glenn Frey sings it. Very beautifully. I’m going to speculate that he’s a romantic at heart, to sing the song as well as he does. As you may know, Don Henley recorded my song, “For My Wedding” on his last solo album, “Inside Job.” I sent him a CD of several other songs at that time. He and Glenn called me in 1999 to say that they were doing another Eagle’s album and would be recording ILTWAWD on it. That was 8 years ago, and a lot of silence in between. I’m not sure, but I think that they recorded it at that time, as Don Felder mentions the song in his book about life as an Eagle. They may have re-recorded it after the Felder/Eagles split, but I’m not sure. My dealings with The Eagles are through their business people and not direct, though over the years I’ve enjoyed a few conversations with Don, and Glenn lives just ‘up the street’ from me in California.
I released my version of the song on my “Dandelion Soul” album in 2000. I did tour support of that album in Europe & Japan and gigs here in New York, California and elsewhere. The only way you really know if a song is ‘working’ or not, is when you play it live. You can feel every second of an audience’s response when you’re up there on stage, and people seemed to love this song right from the start. I first performed it back in the 90’s, in New York, at my gigs at the Living Room on The Lower East Side. As a songwriter I use a few close friends as a sounding board, and then later live audiences to decide which songs ‘have it’ and which don’t. Just because I wrote it doesn’t always mean that it deserves to exist outside of me singing it alone in my room. But as I said, this one seemed to fly above and beyond me. As I’ve already seen from my songs being recorded by Bonnie Raitt, Aaron Neville, Rod Stewart and others, you no longer own the song after it goes into the world. There is some accurate metaphor that applies here, that relates to children growing up and leaving home. Yes, you loved them and nurtured them, yes, you wept tears of joy and anguish over them, but then they leave home, and go off and have a life of their own without you.
One new development with the internet is the guestbook forum. It gives new meaning to the phrase, “Opinions are like a**holes, everybody has one.” You can find a forum upon which to express your opinion on most anything and no one can stop you. Between some of The Eagles’ fan sites and various album reviews I’ve read a variety of opinions on my song. To take the bait and respond to negative criticisms would be a waste of time. As with anything, some people will like it and some won’t. I wrote about the inspiration for the song in the discography section of my website, which has already been quoted here and there on the web. Still, I thought I’d expand a liitle bit on the inspiration for, and history behind, writing the song.
I was in Amsterdam for the first time in the Fall of 1995. My album “Vibrolux” was selling well in Holland and I’d just done my first concert in Utrecht to support it. I wandered over to a club called Paradiso near my hotel in Amsterdam, just to get out and see some live music. Paradiso is an incredible music venue, that is a former church turned into a nightclub. The Sacred & the Profane, hand in hand. Later on I played gigs there and it is one of my favorite places to play anywhere. Maybe one of my favorite memories ever, was being the support act for Bill Wyman there (ex-Rolling Stone!) hanging out backstage talking music with him and his Brit bandmates. It was a night I won’t forget. I digress. My first night there I walked in to a packed house with a Gypsy band onstage. Not only ON stage but snaking through the crowd as well. Everyone was dancing and moving to the music. I stood at the bar and drank a few beers taking in the whole scene. Mind you, I was travelling alone and had no one to turn to to say, “Can you believe this!?” I remember there was one group of maybe six girls dancing together, holding hands in a circle. There was a guy close by who wanted very badly to be in the middle of that circle, but they weren’t paying any attention to him at all. He reminded me of myself. Tall with glasses. Not to be self-deprecating, but he wasn’t Tom Cruise and neither am I. Finally, they felt sorry for him and let him dance in the middle of their circle while they danced around him. Phew, they let him in! Maybe not all the way in, but, hey, you take what you can get in this world. Then, I noticed a girl dancing alone in that sort of hippie way. She was in a total trance. It had nothing to do with attracting anyone’s attention. She was communing with the music. She was celebrating herself and for that moment she was a million miles away. Much love to you, whoever you are, wherever you are. I went back to my room, picked up the guitar and started writing the song.
If you search ILTWAWD on YouTube there is a video of a girl dancing to The Eagles record of this song. She has a gorgeous body, and if you think I am ‘above’ feelings of lust, I’m here to tell you that I am not. I am male and I am human. Still, the girl and the moment that inspired this song was of a more spiritual nature. As the song says, “She bows her head and lifts her hands. Her hips begin to circle slowly, her eyes half closed, her face is holy. She holds the whole room in a trance…” I felt for her. What does that mean. That means that I too, have felt that “to dream sometimes is the only way, to go places you can’t get to any other way.” By the way, I am aware that rhyming ‘way’ with ‘way’ would upset any sixth grade poetry teacher. But any 7th grade poetry teacher would say, that you serve your muse and follow it even when it breaks the rules. Don had pointed out that rhyme to me back in 1999, and I re-wrote it for him several different ways. I’m going to assume that he decided to go with the original ‘flaw’ just ‘coz’, though you’d have to ask he and Glenn about that decision.
A lot can happen in eight years. I don’t think that there was ever a guarantee that there would be another Eagles album of new material. I remember standing beside Timothy Schmit in Malibu, one evening a few summers ago. I almost introduced myself and wanted to ask what the news was with my song, but I hesitated. If you live in L.A., and you have any dignity, you have to honor the privacy of the celebrated people. I’m going to bet that Timothy, Don, Glenn & Joe Walsh, wouldn’t have been able to answer my question at that time. But, the albun did get finished, and my song did make it on the album. 3 million or more people have it in their hands so far, and I hope to hear from any of you, at any time- best to you, LJM