What does Take it to the Limit mean?

Eagles: Take it to the Limit Meaning

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Album cover for Take it to the Limit album cover

Song Released: 1976


Take it to the Limit Lyrics

All alone at the end of the of the evening
When the bright lights had faded from view
I was thinking 'bout a woman who might have
Loved me and I never knew
You know I've always been a dreamer
(spent my life running 'round)
And it's so hard...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    #1 top rated interpretation:
    anonymous
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    Feb 13th 2010 !⃝

    I think "Take It to the Limit" is one of the best songs ever written. The abstract ideas are hidden behind its well-crafted metaphors. At least two people (the speaker & his imagination lover) are involved in this ballad. The speaker seems to be traveling alone somewhere on the road and fantasizing about a girl. “All the bright lights have faded to blue” illustrates the time; late midnight. “You know I’ve always been a dreamer/Can’t seem to settle down” I feel refers to the speaker’s lonesomeness, unstable, and single lifestyle. “The dreams I’ve seen lately/Keep on turning out burning out the same” is a reflection of the speaker’s mindset, confused, stressed, and struggling to overcome with his loneliness. “So put me on a highway/Show me a sign......” indicates a new strength, a sign of hope, may be a sign from God (as if a sign by the road) encouraging him to go full swing one more time.
    The second verse “You can spend all time making money.......Will you still be mine” seems to be the speaker’s talking to his imagined lover, or a girl he loved unrequited who might have been pursuing earthly pleasures. The speaker is addressing his one and only true love. But he feels that there’s still no one who cares about him and understands him (And when you’re looking for freedom nobody seems to care). The next line “When there’s nothing to believe in/ Still you ‘re coming back....” additionally highlights that there is no one to share his burden, that’s why he keeps going back to the same old road again. The invincible strength (the sign of hope from God ) is pushing him to not give up. He must keep hope, someone out there is waiting for him, somewhere.

    I’m a Burmese refugee who has lived desperately in foreign countries. This song is soothing me whenever I feel lonely. I feel this is an encouraging song to all the loners across the world.

  2. 2TOP RATED

    #2 top rated interpretation:
    ted295
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    Jan 13th 2010 !⃝

    I do believe he is writing about his time on the road. However,I feel the deeper meaning is universal. At the end of the night, when we are alone with our thoughts,we think about what might have been. Sometimes these thoughts are deeply depressing,thinking about missed or squandered opportunities in our relationships,career choices etc.Sometimes you feel like you can't find what is missing in your life and want to say to hell with it all and quit.But you don't. You "take it to the limit one more time".

  3. 3TOP RATED

    #3 top rated interpretation:
    Charleson
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    Feb 23rd 2010 !⃝

    To me this song speaks of that haunting moment of doubt, while alone and blue, when one doesn’t know what to believe in. We look back with regret, and realize that in searching for freedom we are continually missing what matters -- like the love we overlooked. There is even the uncertainty of love now experienced (is it real?).

    This is balanced against a chorus of resignation to repeat the same thing “one more time”. Or, given its uplifting tone, the chorus can also be heard as a wish for a new road in life, with a sign that one will get the chance to figure it out ”one more time”. To me, this ambiguity adds to the mystery and beauty of the song.

    Ironically, at the time this was written, it would have been sufficient for the Eagles to believe in their own ability to express this universal pain in such a timeless way.

  4. anonymous
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    Feb 21st !⃝

    I believe I figured it right! As a former British radio DJ in the US who loved the Eagles, especially this song. I can identify how being in showbiz endlessly travelling and not having time to settle in one place or start a serious relationship, just keep dreaming and hoping to someday,somehow, find that wonderful, special, person, who can make your life and dreams complete!

  5. anonymous
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    Mar 7th 2023 !⃝

    In 1983, Miriam Sykes started out on the highway, hoping life could make it, she statrted to doubt it, said Harambee or Death, and prayed that she and what ever she saw would make it. Officer and Judge Thomas O'reilly told her it would.

  6. anonymous
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    Jun 4th 2021 !⃝

    To me it's personal. Years ago my wife was diagnosed bipolar, the time it took to get her meds right was pure hell. At one point I decided it wasn't gonna break us and I would take it to the limit everyday!
    Ironically I was driving truck for a living at the time!
    So it's about a man who is unsure about everything in his life and can't change things, so he keeps going no matter what!

  7. anonymous
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    Oct 10th 2020 !⃝

    I think hes regretting his promiscuous life style as hes currently alone with no woman to love him and hes sexually frustrated.

    So he is reminiscing about a woman that might have loved him. And he wonders what life would have been like if he had stuck around. He prefers the freedom of meeting different girls. Which is why he left in the first place. But in the end. It left him all alone as hes currently without a relationship.

    Would life have been better if he sacrificed his sexual freedom in exchange for a stable relationship with just one girl. But at least he wont be alone as he currently is.

    There is also some lack of confidence on his part. Because hes not even sure if this girl hes reminiscing about even loved him or not. Was she there just for his money? Or was she genuinely in love with him.

