November 20 – 75 Years In, Life’s Been Good To Joe

One of rock’s best guitarists – and most original characters – was born 75 years ago . Happy birthday Joe Walsh!

Walsh was born in Wichita, grew up in Ohio and New Jersey and in the ’60s was of mixed mind. Part of him wanted to be a rock star, as with so many of that generation, after seeing the Beatles on TV, but part of him (surprisingly given his reputation as being a bit of a goof-off and burnout) a serious scholar. He went to Kent State, but was present at the famous 1970 massacre (which inspired the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song “Ohio”) which effected him greatly…and made him think maybe a degree was over-rated! He ended up getting an honorary degree from that school in 2001 as it turned out anyway. He first appeared on record doing some guitar work for Ohio Express back in 1967, but came to prominence with the James Gang at the end of that decade and soon launched into a solo career which has delivered 11 studio albums since 1973, two of which – ’73’s The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get and 1978’s But Seriously Folks made the U.S. top 10. The latter delivered his signature tune, the wacky, 8-minute (or 4:35 if you just hear the single) “Life’s Been Good.” That one, satirizing the life of a spoiled rock star, got to #12 at home, #11 in Canada and was called “the most important statement on rock stardom anyone has made” by Rolling Stone at the time. It was quickly implemented into the concert fare of The Eagles when he joined that band, almost simultaneously.

He was a latecomer to them, joining at the start of the Hotel California sessions, but has been with them on all their records and tours since. His great freestyling guitar work was influenced heavily by The Beatles, Pete Townshend (who in turn says of Joe, “a fluid and intelligent player. There’re not many like that around.”) and Ritchie Blackmore as well as fellow birthday boy Duane Allman, who would’ve turned 76 today. Allman taught Walsh the slide guitar. His 6-string – and 12-string- prowess earned him Rolling Stone’s pick as the 54th best guitarist of all-time and has kept him in demand. He’s also worked on a wide range of other artists records, including Eagles band-mates Don Henley (doing the guitar licks on “Dirty Laundry”) and Timothy B. Schmit, as well as REO Speedwagon, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Steve Winwood, Dan Fogelberg, the Foo Fighters and even Andy Gibb. Not to mention Stevie Nicks, who’s called him the love of her life and who wrote the song “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You?” for him. Unfortunately, as Walsh put it to a friend in the ’80s “I’m leaving Stevie because I’m afraid one of us is going to die…our cocaine habit has beome so over the top…the only way to save us both is for me to leave.”

Widely known for his sense of humor, which has included a mock run for president in 1980, he has a serious side and said in 2012 he might actually “run (for Congress). The root of the problem is that Congress is so dysfunctional, we’re dead in the water until Congress gets to work and passes some new legislation.” Eric Clapton says he’s “one of the best guitarists to surface in some time. I don’t listen to many records, but I listen to his.” Pretty high praise for an ordinary, average guy! Oh, and by the way, if you were wondering if “Life’s Been Good” is all made up…he actually did have a Maserati at the time he wrote the song. But it topped out at 170 – not the 185 boasted about in the song. What an imagination he must have!

Those wanting to have another chance to check Joe out will be able to do so tomorrow in New Orleans with a concert there, followed by ones in Kansas City and Fort Worth later this month. Next year he resumes touring with The Eagles.


August 12 – But Seriously Folks…Life’s Been Good To Joe

On the same day one beloved American band made their debut on the top 40 – the Cars with “Just What I Needed” – another American star had his shining moment on it. Joe Walsh hit #12 on this day in 1978 with his biggest hit, “Life’s Been Good.”

Walsh was by then a well-known and established rock star, having been with the James Gang, Barnstorm and in the previous couple of years, a member of The Eagles, apart from putting out two solo records in the mid-’70s. But largely it seemed like he was known for his reputation as a wild man…something he played up on this hit.

The song with his tongue-in-cheek (or possibly not) famous lines like “my Maserati does 185/ I lost my license, now I don’t drive” and “I live in hotels, tear out the wall/I have accountants pay for it all” was in the ears of Rolling Stone “the most important statement on rock stardom made in the late-’70s.” It certainly was indicative of the wild, devil-may-care, ever-partying lifestyles bands like the Eagles and Led Zeppelin were famous – or infamous – for. Although parts of it were autobiographical, some of it was made up… he didn’t have a Maserati, for example and while he lost his driver’s license it was only because he actually lost his wallet with it in for awhile, not because it was suspended. However, other parts like tearing out hotel walls if he wanted a larger room, were real! “I wanted to make a statement involving satire and humor, kind of poking fun at the incredibly silly lifestyle that someone in my position is faced with,” he said a few years later. “I’ve been around the world in concerts, and people say ‘what’s Japan like?’ but I don’t know. It’s got a nice airport.”

