Eagles Desperado album photo shoot – Dec. 18, 1972

The Eagles’ Desperado album photos were taken at the Paramount Ranch western film set in Agoura Hills by Henry Diltz, and Gary Burden was the album cover graphic designer. The album was recorded in London at Island Studios with Glyn Johns as their producer. Glyn had recorded the first Eagles album, too. (Bill Szymczyk would later take over as producer beginning with their next album, On the Border.) The Desperado album was released Apr. 17, 1973 and is their 2nd album. As a promotion, stagecoaches were used to deliver albums to radio stations in LA, San Francisco, Denver, and Seattle.

Paramount Ranch was destroyed by the Woolsey Fire in November 2018. Photos of the old west film set are near the bottom of this page.

“The gear they got really could have been worn by John Wayne because it came from the same rental place that supplied all the big movies. The band loved those clothes so much, they refused to return some of them, which must have cost David Geffen…”

Henry Diltz, photographer

In the 2012 documentary “Who Shot Rock and Roll” Henry Diltz talks about the Desperado photo shoot. That Henry Diltz clip is below. Also, Henry talks about the Desperado photo shoot in the segment below from “Library After Dark – A Conversation with John Van Hamersveld & Henry Diltz” of Feb 13, 2020 at the El Segundo Public Library in California.

Interviews:

Glenn and Randy are interviewed by Redbeard for “In the Studio with Redbeard” about this album and the On the Border album. Randy shares a funny story about the guys riding their horses. The Redbeard interview is on the “Livestreams, Podcasts, and Interviews with Randy Meisner” page on this website. Also, on this Desperado post (farther down this page) is the short video clip from the Laurel Canyon documentary of all four Eagles riding horses. And, there is a Cameron Crowe interview with Glenn Frey for a publication called “Zoo World” below.

Desperado trucker:

A desperado trucker held the office manager at Elektra Asylum Records in New York hostage for two hours on Mar. 20, 1980 until a New York radio station DJ played “Desperado” on the air for him. The New York Post did a 40-year follow-up story on the desperado trucker.

Henry Diltz remembers the Desperado photo shoot

“Who Shot Rock and Roll”
2012

“Library After Dark – A Conversation with John Van Hamersveld & Henry Diltz”
Feb 13, 2020

Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon

More readable song info farther down on this page

Photo used for album cover

Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, and Bernie Leadon

Desperado billboard on Sunset Strip and the photo used for the billboard

Randy Meisner, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Bernie Leadon

Eagles Desperado photos

Jackson Browne, Boyd Elder (in white coat), Randy Meisner, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Bernie Leadon

Bernie Leadon

Henry Diltz getting the shot he wants

Jackson Browne

Eagles Desperado album photo shoot
JD Souther and Jackson Browne
Eagles Desperado album photo shoot
JD Souther
Eagles Desperado album photo shoot
Don Henley
Eagles Desperado album photo shoot
Glenn Frey
Eagles Desperado album photo shoot
JD Souther and Bernie Leadon
Eagles Desperado album photo shoot
Bernie Leadon
Eagles Desperado album photo shoot
Glenn Frey
Eagles Desperado album photo shoot
Bernie Leadon

Randy Meisner

Larry Penny, Richard Fernandez, and Tommy Nixon

John Hartmann

John Hartmann and Glyn Johns

Henry Diltz

JD Souther

Boyd Elder, Larry Penny, and Gary Burden

Foreground: Gary Burden
Background: Randy Meisner, Bernie Leadon, Don Henley, and Glenn Frey

A short clip from the Laurel Canyon documentary with Randy and the Eagles on horseback

Screenshots of Randy on horseback

Desperado album photo shoot
Desperado album photo shoot

“This shot of the Eagles was taken the day we did their Desperado album cover out in Agoura Hills. It never really got used in connection to the album art, but I’ve always really liked it. That day we all really went back to the 1800’s… a complete time warp.” per Henry Diltz

Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner

Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner

Eagles Desperado album photos

Standing L-R: Gary Burden, Larry Penny, Richard Fernandez, Boyd Elder, Tommy Nixon, John Hartmann, and Glyn Johns

Standing L-R: Gary Burden, Larry Penny, Richard Fernandez, Boyd Elder, Tommy Nixon, John Hartmann, and Glyn Johns

Standing L-R: Gary Burden, Larry Penny, Richard Fernandez, Boyd Elder, Tommy Nixon, John Hartmann, and Glyn Johns

Standing L-R: Gary Burden, Larry Penny, Richard Fernandez, Boyd Elder, Tommy Nixon, John Hartmann, and Glyn Johns

The photo chosen for the back of the album cover

Standing L-R: Gary Burden, Larry Penny, Richard Fernandez, Boyd Elder, Tommy Nixon, John Hartmann, and Glyn Johns

Boyd Elder, who is in the photos above, was the designer of the Eagles albums with the skulls on the covers. He received a Grammy nomination for the best album cover art for his artwork on the “One of These Nights” album.

