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Kelly Clarkson Delivers Aching Eagles Cover of ‘Desperado’

The singer chose the title track from the band’s 1973 album for her latest Kellyoke performance

Kelly Clarkson soared during her rendition of the Eagle’s “Desperado,” the title track from the band’s 1973 album and one of their most enduring songs.

For the cover, the The Kelly Clarkson Show host took the stage for Friday’s episode alongside her music director Jason Halbert at the piano. While the beginning of the ballad stays close to the original’s structure, towards the end, Clarkson elevates the lyrics with her powerhouse vocals.

The performance follows Clarkson’s cover of Bloc Party‘s “Like Eating Glass” last week; the tune was the opening track on the group’s Silent Alarm LP, which released in 2015.

The initial concept for Desperado was for the Eagles to write about anti-heroes, drawing parallels between the Old West outlaw and the rock & roll lifestyle, and the title cut marked the first co-write for band members Don Henley and Glenn Frey.


“The basic premise was that, like the outlaws, rock & roll bands lived outside the ‘laws of normality,’ we were not part of ‘conventional society,’” Henley told Rolling Stone in 2016. “We all went from town to town, collecting money and women, the critical difference being that we didn’t rob or kill anybody for what we got; we worked for it. Like the outlaws of old, we fought with one another, and occasionally with the law. But I think the overriding premise was that fame — or notoriety — is a fleeting thing.”

Henley also noted that the Eagles’ version of “Desperado” went largely unnoticed until it was released later in 1973 on Linda Ronstadt’s album Don’t Cry Now.

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