Don Henley, “Eagles”, singer and songwriter, is the author of the famous song “Hotel California”, to which he gave his voice.

When Don Henley with Glen Frey, Bernie Leadon and Randi Meisner joined together to record their sound with rock and country dyes they did not suspect that the Eagles would become one of the essential groups of American music.

Its Desperado, Take easy, Take it to the limit, Tequila Sunrise, Hotel California … are heard every day anywhere in the world.

In 1984 he released his first solo album “Building the perfect Beast” whose hit is “The boys of summer”. With Eagles he has met again periodically, recording a live album in 1994 and touring until today.

Continue reading to find out even more about this talented musician.

Early life

Donald Henley was born July 22, 1947 in Gilmer, Texas, but joined the American West, specifically Los Angeles where he hoped to make a career in music within his group, Shiloh, at the age of 23 years.

He made a very important meeting early with Glenn Frey, with whom he became a member of the band that accompanied country rock singer Linda Ronstadt.

Only a few weeks later, the duo is at the helm of Eagles, which goes between 1972 and 1980, when the band splits, writing some of the most legendary hits of rock, among which “Take It Easy”, the poignant ballad “Desperado” or the famous “Hotel California” and his river guitar solo.

In 1982, former drummer Don Henley bounced solo and released his first album, I Cannot Stand Still, with less resounding success, even though “Dirty Laundry” reached the top of the charts by winning third place in Billboard. But we also find him in duo with Stevie Nicks, she also escaped from a remarkable formation, Fleetwood Mac.

Together, they write and perform the hit “Leather and Lace”, which ranks sixth in the US charts. Don Henley later received a Grammy Award in 1984 for the song “The Boys of Summer,” featured on his second opus Building the Perfect Beast, which finished 5th in Billboard.

Other titles get many radio broadcasts, such as “All She Wants to Do Is Dance”, “Not Enough Love in the World” or “Sunset Grill”, which allow him to settle permanently as a solo artist in the American musical landscape.

His next album, The End of Innocence, was released in 1989 and has not denied its popularity with more than six million copies, giving him a second Grammy Award.

Career Path

Don Henley joins Glenn Frey in 1994 for an Eagles reunion, which does not prevent him from publishing a compilation of his titles the following year, which he promotes with the unpublished single “The Garden of Allah”, as well as a new album, Inside Job, in 2000, despite deep contractual disagreements with his record company.

What can you do in a small, twisted nest like Gilmer in East Texas? Not much, except to listen to the radio under the covers all night. This is also what young Don Henley, born in 1947, does.

As a teenager he relies on Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino. When, in the middle of the sixties, the Beatles become part of the American Broadcasting program, little Donnie’s life changes forever.

In high school, he founds his first band The Four Speeds, which rename themselves later in Shiloh. This moves in 1970 out into the wide world, more specifically to Los Angeles to record a record there. There, Henley tramples on Glenn Frey. Together they found the Eagles in 1971. The rest is rock history.

After the dissolution of the Eagles in 1982, Henley tried as a solo artist and brings out the album “I Cannot Stand Still”. Of course, he cannot build on the success of the Eagles, although his first single “Dirty Laundry” conquered the charts and the album later won gold.

Only in 1984 with “Building the Perfect Beast” he can consolidate his solo status and brings several singles in the charts. The upcoming releases build successively on this success and Don Henley is developing into a recognized solo player in the American singer / songwriter scene.

Thinking in grand terms, Henley presents just about every jubilee new from the studio. Money has not played a role in the life of the ex-drummer for a long time. Besides Phil Collins, Ringo Starr and Dave Grohl, Don Henley is one of the richest drummers in the world, valued fortune: $ 200 million.

Between the years 1989 and 2015, he released three albums (“The End of the Innocence”, “Inside Job”, “and Cass County”). Much more time is spent by the songwriter on his cattle farm or with nature conservation projects in the American Heartland.

Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner, Don Henley, and Bernie Leadon, have been hired by producer John Boylan since 1970 to accompany singer Linda Ronstadt.

After the third album of Linda Ronstadt and some concerts, including summer 71, these four musicians decide, at the initiative of Boylan, to form a group. It is Bernie Leadon who finds the name of Eagles, and with their new name the band leaves after a few weeks on tour.

After securing Jethro Tull and then Procol Harum, John Boylan gets a contract on “Asylum” the new label from David Geffen (manager Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Joni Mitchell). The Eagles went to London in February 1972 to record their first album, Eagles, at Olympic Studios.

Production was entrusted to Glyn Johns, producer of Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and Who, among others. Small success for this first opus from which are extracted the 45t Take It Easy and Witchy Woman.

The Eagles return to London to record, still under the leadership of Glyn Johns, their second album, Desperado released in April 73. Of this CD Californian Country Rock, we particularly note the songs Desperado, and Tequila Sunrise.

The group returns to Los Angeles where a fifth musician, recommended by David Blue, is engaged, the guitarist, singer, composer, Don Felder. Glyn Johns is thanked and replaced by a new producer, Bill Szymczyk.

