Many people argue that artists embarking on solo careers after the demise of their band don’t have the swagger they once did when they were part of the unit (see: Mick Jagger, Billy Corgan, Art Garfunkel, Debbie Harry, Gene Simmons and Ringo Starr).
It’s okay, Ringo…we know you tried.
While I agree that there was something clearly special about the talents that once-combined to form the original band, sometimes a solo artist can thrive on their own (see: Michael Jackson, Sting, Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins [both from Genesis], Robert Plant, Gwen Stefani, George Michael, Neil Young and oh yeah…the rest of The Beatles).
Also see Don Henley, former lead singer and drummer for the 1970s supergroup, The Eagles.
As American bands go, no other group out-sold them during the entire bell-bottomed decade. Even though much of the band’s success was built upon his partnership with co-founding member Glenn Frey, Henley has enough accolades of his own to qualify as a solo success.
I grew up listening to The Eagles (thanks to my parents’ extensive record collection) and can pretty much sing every song they made. They broke up in 1980, though, so my memories of them all pre-date my existence on Earth (minus a few months).
Don Henley, however, was my bridge between the past and the present.
I always liked The Eagles for their songwriting style and lyrics. They wrote more of a story than a song and I could very easily make up videos in my head when I listened to their music (which is pretty much what I do for every song in the world).
The same goes for Henley.
Boys of Summer stands out in my mind as one of the 80s classics thanks to some well-written lyrics (brown skin shining in the sun, Deadhead stickers on Cadillacs and Wayfarers).
The images conveyed are written all over every 1980s movie in history and made me yearn to be older, cooler and yes, boobier, even at scant five years-old.
Those were the days before we had any idea of the dangers of obtaining that healthy glow and Malibu Barbie was a best-seller (minus the melanoma).
The days when yuppies — the 80s’ cultural response to hippies — were flaunting their new-found wealth, prep school educations and fancy cars. And don’t forget Republican wunderkind Alex P. Keaton’s interpretive dance inspired by the stock market crash of 1929.
The days when sunglasses ceased to be just a form of eye protection and became an iconic piece of fashion history, AKA, the Wayfarer, AKA, Tom Cruise.
In honor of the impending summer (in some parts of the US it seems we’re there already), I’m posting three of my favorite Don Henley songs from his solo-career-solidifying second album, Building the Perfect Beast.
These songs make me wanna throw on some Keds, put the top down and take a drive.
Now who’s lending me their convertible (and some sun screen)?
And finally, the only original video I could find.
What’s up, Donny? Don’t like the YouTube?