He says now “we were party monsters. It was a real challenge just to stay alive,” and a few years after the hit he came up with “Ordinary Average Guy” as sort of a latter-life sequel to it.

Although Walsh is known for his incredible guitar prowess (which he displays on the song) he also exceled at keyboards and synthesizers…it is him playing the synth solo in the middle of the album version. That runs just over eight minutes, but Asylum probably wisely cut it to 4:35 for the single. The album it was off, But Seriously Folks, which went platinum in the U.S. and Canada, was co-produced by his longtime music partner Bill Szymczyk. The pair knew each other well; Bill had produced records by the James Gang as well as the prior three Eagles records. You hear him on the song suggesting “everybody say ‘I’m cool’”.

Life’s Been Good” peaked at #12 at home, his highest-charting one (although in ’81 he hit #1 on rock charts with “Life of Illusion” but it only hit #34 as a single) and #11 in Canada, as well as #14 in the UK where he was only beginning to become known. Since the Eagles re-united, it’s been quite a regular piece of their concert sets as well.

Walsh turns 75 this fall and looking back, he’d probably say yes, “Life’s Been Good.”

May 7 – The Hotel We Can Never Leave

The following year’s Grammy award winner for Record of the Year hit #1 this day in 1977. That was “Hotel California”, the title track of the Eagles massive hit album about “the dark underbelly of the American dream,” (according to Don Henley) which showed that radio will play a close-to-7-minute single if it’s good enough and from a known commodity.

The Eagles were certainly that; it marked the band’s fourth U.S. #1, following hot on the heels of “New Kid in Town”, the first single off the album. The last album of new material to chart a pair of #1’s was KC & the Sunshine Band’s self-titled album two years prior. Curiously, Leo Sayer duplicated the feat when his “When I Need You” bumped this one off the #1 spot, his second chart-topper from Endless Flight.

Don Felder remembered, “all of us kind of drove into L.A. at night. Nobody was from California, and if you drive into L.A. at night, you can just see this glow on the horizon…the images start running through your head of Hollywood and all the dreams.” Henley didn’t see it as brightly, saying that the album in general was “a concept album, but it’s not set in the Old West. It’s more an urban thing…using California as a microcosm for the whole United States…saying ‘we’ve been OK so far for 200 years, but we’re gonna have to change if we’re going to continue to be around.” The song itself might last 200 years. It hit #1 in Canada as well, earned them a platinum single at home and remains one of the ’70s most-played songs on radio and streaming devices. Guitarist magazine picked the guitar solo on it (by Don Felder and Joe Walsh in a sort of ‘dueling guitars’) as the best in rock history. And if you perhaps think you’re just a tiny bit tired of hearing it so frequently…well, the band might be too. They’ve played it over 1000 times in concert to date…and it’s the theme for their current concert tour!  Maybe they really can never leave the Hotel California!  

February 27 – Five Years In, Eagles Still Felt Like The New Kids

The Eagles were flying high 45 years back…but were self-aware enough to know that they might not be forever. That was the approximate idea behind the lead single from their best-selling (studio) album, Hotel California. “New Kid In Town” became their third #1 single in the States this week in 1977.

It was the lead single from the epic album that had been released about two months earlier and which would go on to see an incredible 26 million copies in the U.S. alone. While Glenn Frey sang lead on it, it took him, Don Henley and J.D. Souther to collaborate and get it written. J.D. Souther thought of it rather as a gunslinger kind of reference – always a new gun coming to town trying to put the old champ out of the way for good. He also noted “as you approach 30, you begin to see that things don’t stay the same forever… there’s a lot of other guys that are coming up, they want their moment too… it’s as it should be.”

Henley concurred. He described it as being “about the fickle nature of love and romance. It’s also about the fleeting nature of fame, especially in the music business.”

