Single Stories: Eagles, “Witchy Woman”

Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Single Stories: Eagles, “Witchy Woman”

45 years ago today, the Eagles released the second single from their self-titled debut, a track which Elaine Benes would try and fail to make into “our song” in an episode of Seinfeld.

“Witchy Woman” was written by Don Henley and Bernie Leadon, although Leadon had actually begun the writing process while he was still within the ranks of the Flying Burrito Brothers. Once he joined the Eagles, he and Henley finished the track, which was a pretty momentous occasion, as it was the only song on the album to feature a Henley writing credit. Later, Henley would say that the song “marked the beginning of my professional songwriting career.”

To circle back to the Seinfeld reference we made in the opening paragraph, “Witchy Woman” was utilized to amusing results in an episode entitled “The Checks,” which – just to explain its title – partially revolved around the checks of miniscule amounts that Jerry was receiving as a result of appearing in the opening credits of a Japanese TV series. One of the subplots of the episode, however, revolved around Elaine having found a new boyfriend who startles her with his insistence that everyone go silent whenever the Eagles’ “Desperado” comes on the radio. Frustrated, Elaine decides to select a tune that she and her beau can call “our song,” and she goes with “Witchy Woman.” Big mistake: not only does her boyfriend refuse the suggestion, but when he’s later hustled into surgery, his surgeon – played by George Wallace – turns out to be just as enamored with “Witchy Woman” as his patient had been with “Desperado.” We don’t get to see the end results of the surgery, but we do hear the O.R. nurse say, “Doctor, I think we’re losing him!”

Yes, it’s just that absorbing a song.

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