Best known as a founding member of the Eagles American singer-songwriter, producer, and drummer, Don Henley was born July 22, 1947 in Linden, Texas.Henley attended Linden-Kildare High School where he initially played football, but due to his relatively small build his coach suggested that he quit, and he joined the high school band instead. He first played the trombone, then in the percussion section. After leaving high school in 1965, he initially attended college at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. He then attended North Texas State University (renamed in 1988 as the University of North Texas) in Denton, Texas, While still at high school, Henley was asked to join a Dixieland band formed by his childhood friend Richard Bowden’s father Elmer, together with another school friend Jerry Surratt. They then formed a band called the Four Speeds. In 1964 the band was renamed Felicity, and went through a number of changes in band personnel. As Felicity they were signed to local producer and released a Henley-penned song called “Hurtin'”.from 1967 to 1969 Henley left school to spend time with his father. In 1969, they met by chance fellow Texan Kenny Rogers who took an interest in their band. They changed their name to Shiloh and recorded a few songs for Rogers, and “Jennifer (O’ My Lady)” was released as their first single.
Sadly Surratt died in a dirt bike accident just before their single was released, and the band members then became Henley, Richard Bowden and his cousin Michael Bowden, Al Perkins, and Jim Ed Norman. Rogers helped sign the band to Amos Records, and brought the band to Los Angeles in June 1970. They recorded a self-titled album produced by Rogers at Larrabee Studios, Shiloh disbanded in 1971 over the band’s leadership and creative differences between Henley and Bowden. In Los Angeles, Henley met Glenn Frey and they were recruited by John Boylan to be members of Linda Ronstadt’s backup band for her tour in 1971. Touring with her was the catalyst for forming a group, as Henley and Frey decided to form their own band They were joined by Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon who also played in Ronstadt’s backing band and became the Eagles in 1971. Henley was the drummer and co-lead singer for the Eagles from 1971 to 1980, when the band broke up, and from 1994 to 2016, when they reunited.
The Eagles released their first studio album in 1972, which contained the hit songs”Take It Easy”, written by Frey and Jackson Browne, Witchy Woman”, which was co-written with Leadon, and “Desperado” written by Frey and Henley who also sang lead vocals on many of the band’s popular songs, including “Desperado”, “Witchy Woman”, “Best of My Love”, “One of These Nights”, “Hotel California”, “The Long Run”, “Life in the Fast Lane” “Wasted Time””Witchy Woman”, “The Long Run” and “Get Over It”. The Eagles won numerous Grammy Awards during the 1970s and became one of the world’s most successful rock bands of all time. They are also among the top 5 overall best-selling bands of all time in America and the highest selling American band in U.S. history.
The Eagles broke up in 1980, following a difficult tour and personal tensions that arose during the recording of The Long Run. Following the breakup of the Eagles, Henley embarked on a solo career. He and Stevie Nicks (his girlfriend at the time) had duetted on her Top 10 Pop and Adult Contemporary hit “Leather and Lace”, written by Nicks for Waylon Jennings and his wife Jessi Colter, in late 1981. Henley’s first solo album, I Can’t Stand Still, was a moderate seller. The single “Dirty Laundry” reached No. 3 on Billboard Hot 100 at the beginning of 1983 and earned a Gold-certified single for sales of over a million copies in the US. It was Henley’s all-time biggest solo hit single, and also was nominated for a Grammy Award. Henley also contributed “Love Rules” to the 1982 Fast Times at Ridgemont High movie soundtrack. in 1984 he released the album, Building the Perfect Beast. Including the single release, “The Boys of Summer”,
The music video for the song was directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino and won several MTV Video Music Awards including Best Video of the Year. Henley also won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for the sons Several other songs on the album, “All She Wants to Do Is Dance”,”Not Enough Love in the World” and “Sunset Grill” Henley also released “Who Owns This Place?” from 1986’s The Color of Money soundtrack. Henley’s next album, 1989’s The End of the Innocence, was even more successful. The album’s title track, a collaboration with Bruce Hornsby, reached No. 8 as a single. “The Heart of the Matter”, “The Last Worthless Evening” and “New York Minute”. Henley again won the Best Male Rock Vocal Performance Grammy Award in 1990 for “The End of the Innocence” and made a brief appearance on MTV’s Unplugged series. In 2000, after 11 years, Henley released another solo album named “Inside Job” Featuring the songs “Taking You Home”, “Everything Is Different Now, “Workin’ It” and “For My Wedding”. In 2002 a live DVD entitled Don Henley: Live Inside Job was released. In 2005 Henley opened 10 of Stevie Nicks’ concerts on her Two Voices Tour. Henley also performed duets with Kenny Rogers on Rogers’ 2006 release Water & Bridges, titled “Calling Me” and on Reba McEntire’s 2007 album, Reba: Duets, performing “Break Each Other’s Hearts Again”. Henley’s next solo album Cass County contained country covers featuring special guests including. Ronnie Dunn from Brooks & Dunn and Alison Krauss
In 1994 The Eagles reunited and Henley continues to tour and record with the Eagles. Their latest album, Long Road Out of Eden, was released in 2007. The band had a number of highly successful tours, such as the Hell Freezes Over Tour (1994-1996), and Long Road Out of Eden Tour. On April 1, 2013, during a concert at the Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario, Henley announced the History of the Eagles Tour, which began in July 2013 and ended in July 2015, six months before Frey’s death. At the 2016 Grammy Awards, the Eagles and Jackson Browne performed “Take It Easy” as a tribute to Frey. Henley and Frey have been called the American version of McCartney and Lennon. (CBS Early Morning Show, interview with Don Henley, December 8, 2016)
The Eagles have sold over 150 million albums worldwide, won six Grammy Awards, had five No. 1 singles, 17 Top 40 singles, and six No. 1 albums. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and are the biggest selling American band in history. As a solo artist, Henley has sold over 10 million albums worldwide, had eight Top 40 singles, won two Grammy Awards and five MTV Video Music Awards. Combined with the Eagles and as a solo artist, Henley has released 25 Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. He has also released seven studio albums with the Eagles and four as a solo artist. In 2008, he was ranked as the 87th greatest singer of all time by the Rolling Stone magazine.