That Time an Eagles Song Diffused a Hostage Situation

On this date, 40 years ago (March 20, 1980) an Eagles song helped end a two-hour armed standoff inside a New York City recording studio.

Ultimate Classic Rock recalls the story:

Elektra Asylum Records officer manager Ruth Manne invited Joseph Paul Rivera into her office hoping to calm him down. Instead, the 28-year-old Texas trucker locked the office door, fired shots, and demanded to speak to Eagles members Don Henley, Glenn Fry, and their friend Jackson Browne.

Rivera wanted a $2,500 loan after his truck had been stolen. At the request of the NYPD, WLPH-FM DJ Jimmy Frink hit the air announcing, “This is ‘Desperado’ for the desperate trucker.”

It worked! The lyrics “Why don’t you come to your senses? You’re out riding fences,” drove Rivera to tears and he put the gun down.