The third album, On the Border, was released in March 1974, and is definitely more rock. Yet he knows an immediate success, becoming even platinum record. The 45th Best of My Love, is the first number 1 of the Eagles.

After a long tour in the United States and some dates in Europe, Eagles returned to the studio in early 1975. The fourth album One of These Nights was released on June 10, 75, two weeks later it was gold and platinum in the month of August.

The album remains number one for five weeks and the single One of This Nights also reaches the top of the Charts, Lyin’Eyes the second place while Take It to the Limit will be in fourth place in March 76.

The Eagles are at the height of their glory. But Bernie Leadon disillusioned and disappointed by the musical direction of the band decides to leave in December 1975. He is replaced by Joe Walsh. In February 1976 the pre-orders for the compilation Their Greatest Hits exceed one million.

The record published in February 76 sells to 7 million copies in 2 years. That year the Eagles entered the studio again, this time in Miami, Florida, and nine months later released the album Hotel California.

Considered to be the band’s best album, the record sells for 9 million copies in the first year. Three 45t will settle in the hits-parade, including two numbers one, New Kid in Town, and Hotel California. After a tour in the United States, Canada, and Europe (except France) in August 77, we learn the departure of Randy Meisner, replaced by Timothy B. Schmit.

Between the desire for a solo career, and tension between band members, the Eagles split up after a farewell tour that ends up (apart from 5 tracks that date back to 1976) on the double album Eagles Live.

A CD compilation The Very Best of the Eagles was released in 1994 and it is also in 1994 that the band is reformed at the occasion of a charity concerts filmed by MTV. The disc (with four new songs) Hell Freezes Over and a movie with the same title are released the same year.

Personal life

He does not know the success of his predecessors, but Don Henley continues his tours with Eagles, especially in 2005, and even began working in 2011 on a country cover album for which Ronnie Dunn and Alison Krauss are supposed to have contributed.

But this one is finally rejected while Eagles goes on tour in 2013. It is finally with Cass County, his first solo album for 15 years that Don Henley returns in 2015. For this occasion, many artists like Mick Jagger, Miranda Lambert, Merle Haggard, Martina McBride or Dolly Parton came around him.

“Although we broke up in 1980, our music continued without us,” Glenn Frey wrote in 2000. “It was increasingly clear to me that no matter what I did or where I went: for the rest of my life it would be an Eagle.”

Glenn Frey, the leader of the mythical band who died Monday at age 67, was justifiably proud of the achievements of The Eagles. His meticulous harmonies and his relaxed country-rock sound dominated the waves in the 70s. It is estimated that they sold more than 150 million albums.

Don Henley, another member, considered Frey “the glue” of the band, a business-oriented mind that led the band to its commercial success.

“He is a sports fan and applies coach principles to lead the band,” said the singer. “It recognizes people’s strengths and gets them to do what they do best,” he added. Frey’s ambitions were satisfied with Hotel California, the fifth album of The Eagles. It was published in 1976, sold 16 million copies in the United States and double worldwide.

Although they had already been successful with previous work, Hotel California was “the zenith of The Eagles,” Frey said in 1992. “What we had to tell was coupled with our learning to make records.” The album sealed the band’s reputation and its own destiny.

The song that gave the album its name is still the most famous: a long and intricate rock ballad with a guitar solo considered the best of all time.

Although it speaks of a luxury hotel, it is really an allegory of the hedonistic life that musicians enjoyed in the 70s.

Or at least that is the most popular interpretation, since it is rumored that he also talked about heroin addiction, cannibalism and devotion to the devil (the album cover supposedly shows Anton LaVey, leader of the Church of Satan).

“Everyone wants to know what the song is about and we don’t know it,” Frey said with a smile during an interview with the BBC eight years ago. A decade earlier it was clearer to tell the American network NBC that the group wanted to write “a song that was like an episode of (the series) Twilight Zone” (The Unknown Dimension or The Fifth Dimension).

“All of our songs were cinematic. We decided to create something strange, just to see if we could do it. And then there were many readings, many more than they really exist. I think we achieved the perfect ambiguity.”

Guitarist Don Felder was the one who composed much of the music, including the famous riff. When he first introduced him to the band, they perceived “a rare mix of musical influences” and the first tentative title was Mexican Reggae.

The band recorded it several times, in different tones, until they achieved the best version. “At that stage, The Eagles was looking for perfection,” producer Bill Szymczyk told Sound on Sound magazine.

Once the theme was built, it took two days to record the closing guitar solos. Felder assumed that for that part he would improvise, but Frey and Henley, who also wrote the lyrics, had other ideas: they wanted what they had heard in the demo. “The problem is that the demo was a year earlier. I didn’t even remember what I did,” Felder said in an interview with Music Radar.

Quick summary

Full name: Donald H. Henley

Date of birth: July 22nd 1947

Birthplace: Gilmer, USA

Age: 73

Profession: Singer, Producer, Lyricist

Height: 1.82 m

Weight: 80 kg

Net Worth: 200$ million