Fame’s more fleeting for some than others, but “New Kid In Town” helped the Eagles hang onto theirs for some time longer. It became their third U.S. #1 (after “Best of My Love” and “One of These Nights”) and also topped Canadian charts. Meanwhile, it became their first top 10 hit in such far flung places as Norway and ended up winning them a Grammy for Best Vocal Arrangement, one of two the album would score them; the title track took home the prestigious Record of the Year. “New Kid In Town” became their first American gold single, and remains one of their most popular tunes to this day. Fitting, as like Rolling Stone says, it’s an “exquisite piece of south-of-the-border melancholia.”

An oddity about the recording. It featured both Randy Meisner and Don Felder on different guitars but renowned guitar-slinger Joe Walsh put his down and played electric piano on it instead.

February 23 – Monster Albums Made For Ratings Hit Show

Last week we took a look at the Brit Awards and noted that it’s getting to be “awards season.” The time of the year when it seems every field of entertainment is giving out the hardware for the previous year’s accomplishments. It also seems like every year there are more shows, and of late, less interest in them. But that wasn’t always the case, and today we look back to this day in 1978 when the Grammys were given out for the 1977 year in music.

Back then, a Grammy was a major statement in music, and the show, a major event for the public. So much so that the awards show from L.A., broadcast on CBS, was on over 26% of all TVs in the U.S. (and approximately 45% of all the ones which were actually being watched), the third-best ratings ever for it. Only the 1974 show (in which Stevie Wonder and Roberta Flack were big winners) and the 1984 (at the height of Michael Jackson’s popularity) were more watched. And why not? Consider that in the previous year, between December, 1976 and November ’77, three of what would turn out to be the biggest records ever came out – Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, which sold ten million in its first month and currently sits at 40 million-plus worldwide; the Eagles Hotel California, which has moved over 26 million in the States alone, and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, which like Rumours has sold over 40 million and was the biggest-selling soundtrack ever for over a decade. Not to mention multi-platinum classics from the likes of Meat Loaf and Jackson Browne. And of course, on the big screen, a little sci-fi flick called Star Wars had shown, and it’s theme was pretty popular. Grease was a few months away, but Olivia Newton John gave a sneak preview by performing “Hopelessly Devoted to You” live.

The show was hosted by John Denver, looking uncharacteristically formal in a sparkly-lapeled tuxedo. Like we said, back then, it was an event. And fans weren’t disappointed. Even the comparatively minor categories seemed to be given to records that would live on to seem significant. For instance, Kenny Rogers “Lucille” took one for Best Country Male performance; Crystal Gayle won the female equivalent with the crossover hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”…and gave one of the most admirably short acceptance speeches ever! Even the comedy award went to a star for the ages, Steve Martin. Star Wars, and its musical creator John Williams, won trophies for Best Original Score and Best Pop Instrumental. Although the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack came out a few days too late to be included (it was eligible in 1979 and won Album of the Year), the Bee Gees still got a Grammy for Best Pop Group Performance for “How Deep Is Your Love”, the lead-off single from the soundtrack. The Eagles won awards for the two big singles off Hotel California; the title track winning the prestigious Record of the Year and “New Kid In Town” winning one for Best Vocal Arrangements. Rumours took home the Best Album.

Among the other notable awards were Steely Dan taking the Best Engineered Record for Aja, Thelma Houston and Lou Rawls winning ones for R&B and Barbra Streisand, who had already won five before this night, getting ones for Best Pop Female Performance and Best Song for “Evergreen.” Actually, the Best Song was a tie, an unusual occurrence, with it being shared by Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life.” Curiously, Streisand had also tied for an Oscar before, sharing Best Actress with Katherine Hepburn a decade earlier…just in case you’re ever in need of a trivia question sure to win you a drink at the bar! Speaking of Debby Boone, the Grammys proved once again that they didn’t have a crystal ball for the future. They awarded her the Best New Artist, beating out Foreigner and Andy Gibb among others (not to mention acts like The Clash and Tom Petty who appeared on the scene but didn’t get nominated. And while Gibson undeniably had a massive hit record that put her on the map, she’d turn out to be a one hit wonder…which was not unusual for winners of that award! The previous year they’d given the nod to the Starland Vocal Band, (ahead of Boston and the Brothers Johnson), and the following year, it would be a Taste of Honey winning, not the Cars, Elvis Costello or Toto.

This year’s Grammys will take place April 3.

