Happy Birthday: Don Henley
Today we celebrate the birthday of the one and only Don Henley, and to commemorate the day the Eagles frontman and songwriter was born, we decided that weâd spotlight four tracks which feature him, all of which were recorded prior to the inception of his most famous band.
1. The Four Speeds, âWhy Did You Leave Me?â (1965): This was the first time Henley was in a band that actually went into a studio and recorded a single. He and his bandmates Richard Bowden (bass), Freddie Neese (guitar) and Jerry Surratt (keyboards / trumpet) released this single as well as one called âVariety,â and Henley handled lead vocals on both of âem, despite the fact that you will very likely listen to this song and go, âWait, what? No way. Thatâs not Don Henley.â Oh, but it is.
2. The Felicity, âHurtinââ (1967): This band would eventually become known as Shiloh, which youâll be reading about in the next entry, and given a review from the time of its release thatâs been posted on 45Cat.com [link], itâs surprising that it never went anywhere: itâs described as a âpulsating, emotional-filled moaner,â one which âcould be heard throughout the airwaysâ (we presume they meant âairwavesâ). Indeed, they even end the brief write-up by optimistically saying, âWatch it go.â Would that it had.
3. Shiloh, âSimple Little Down Home Rock ânâ Roll Song for Rosieâ (1970): There are actually two fascinating things about the band Shiloh, since â in addition to the fact that Don Henley was a member of the group â they were kinda sorta discovered by Kenny Rogers, who produced their self-titled album. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Rogers initially said that he âdiscoveredâ Henley, but he quickly backpedaled a bit on his choice of phrase. âItâs not like he was in the mud somewhere and I walked up,â said Rogers. âBut I found his group and took them to L.A. and they lived with me for six months. Then he got a chance to go with the Eagles and he said, âI canât do it unless you give me my publishing back.â I was just trying to help him, so I said, âSure, Iâll give it back to you.â Iâm very proud of that.â
4. Linda Ronstadt, âFaithfulâ (1971): In her 2014 autobiography Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir, Ronstadt detailed how, were it not for her, the Eagles might never have gotten togetherâ¦or at the very least, itâs fair to say that they wouldnât have come together nearly as easily. Apparently, Henley had contacted Ronstadtâs producer, John Boylan, and sent him some songs that heâd hoped Ronstadt might record. âThey didn't turn out to be good songs for me at the time, but I heard him play the drums when I was walking through the room at the Troubadour and I thought he was such a good drummer,â Ronstadt recalled. âHe had country mixed with rock in a way that didn't compromise either genre. So I said, âLet's see if we can get him to play drums,' and John went to talk to him and he said, 'All right.'â From there, Ronstadt â who, as it happens, was living with J.D. Souther at the time â asked Souther if heâd ask his bandmate, Glenn Frey, if heâd be willing to go on tour with her. In short, Ronstadt knows how to put together one hell of a band...