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Eagle Soars High Eagle Soars High
by Clint Wayne
2007-07-23 09:18:08
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As the lights dim over the packed arena casting darkness all around, all you can see are the thousands of tiny twinkling lights spread out across the huge auditorium and as you can almost reach out and touch the atmosphere, the slow piano ‘intro’ sends the audience into raptures as they realise those haunting notes. As the single spotlight picks out the unmistakeable figure of Don Henley, he steps forward to the microphone and utters the words that have made the long wait, since buying those precious tickets, so absolutely worthwhile, “Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses”.

It is ‘that’ treasured moment when your favourite singer, in your favourite band sings your favourite track and as the warmth of nostalgia washes all over you, taking you back to your impressionable teenage years of the early-Seventies and to the album and band that you cherished above all others.

The sad reality of life though kicks in when you realise that Don Henley, the man who has given you so many years of musical pleasure and essential musical education to your kids, is actually celebrating his sixtieth birthday!

When Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner and Don Henley broke away from backing country rock vocalist Linda Ronstadt to form ‘The Eagles’, which was a nod of admiration towards American legends ‘The Byrds’, no-one could possibly have foreseen the immense effect that the band would have on the world of rock music. With two albums among the ten best-selling albums of the 20th Century with their ‘Greatest Hits’ album still being the best-selling album in America, they were simply the most successful recording artists of the 1970s.

While it was Glenn Frey who fronted the popular gentle free-flowing country rock melodies, it was Don Henley who gave the band its ‘Edge’ with his raspy lead vocals encapsulated on "Life in the Fast Lane", as well as on many other Eagles songs including "The Best of My Love", "One of These Nights" and the classic hit "Hotel California".

The song that Glenn Frey calls ‘Henley’s Opus’ is "The Last Resort", the final epic track off the Hotel California album in which Henley captures an America celebrating its bicentennial and being given a stark warning, in no uncertain terms, to both America and The World in general of the decline that was going on in society and the need to change, as the poignant line, “Cause there are no more new frontiers, we have got to make it here” clearly defines.

Following the break up of The Eagles in the early-Eighties, Don Henley embarked upon a solo career which was the most successful of all the ex-members. His debut solo album I Can’t Stand Still was a moderate seller with the cynical "Dirty Laundry" taking a huge swipe and denunciation against the local television news demanding, “Get the widow on the set, we need Dirty Laundry”.

The hot summer of 1984 saw the release of Building the Perfect Beast with the perfect summer driving track "The Boys of Summer" which reached No 12 in the British charts with its haunting guitar rhythms and lyrics depicting the passing of youth and the entering of middle age. The black and white music video of the song deservedly won MTV’s ‘Best Video of the Year Award’.

His next album The End of the Innocence, with the title track a melancholy tale of bits of happiness in a corrupt world, also charted well but following the poor studio album Inside Job it was announced that The Eagles were getting back together with Frey famously announcing “We never broke up, we just took a fourteen year vacation”.

With Henley taking lead vocals on "Get Over It" off their return album Hell Freezes Over and having just completed a sell out ‘World Tour’ it is great to be able to say that The Eagles are flying high again with Don Henley thrilling the fans with the awesome "Desperado".


   
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