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Don Henley - The Very Best of Don Henley

2009-11-12 08:57
The Very Best Of
But every now and then something he does is just brilliant.

Take this a famous story about "psychobilly" muso Mojo Nixon (he's worked with Dead Kennedy's Jello Biafra as well as many other punk heroes), who was performing his new song "Don Henley Must Die", live in Texas. The song features the lyrics "Don Henley must die!/ Put him in the electric chair/ Watch him fry!" So guess who shows unannounced up at the venue, jumps onstage with Mojo Nixon, and joins in the performance as a beatboxer? The two are pals, now. Oh, and Don can also add "dated Stevie Nicks" to his CV, by the way. Kudos, dude.

This Greatest Hits hangs together pretty well, with its consistently Big Generator-styled production, Henley's undeniably brilliant vocals, and some unforgettable tracks like the anti-paparazzi "Dirty Laundry", laments for lost happiness like "The End of the Innocence" and "The Boys of Summer", and tongue in cheek takes on failure and 80s ennui like "Sunset Grill" and "New York Minute". 80s rock fan: You need these songs. Yes, it’s middle of the road radio rock, but it’s best of breed, and ultimately? Surprisingly MORish.

Buy? Well that depends. Most people should probably download the four or five best tracks, rather than getting the CD. There's lot of filler in the form of dated songs that once ruled the airwaves - and an unforgivably awful cover version of Leonard Cohen's classic "Everybody Knows". On the other hand, real big fans will get their money's worth from this double-disk set, which offers six videos documenting the evolution of Henley's horrible hairstyles and various bikini fashions, plus four bonus audio tracks in addition to the 14 hits on disc one.

People such as Don Henley tend to invite mockery from musical connoisseurs and hardliners – first with The Eagles and later as the famous seventies hitmakers' most successful soloist, good ol' Don excelled at writing that easy-listening rock that lacked his California contemporary Jackson Browne's edge, Donald Fagan's complexity, or Lowell George's special touch.

What to read next: Kalahari

Rodders 2009-11-16 09:41 AM
Clearly we come at Henley's music from completely different sides, as I am not only a huge Eagles fan, but also a huge lover of Leonard Cohen's work, but I consider Henley's version of 'Everybody Knows' to be even BETTER than Father Leonard's original!! Otherwise, great review!
galamatias 2009-11-20 10:41 AM
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For people of a certain age (I include myself) Henley's songs bring back the 80s, when he almost seemed alternative and deep next to Modern Talking and Rick Astley. As for the MORish, The Eagles were never anything but safe, happy tunes. What about Not Enough In The World - surely one of the kitschest ballads ever?

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