Eagles – ‘I Can’t Tell You Why’
  • Writers: Timothy B. Schmit, Don Henley, and Glenn Frey
  • Producer: Bill Szymczyk
  • Recorded: 1978 and 1979 at Bayshore Recording Studio in Coconut Grove, Florida
  • Released: October 20th, 1979
  • Players:
    Timothy B. Schmit — vocals, bass
    Don Henley — drums, vocals
    Glenn Frey — guitar, piano, vocals
    Don Felder — guitar, vocals
    Joe Walsh — guitar, vocals
  • Album: The Long Run (Elektra/Asylum, 1979)
  • Also On:
    Eagles Live (Elektra/Asylum, 1980)
    Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 (Asylum, 1982)
    Hell Freezes Over (Geffen, 1994)
    The Selected Works 1972-1999 (Elektra/Asylum, 2000)
    The Very Best Of The Eagles (Warner Strategic Marketing, 2003)
    Eagles (Warner Music Group, 2005)
  • Sung by bassist Timothy B. Schmit, the gentle, atmospheric “I Can’t Tell You Why” was the third and final single released from The Long Run album.
  • “I Can’t Tell You Why” also had the distinction of being the first track the Eagles completed in the arduous process of recording The Long Run. It would be several weeks before the group, plagued by internal bickering, finished another song for the album.
  • Although Joe Walsh and Don Felder performed most of the Eagles’ lead guitar parts this time, it was Glenn Frey who contributed the biting, sliding guitar solos that highlight “I Can’t Tell You Why.”
  • The Long Run was the Eagles’ longest and most contentious recording. It came out three years after Hotel California, which in the 1970s was an uncommonly long break between albums.
  • The gap between albums was so long that staffers at Elektra Records referred to The Long Run as “The Long One.”
  • According to Walsh, it also took a long time to make The Long Run due to the pressure on Frey and Don Henley to top Hotel California: “When we finished Hotel California, people started saying things like, ‘You guys are amazing,’ and the album became this huge seller. It made us very paranoid. People started asking us, ‘What are you going to do now?’, and we didn’t know. We ended up on the next album in Miami with the tapes running, but nobody knowing what was going on. We lost perspective. We just kinda sat around in a daze for three months.”
  • Henley has acknowledged that The Long Run was something of a disappointment: “By and large, I don’t think it’s a very good record. We needed a vacation. We needed to take some time off and away from each other, and we didn’t do it. We just kept going until we burned out.”
  • Henley blames pressure from the record company to produce another album as the cause for the final schism between him and Frey: “We got into arguments about creativity, lyrics, and some angry words were exchanged. The crux of it was about whether or not everybody was carrying his fair share of the burden. There were the usual problems that all bands have with ego… In essence, we were all just too strung out. Everything was a drama… We needed what Aerosmith has now, a group psychiatrist.”
  • Nevertheless, The Long Run did hit Number One on the Billboard 200.


  • The Eagles called it quits when Frey left the group in late 1980.
  • All of the members went on to solo careers, with Henley’s being the most successful.
  • Frey’s solo career gained a major boost from his acting on the TV series Miami Vice and the show’s use of his song “Smuggler’s Blues.”
  • Walsh has continued to release albums and also saw fit to nominate himself for vice president of the U.S. in two separate campaigns. He’s also toured in recent years with his pre-Eagles band the James Gang.
  • The Eagles reunited in 1994 for an MTV special, a new album called Hell Freezes Over, and a lengthy world tour.
  • The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall pf Fame in January 1998.
  • Felder was fired from the Eagles in early 2001. He sued over what he claims was his wrongful termination from the group and its associated businesses.
  • Henley and Frey are among the leaders in the ongoing battle between artists and record companies to reform accounting processes.

The Eagles have continued to work steadily in recent years, and in 2007 released Long Road Out Of Eden, the group’s first set of all-new material since The Long Run.