December 23 – Eagles Holiday Hit Still Flies High

To the American public, The Eagles could do no wrong in the late-’70s. So it’s no surprise they filled the gap between Hotel California and The Long Run with a Christmas single which went on to become the band’s tenth top 20 hit. “Please Come Home For Christmas” hit the top 40 on this day in 1978 and sprinted up to #18, the highest any Christmas song had made it on Billboard in 15 years, and one of the best-charting Christmas singles ever.

Please Come Home For Christmas” was sung quite nicely by Don Henley who emoted the appropriate level of sadness and longing, and was the first record for them in which Timothy B. Schmit replaced Randy Meisner on bass. Fans didn’t even seem to mind that The Eagles were perhaps flaunting their success with the record sleeve, which featured a photo of the band relaxing topless around a palm-edged pool with a cute bikini-clad girl and a white Christmas tree. And why would they? It was a beautiful Christmas song playing up the common, and worthy theme that Christmas is only special when you’re with the one you love. It worked well for Elvis on “Blue Christmas”, and later for The Pretenders with “2000 Miles” , but perhaps best of all with this one.

The song was written by one Amos Milbourn and recorded in 1960 by Charles Brown, on his Charles Brown Sings Christmas Songs LP. It should be noted that Brown was a Texas blues-man, not the cartoon kid so that record shouldn’t be confused with the wonderful soundtrack to the Peanuts’ Christmas show.

The song has enduring appeal. Not only is The Eagles version popular to this day (currently it is listed as #76 on Spotify’s most-played list, but is 12th most of “modern Christmas songs”, aka those from the ’70s on) it’s been covered by other artists since. Pat Benetar dedicated her 1990 version of it to troops stationed overseas for the Gulf War and Bon Jovi did a version for A Very Special Christmas 2 in 1992 which hit the UK top 10 two years later. Willie Nelson had a country hit with his own take on it in 2004, and believe it or not, the Queen of Christmas Songs, Mariah Carey has also cut a version that’s on the Spotify most-played list. 

Here at Soundday, we hope that if you’re special person is away, they will indeed come home for Christmas (or if not for Christmas, at least “for New Year’s Night!” )

November 19 – Eagle Wasn’t Perfect…But Was Getting Closer

I’m trying to make people think a little bit,” said Don Henley about his second solo album. “Maybe rock’n’roll is not the vehicle for that sort of thing. But I don’t see why it can’t be.” Neither did we… especially if it’s still listenable. And maybe has a dance beat here and there, because “All She Wants To Do Is Dance.” Building the Perfect Beast was assembled and rolled out on this day in 1984.

Although initially “just” the drummer for the Eagles, Henley was one of if not the most talented of the band members and had perhaps the biggest range of musical influences and interests. And as we’ve noted here before, he was also keenly aware of his own limitations as a musician and a superstar when it came to finding the right, talented musicians who’d compliment and challenge him. All these things were evident on Building the Perfect Beast. It was arguably more a sequel and worthy follow-up to Hotel California than the band’s own Long Run.

As with his first record, Henley assembled a veritable SoCal All-star team of talent to help him out. Mike Campbell of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers wrote the music for the great lead single, “Boys of Summer” (which Petty inexplicably turned down) and helped Henley produce it. Elsewhere on the record, you find Toto’s David Paich and Steve Porcaro adding their touches, Randy Newman playing keyboards on “A Month of Sundays”, Lindsay Buckingham playing a bit of guitar, J.D. Souther popping in and great singers like Belinda Carlisle and Patty Smyth adding their vocals in the background. And of course, there’s Don’s usual post-Eagles right-hand man, Danny Kortchmar who produced most of the album, wrote the biting commentary “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” and co-wrote other tracks and even played some fine horns on the long and languid “Sunset Grill.” That a track which deceptively sounds lulling and calming but spears the L.A. lifestyle as well as anything much since “Hotel California.”

Critics liked the album by and large, then and now. Rolling Stone called it “meticulously crafted” and called “Boys of Summer” in particular “wistful and gorgeous.” Later on, Apple’s I-tunes would note it a worthy “meditation on love, loss and generational angst” (take that Nirvana, you poseurs!) and a “wide-ranging and creative vision.”

The public tended to agree although not as much as they might have if Frey and Walsh were along and the album had a bird of prey’s name on it. While in Australia, it got up to #4, in the U.S. and Canada, it stalled out just inside of the top 20. However, due to the roll of great singles off it, it stayed on the charts for over a year and ended up at triple platinum in the States. Both “Boys of Summer” (which won Henley his first Grammy award) and “All She Wants to do is Dance” made the top 10 in the U.S. and topped rock radio charts; “Sunset Grill” was also out as a single and made #22.