    So he gets in his car and looks for some kind sign from god to show him what he ought to do next.

  8. WSAcanuck
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    Apr 15th 2020 !⃝

    There are many possible interpretations but I think in some ways this song was foreshadowing Meisner's own personal struggles that ultimately led to his departure from the band. The song to me always sounds like a guy who is uncomfortable in his skin, thinking the grass is greener and regretting decisions he has made to get where he is. Meisner was never comfortable with his stardom. The beautiful thing about this song for me is how it balances that dynamic with the ongoing drive to push forward and live in the moment with those decisions and make the most of those opportunities. This song is very simple and very complex at the same time, which is why I love it.

  9. anonymous
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    Sep 2nd 2019 !⃝

    This song to me is one of my all-time favorites. Although I am not honestly proud of my interpretation of the song I feel safe in saying that I am probably not the only person that relates take it to the limit to getting high on coke. Back in my full of stupid days I had a stereo system that would play for days at a time literally. I would put take it to the limit on repeat and peat and repeat over and over. Thanks to a God who looks after fools.

  10. anonymous
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    Jul 10th 2019 !⃝

    I think its about a loner with trust issues because he has been let down numerous times.(can't seem to settle down & if it all goes to pieces will you still be mine).Thinking about a woman that he loves .He is not sure she loves him.That she has to prove her love.(she does prove it by coming back & running back for more).This dream he had lately is working out with her cause she IS coming back for more taking it to the limit. (enduring the hard times). At the end of the song he sings she's gonna take it to the limit one more time.Meaning he found the one that truly loves him and she will keep staying with him no matter what they will face.

  11. anonymous
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    Jun 5th 2018 !⃝

    It means if you achieved a great height in your life, try to do something like that again!

  12. anonymous
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    Aug 26th 2017 !⃝

    On the meaning of the song, Meisner said in the documentary History of the Eagles: "The line 'take it to the limit' was to keep trying before you reach a point in your life where you feel you've done everything and seen everything, sort of feeling, you know, part of getting old. And just to take it to the limit one more time, like every day just keep, you know, punching away at it ... That was the line, and from there the song took a different course."- WIKIPEDIA. SINGLE FOR LIFE.

  13. anonymous
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    Aug 26th 2017 !⃝

    the DJ just played this song and he said it is about a man's wife that has a lover and keeps coming back to him but won't quit the other lover either. So many ways to listen to this song.

  14. anonymous
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    Jul 13th 2017 !⃝

    Best song ever. To me it tells the story of a life well lived, of things lost but still having a chance at once again living well by taking it to the limit one more time. Its about love lost, but also the hope of finding it again on the highway of life, and looking forward to it.

  15. anonymous
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    Jun 20th 2017 !⃝

    A song about the end of the day (life) and thinking about what reality is. One word: coke.

  16. anonymous
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    May 16th 2017 !⃝

    This song, like most, if not all other songs by the Eagles, is what it means to me - what it meant to each member of the band. The Eagles have never stood as a united front and given an interview as to what a song means. However, they have admitted to an idea that comes about from one member that's passed around and then - we benefit...what went on between the time of the inception and birth - we will never know - heck they may never know...each one may have had their own ideas of what "take it to the limit" meant, or what "you can check out any time but you can never leave"...who knows... who cares...somethings are better left unsaid - and the lyrics to many of the songs by members of the Eagles - well I for one appreciate the mystery. I appreciate reading the lyrics. I for one appreciate them saying, "daaah wrong - that's not what we meant...". I have enough reality and enough things I know I may have been wrong about - but give me my memories and what these songs and lyrics mean to me.....

  17. anonymous
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    Mar 4th 2017 !⃝

    Best song 'ever'. Fortitude exemplified in a beautiful song; keeps my chin off my chest.

  18. anonymous
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    Oct 5th 2016 !⃝

    Danny Wilcutt

    This song to me means a meaningful yet abrupt encounter with a woman later deemed as fate. I think he was on the road at met a woman whom he was very attracted to and felt an unspoken connection with. The first line is 'All alone at the end of the evening and the bright lights fade to blue' refers to after 'the show' he's still just a guy looking for love or the one. He then refers to have always been a dreamer and 'looked for the one' and it's so hard to change from 'trying to find the one' and the dreams he's seen lately keep ending the same like this encounter with her did. At the time of this encounter it was hard to interpret as real because as a musician in the limelight it's so hard to decipher what is real and who is real referring to groupies and facades. He kept his guard up so it naturally didn't work out which he later regretted. The hook 'take it to the limit' is fate and he's asking fate to take to the limit one more time so he can act on it because he later acknowledged this encounter with her as different from the others and fateful. He then says put me on a highway(away from work) and show him a sign and he won't keep his guard up and will come through this time and is hoping and wishing the dreams he's having will change and that this encounter with her won't be the last time fate 'takes it to the limit' because if it is his dreams will never change and always remind him of what he missed out on. Hope this helps and I hope he found her and she was cool about it!! Lol

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