The Odessa American (Odessa, TX) – Aug. 2, 1987

There are no accompanying articles, only the text below each picture. Since the Desperado album was released April 17, 1973, most likely these promos occurred right at that time.

Cashbox magazine – June 2, 1973
Randy Meisner is second from left, and Glenn Frey is third from right.

Billboard magazine – June 2, 1973

These two photos were taken when Glenn and Don stopped by WNEW-FM radio station in New York to promote the new Desperado album. The Eagles were in New York to record the concert at Central Park that was televised on the Good Vibrations TV show that aired Aug. 23, 1973. Radio station visits like this were necessary to promote their albums.

Since the image of the back cover of the album (shown above) is really hard to read, here is the list of songs with the writers and lead vocals noted.

From Wikipedia

Cameron Crowe interviews Glenn Frey about the Desperado album

ZooWorld – Sept. 13, 1973
Zoo World was a bi-weekly music magazine published between Jan. 1972 and Jan. 1975 in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Cameron Crowe was a contributor.

The Cleveland Scene – May 3-9, 1973

“But the Eagles aren’t mere imitators; they’re innovators in this colorful new genre of music, and their musicianship is comparable to few others.”

Springfield Leader and Press (Springfield, MO) – May 20, 1973

“Listening to Randy Meisner wail, you are never sure if he’s singing about a guitar or a gun, and then you realize it’s probably both.”

Phonograph Record magazine – June 1973

Arcadia Tribune (Arcadia, CA) – July 5, 1973

The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, CA) – July 29, 1973

The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, IN) – Aug. 2, 1973

Vidette-Messenger of Porter County (Valparaiso, IN) – Aug. 23, 1973

Eagles Desperado album
Cashbox magazine – Oct. 5, 1974
Eagles Desperado album
The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) – Nov. 14, 1976

The LA Times (Los Angeles, CA) – Sept. 30, 1979

garyburdenforrtwerk.com

Uncut Magazine – May 2007
The Henry Diltz photo shoot is featured in this 4-page article.
(Click on each image to enlarge. The pdf version is better for reading the text.)

Pg. 78

Pg. 79

Pg. 80

Pg. 81

Uncut Magazine – June 2013
UNCUT Magazine and the story of how the Desperado album came about
(Click on each image to enlarge. The pdf version is better for reading the text.)

Pg. 26

Pg. 27

Pg. 28

Pg. 29

Sound Man pg 199 excerpt

From the book “Sound Man” by Glyn Johns – pg. 199

“As a 21st birthday present, our friend and fellow musician Ned Doheny had given Jackson Browne a big coffee-table-type book of photos of the famous outlaws of the Old West. Jackson showed the book to JD and Glenn and suggested that they all collaborate on a song about some of these outlaws.”

Rolling Stone – June 10, 2016

The Tennessean – Apr. 22, 2022

Jim Ed Norman, a member of Shiloh with Don Henley, was the arranger and conductor for the orchestra who performed Desperado with the Eagles in 1973.

pdf version

Linda Ronstadt’s version of Desperado on the Don Kirschner show in 1974


Paramount Ranch old west buildings before fire destroyed them

Paramount Ranch destroyed Nov. 2018 by Woolsey Fire

“While the damage was still being assessed, officials confirmed that Paramount Ranch’s ‘Western Town,’ a landmark film location dating to 1927 that included a jail, hotel and saloon, burned to the ground.”

Woolsey Fire story from the Honolulu Star – Nov. 16, 2018


A Desperado trucker held the office manager hostage at Elektra Asylum Records in New York for two hours on Mar. 20, 1980.
40-year follow-up on Desperado trucker story

Central New Jersey Home News (New Brunswick, NJ) – Mar. 21, 1980

“Police said that during the episode, Rivera asked for a sandwich and wanted to hear the song ‘Desperado.’ The song was played on radio station WPLJ-FM, with disc jockey Jimmy Fink calmly announcing, ‘This is Desperado for the desperate trucker’.”

Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX) – Mar. 21, 1980

2 thoughts on “Eagles Desperado album photo shoot – Dec. 18, 1972

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    1. Thanks! A little while ago I remembered I had the video from Laurel Canyon, so I just posted that very short segment of the guys riding the horses.

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