All things considered, maybe not “perfect” but Henley’s beast was about as good as any easy-rock album of the decade.

November 3 – Eagles Ended Band And Decade

The Eagles hit #1 on Billboard with The Long Run this day in 1979 and stayed there on into 1980. Maybe that’s fitting. It ended up being the final #1 album of the ’70s in the U.S. and perhaps no other artist embodied the decade’s musical feel in America more than they had. However, by the end of the decade, it was also apparent a change was in the air and conventional acts like The Eagles would have some difficulty transitioning into the new music ’80s. Suddenly “big”, well-established bands like Fleetwood Mac and Wings were being met with a noticeable drop-off in sales and excitement while the airwaves began to fill with new, and new-sounding acts like Joe Jackson and Blondie. 

The Eagles sixth studio album was a tedious project for them to complete with various band members at each other’s throats and incredible pressure to follow up the smash Hotel California album. Randy Meisner had already quit and Timothy B. Scmit was brought in to replace him, which provided one of the album’s highlights, “I Can’t Tell You Why.” That track was co-written by him and the only single of theirs during their initial run to feature Timothy singing. The Long Run was decently received, earned them a Grammy Award for “Heartache Tonight”, and sold over 7 million copies in the U.S. alone..,a huge number for most acts, but only about half of what the previous one (Hotel California) had moved at that point. they wanted to call it a day.

A short tour followed with a live album to finish their contract to Elektra-Asylum Records and they went their separate ways by summer 1980- til 1994, when Hell froze over… and they were back together with a new tour and the Hell Freezes Over album which would hit #1 almost exactly 15 years after this one. They’re still at it, with a current lineup of Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh as well as Vince Gill and Deacon Frey, Glenn’s son. They have a couple of concerts this week in Seattle, and have announced plans for a 50th Anniversary tour starting next summer in England.

July 19 – If It Was Countryish Sounds, Bands Looked To Bernie To Lead-on

Conventional wisdom has it that Don Henley brought the melody and social awareness to the Eagles, Glenn Frey a bit of hit radio-friendly rock attitude and that when Joe Walsh joined later on, he made them rock a bit harder. If that was the case, who then gave them that little bit of a country twang that resonated through their first few records? Well that would be Bernie Leadon, who turns 74 today. Happy birthday, Bernie!

Of course, there might be some flaws with that general idea of the Eagles sound. “That’s an over-simplification,” Leadon told interviewers not long ago. “It implies that I had no interest in rock or blues or anything but country rock. That’s not the case.” Probably not, but it’s an obvious assumption given that Leadon had a background in that end of the music field and brought with him traditionally country/bluegrass instruments like banjos, mandolins and steel guitars as well as the normal rock Les Paul guitar.

Bernie grew up in southern California and knew future-Byrds Gene Clark and Chris Hillman early on. His first real band was in fact the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers with Hillman, which he left to join Dillard & Clark, a country-rock act with Gene Clark. From there it was on to the critically-praised but commercially dull Flying Burrito Brothers, with Hillman (as well as another country-rock pioneer, Gram Parsons). He did two albums with them, Burrito Deluxe and their self-titled one, but grew weary of their lack of sales among other things. This was perhaps his lucky break, because from the Burritos he scored a gig playing in Linda Ronstadt’s backing band… along with Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Randy Meisner. Needless to say, within about a year they were flying as the Eagles and would eclipse the sales of any of his previous acts.

Although Henley and Frey were the focal points of the band, Leadon was a significant player on their first four albums, doing a lot of the guitar work as well as the “country” ones (like mandolin) as needed. Not to mention he did some of the writing and even sang a few tunes, though except for “Witchy woman” (which he co-wrote) they weren’t the ones we normally heard on radio. He wrote and sang “Twenty-one”, “My Man” and “I Wish You Peace” for instance. The latter he actually co-wrote with Patti Davis… Ronald Reagan’s daughter and his girlfriend at the time, something her right-wing politician daddy wasn’t too chuffed about apparently!

He got the band to bring in Don Felder in 1974 to expand their sound a bit, but would end up quitting them around the end of ’75. The most common suggestion was that he didn’t like the shift away from country roots the band was exploring (something accelerated when Walsh replaced him for Hotel California) but that was probably one of several reasons involved. It was well-known he and Frey didn’t like each other, and Leadon seemed to be burning out from the touring and partying the band was always doing more than the others. He did join them however in 1998 when they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and for most of their tours in the past decade.

