Eagles Reject Social-Ladder Climbing on ‘Busy Being Fabulous’

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Eagles spent the second half of the ’70s focusing on the rock half of their country-rock sound. But they returned to the country part of the quotient on their 2007 album Long Road Out of Eden, and in particular the single “Busy Being Fabulous.”

Like “Life in the Fast Lane,” “Busy Being Fabulous” is a critique on how the trendy scene can strip a person of their soul, only in this case the narrator hasn’t found the on-ramp. Don Henley takes on the voice of a husband who returns to an empty house with a note from his wife saying she’ll be out late. He then excoriates her for spending too much time “out on the town with all of your high-rollin’ friends” at the expense of their relationship, alleging infidelity. “You were just too busy being fabulous,” he sings in the chorus as his bandmates harmonize behind him. “Too busy to think about us.

In the song’s video, the band pulls double duty, playing a Los Angeles party so fancy that its hosts can afford the Eagles while the band members watch everything go down from other spots.

Henley meanders through the crowd, Glenn Frey is stationed behind the bar and Timothy B. Schmit walks around serving drinks and flirting with a group of women until a tray of champagne flutes winds up on him. Meanwhile, Joe Walsh keeps an eye on the door with help from a monkey, who lifts the wallet from a passed-out guest and slips it to the guitarist.

That narrative is intercut with scenes of the dejected husband wandering around his broken home and ends with the band laughing about the night over drinks at a long table.

Watch Eagles’ Video for ‘usy Being Fabulous’

While the song failed to make the Billboard Hot 100 when released in January 2008, “Busy Being Fabulous” peaked at No. 12 on the Adult Contemporary chart and was a Top 40 hit at country radio – a position that had eluded them for 30 years. After reaching No. 8 on the country chart in 1975 with “Lyin’ Eyes,” no songs from Eagles’ classic era reached the Top 40, although “New Kid in Town” came close at No. 43 in 1976.

Then came Long Road Out of Eden, the band’s first album of new studio material since 1980’s The Long Run. Its lead single, the J.D. Souther-penned “How Long,” hit No. 23 on the country chart. “Busy Being Fabulous” almost reached the same position, stalling at No. 28.

 

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