I got questions about the song "Desperado." Could somebody help me?

Lyrics from the song: "You've been out ridin' fences for so long - now."

Question 1---

Is it "You've been outriding fences" or "You've been out riding fences"?

Question 2---

If it's "riding fences", what does " ride fences" mean here?

What does "ride" mean here?

If it's "outriding fences", what does "outriding fences" mean?
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Comments  (Page 2) 
dimsumexpress"Righting fences" makes no sense.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that, but I do strongly agree that the lyric is "riding fences."

I'd describe it as a collocation, rather than a metaphor. Even the metaphorical butt would be "sorrer" than the real one. (They used to "ride people out of town on a rail" for that reason.)

Farmers are more given to "mending" fence/wall.

I'm sure the cowboy would also "right" the fence as necessary.

(rail fences preceded wire fences.)
Avangi my pal,
The Eagles is one of my favorite band and two of my favorite songs are "The BEst of My Love" and "Desperado"

It is my interpretation of the lyrics that "riding fences" set a metaphoric mood between the "queen of diamond" meaning a woman who is cold and hard like a diamond, and the "queen of heart" symbolizing a woman who is warm and sentimental. If he was riding fences for so long, it meant he straddled the fence and didn't want to give up either one. That how I read the lyrics. I still think "righting fences" doesn't make any sense as far as this song goes. I am sure you can find other scenarios where "righting fences" could make sense.

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses
You've been out ridin' fences,
for so long - now.
Ohh you're a hard one.
I know that you've got your reasons.
These things that are pleasin'you
Can hurt you somehow.

Don't you draw the queen of diamonds boy

She'll beat you if she's able.
You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet.
Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been laid upon your table.
But you only want the ones
That you can't get.

Ohhhh you aint getting no younger.
Your pain and your hunger,
They're driving you home.
And freedom, ohh freedom.
Well that's just some people talking.
Your prison is walking through this world all alone.

Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?

The sky won't snow and the sun will shine.
It's hard to tell the night time from the day.
And you're losing all your highs and lows
aint it funny how the feeling goes

Why don't you come to your senses?
come down from your fences, open the gate.
It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you.
You better let somebody love you.
(let sombody love you)
You better let somebody love you...ohhh..hooo
before it's too..oooo.. late.

Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Ah, I'm fond of it myself.
It never occurred to me that the character might not really be a cowboy - especially with the cold feet in the winter time.

There's surely an ample supply of metaphors - I agree that "come down from your fences, open the gate" is clearly one.

But you haven't sold me yet on straddling fences. (That hurts!)

"Out ridin' fences" is way too realistic, and does not imply straddling - to me, anyway.

I didn't mean to say that "rightin' fences" was a possible interpretation in this song.
I was reacting to your "rightin' fencesmakes no sense." (You know how I feel about context!) Emotion: big smile

Rgdz, - A.

Edit. Did you do the lyrics from memory? I always thought it was "sun won't shine."

I'll allow as how you could be right about not giving up either queen, but I'm not convinced yet.
AvangiDid you do the lyrics from memory? I always thought it was "sun won't shine."
One thing I admit I am not good at is retaining the song lyrics because I like too many songs and I tend to get lyrics mixed up. But this one is special because I practice it a lot. But I couldn't recite it from my memory. So I got the lyrics from a website and this one incorrect, just like you pointed out.

The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine. was the correct verse .
AvangiI'll allow as how you could be right about not giving up either queen, but I'm not convinced yet.

That's the beauty of song lyrics. Some song writers purposely write abstract lyrics which allows the listeners to use their imagination amd perception to interpret the words. Songs from the generation past had meanings, implied or explicit. Most of the stuff we listen to on the radio these days are mostly garbage in my opinion. As for this one, the listener may have to get into mood of the song to appreciate the lyrics. To me,
the meaning of queen of diamond and the queen of heart are pretty clear.
Don Hanley is a musical genuis who had begun writing this song many years ago but never had it finished until he met Glenn Frey. Without these two, Eagles would never existed. While we have discussed the lyrics of this song, I thought this website may be something of interests to the Eagles fans and music lovers. http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=458
MrM is right - the literal meaning is riding along the endless fences of a ranch to check that they are still standing and don't have cattle caught in them etc. Lonely and unglamorous work, indeed.

The metaphorical meaning, in the context of the song, is that the desperado has been ensuring the integrity of the fences around his heart or general being, i.e. not allowing anyone to come close to him emotionally.

Candidate for best song ever. . . imho.
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.

I'm WAY late on this. But have been trying to learn this song on guitar. I first sang it publically in about 1977 or 78. A friend who was playing at a club in San Diego invited me up to do the vocals while she accompanied on piano. It was a nice experience.

However, I'm surprised that no one here has fleshed out the diamond/heart metaphor a little more thoroughly. A diamond sparkles. It shines brilliantly. It draws attention to itself because of these qualities. It's pursued because of it's lasting beauty. A heart on the other hand, is essential to life. It connotes warmth, acceptance, forgiveness, and long-standing affection. It's place is the hearth. The home.

The Cowboy metaphor is also relevant. Not just in the sense of loner/rider/etc. But the driven, isolated, hard, work-focused man who pursues a thing of beauty, over the thing of the heart, is a theme that gets revisited in our theatre, film, and literature, fairly consistently.

And riding fences? That's just what one does as a "driven, isolated, hard, work-focused man..." You've staked a claim in the world, and you ride those fences to make sure that it's all intact. (I'm mixing in a mining metaphor now).

So, though this thread was from 2012 or so, I wanted to put in my two cents. I recently found my Queen of Hearts, now, at age 63. I'm singing this song again, for her, after our wedding.


I love the lyrics for this song. They're pure poetry. Especially the last rhyme of "rainbow above you" and "let somebody love you." It's a stirring portrait of a tough guy who has trouble accepting love. Gives me goosebumps every time.