He’s kept himself busy since the Eagles heyday, but in a low-key kind of way. He released two solo records, over 20 years apart, and briefly joined the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, as well as doing a bluegrass album with Chris Hillman in ’85, Ever Call Ready. Beyond that though, he’s been an in-demand session musician for artists including (but far from limited to) Helen Reddy, Alabama, the Amazing Rhythm Aces, Green on Red and Emmylou Harris.

These days he apparently lives in Nashville, and “I mainly play banjo around the house for enjoyment.”

An interesting note. Bernie wasn’t the only musical talent in the Leadons. His brother Tom was in Mudcrutch with Tom Petty, before he became famous.

June 27 – Eagle Soared Without Old Bandmates

Flying as high as an Eagle, Don Henley put out his third – and probably best – solo album after leaving The Eagles. The End of the Innocence came to us this day in 1989.

Henley has been nothing if not methodical and slow-paced with his solo career – while this was his third album of the decade, he’s gone on to do just two since plus his occasional work with the re-formed Eagles. Thus every album from Don is an event for his fans, and in this case they were well-rewarded. Although his dad had passed away approximately just when The Eagles took off and his mother still had over a decade ahead of her, mortality and maturity seemed to be heavy on Henley’s mind for The End of the Innocence. He noted in an interview with the Chicago Tribune at the time that he was happy enough with his music “being appreciated more by people in my age range (although) some kids who are 17 or 18 who can understand what I’m saying.” And the things he was saying were largely that the world wasn’t in great shape. “I’m still very angry about the world situation… the government…the way we are treating the planet,” he said. Even symbolically, the movement of life seemed to echo; on “New York Minute”, Danny Kortchmar says Don was specifically trying to evoke a late-fall/early-winter in Central Park kind of atmosphere. Luckily he had some lovely and light enough music to go with rather soul-searching lyrics to pull it off.

While a multi-talented and multi-instrumentalist musician, as well as a great expressive singer, Henley’s ultimate talent could be in finding great other talents to complement his own. On this album it really came to the forefront, from the title track co-written with, and featuring the tinkling piano of Bruce Hornsby, to Tom Petty bandmate Mike Campbell who played guitars on the hits “The Last Worthless Evening” and “The Heart of the Matter”, to Toto’s Jeff Porcaro and David Paich who helped out on several tracks, to Sheryl Crow ( a few years before she went on to fame in her own right) and Ivan Neville whom helped out on backing vocals. Perhaps the oddest “friend” in the studio was then-hot Axl Rose of Guns’n’Roses, who screamed away on the most rocking of the songs, “I Will Not Go Quietly.”

As allmusic would notice, through the record, Henley was “cynical yet hopeful” , a winning combination for the end of the Reagan-Greed Is Good era. Fans agreed. While the album oddly topped out at #8 in both the U.S. and Canada, (and #17 in the UK), it was his biggest-seller, eventually topping seven million copies and being 6X platinum at home. That was driven by a steady stream of great singles : the title track was a top 10 in the U.S. and one of three in Canada, “The Last Worthless Evening” and “The Heart of the Matter” being the other two. He was particularly proud of the latter, noting “it took me 41 years to get to the place in my heart and head where I could write something like that.” Add in to that “I Will Not Go Quietly”, “If Dirt Were Dollars” and “How Bad Do You Want It?” and you had six songs that made the American “mainstream rock” top 10 – more than his previous two albums combined.

Album reviews were quite good then, and better since. Classic Rock call it a “pure pop effort” that “expands on Henley’s extraordinary talent for composing.” Rolling Stone have listed it among their 500 greatest albums ever, saying he “hitched some of his finest melodies to sharply-focused lyrical studies of men in troubled transitions.” Allmusic give it 4-stars, liking how he’d “backed off the synthesizers (to) expand his musical palette” and called “Heart of the Matter” “epic.”

His old bandmates seem to agree. Several of the songs have been incorporated into Eagles live shows since. Ironic that, as during the same interview in which he talked about his mindset and the way we’re treating the world, he told the writer that when it came to an Eagles reunion, “the answer is I seriously doubt it…if we did, it wouldn’t be the same.” But like Don, apparently his old band will not go quietly!