The Eagles with David Sanborn – The Sad Cafe Live Los Angeles 1980

Songfacts –

  • This song was written about The Troubadour, which is a music club in Los Angeles on Santa Monica Boulevard where many fledgling musicians would congregate. Don Henley and Glenn Frey met there and became friends, later began writing together and eventually recruited Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner to form a back up band for Linda Ronstadt. This band eventually became the Eagles.
  • The line, “I don’t know why fortune smiles on some and lets the rest go free” is a reference to how some people are lucky enough to get a break while other equally talented people don’t.


Out in the shiny night, the rain
was softly falling
The tracks that ran down the boulevard had
all been washed away

Out of the silver light, the past came softly calling
And I remember the times we spent
inside the Sad Cafe

Oh, it seemed like a holy place,
protected by amazing grace
And we would sing right out loud, the
things we could not say
We thought we could change this world
with words like “love” and “freedom”
We were part of the lonely crowd
Inside the Sad Cafe

Oh, expecting to fly,
we would meet on that beautiful shore in the sweet by and by

Some of their dreams came true,
some just passed away
And some of them stayed behind
inside the Sad Cafe.

The clouds rolled in and hid that shore
Now that Glory Train, it don’t stop here no more
Now I look at the years gone by,
and wonder at the powers that be.
I don’t know why fortune smiles on some
and let’s the rest go free

Maybe the time has drawn the faces I recall
But things in this life change very slowly,
if they ever change at all
no use in asking why,
it just turned out that way
So meet me at midnight baby
inside the Sad Cafe.
Why don’t you meet me at midnight, babe,
inside the Sad Cafe.


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