"Life in the Fast Lane" is a song written by Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey and Don Henley, and recorded by American rock band Eagles for the band's fifth studio album Hotel California (1976). It was the third single released from this album, and peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.

"Life in the Fast Lane"
Spain cover release
Single by the Eagles
from the album Hotel California
B-side"The Last Resort"
ReleasedMay 3, 1977
Producer(s)Bill Szymczyk
The Eagles singles chronology
"Hotel California"
"Life in the Fast Lane"
"Please Come Home for Christmas"
"Life in the Fast Lane" on YouTube


The song tells the story of a couple who take their excessive lifestyle to the edge. On In the Studio with Redbeard, Glenn Frey revealed that the title came to him one day when he was riding on the freeway with a drug dealer known as "The Count".[1] Frey asked the dealer to slow down and the response was, "What do you mean? It's life in the fast lane!"[1] In that same interview, Frey indicated that the song's central riff was played by Walsh while the band was warming up in rehearsals and Walsh was told to "keep that; it's a song". Don Henley recalled that the "song actually sprang from the opening guitar riff. One day, at rehearsal, Joe [Walsh] just busted out that crazy riff and I said 'What the hell is that? We've got to figure out to make a song out of that."[1] Henley and Frey, the primary lyricists for the band, then wrote the lyrics for the song.[1]

Critical reception

Cash Box said that "with the influence of six-stringer Joe Walsh, the Eagles are harder and funkier than ever here."[2] Record World said that it's "the album's most hard-edged rocker, dominated by a Walsh-signature guitar line."[3] In 2016, the editors of Rolling Stone rated "Life in the Fast Lane" as the Eagles' eighth-greatest song.[1] In 2017, Billboard ranked the song number four on their list of the 15 greatest Eagles songs,[4] and in 2019, Rolling Stone ranked the song number eight on their list of the 40 greatest Eagles songs.[5]


Partial credits from liner notes.[6]


In 2007, Swedish country and pop singer Jill Johnson recorded the song on her tenth studio album Music Row.[7]

The song was used as the soundtrack for the roller coaster The Eagles' Life in the Fast Lane, which opened at Hard Rock Park in May 2008.[8][9]

On July 25, 2019 the rock band Hinder released their cover of the song as a non album single.[10]


Chart (1977) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[11] 12
Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)[12] 41
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 11


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[14] Silver 200,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b c d e Eagles: The Ultimate Guide. Rolling Stone. 2016. p. 87.
  2. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. May 14, 1977. p. 22. Retrieved December 26, 2021.
  3. ^ "Hits of the Week" (PDF). Record World. May 14, 1977. p. 1. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
  4. ^ Graff, Gary (October 17, 2017). "The Eagles' 15 Best Songs: Critic's Picks". Billboard. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  5. ^ "The 40 Greatest Eagles Songs". Rolling Stone. September 22, 2019. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  6. ^ "Liner Notes - Hotel California (The Eagles)". Glennfreyonline.com. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
  7. ^ "Music Row" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 2007. Retrieved May 24, 2011.
  8. ^ Cherney, Mike (May 13, 2009). "Freestyle Music Park Fills Out Offerings". The Sun News. Archived from the original on August 16, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2009.
  9. ^ Jones, Steve (August 11, 2014). "Freestyle rides headed from Myrtle Beach to Vietnam?". myrtlebeachonline. Retrieved October 27, 2017.
  10. ^ "Hinder Soar with Fresh Cover of Eagles' 'Life in the Fast Lane'". Loudwire. July 25, 2019.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5238a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 5240." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  13. ^ "Eagles Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  14. ^ "British single certifications – Eagles – Life in the Fast Lane". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved July 30, 2021.

External links