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Before, it had just been for a laugh." Henley's band (initially named The Four Speeds and later renamed Felicity, and then Shiloh) chose him as its lead singer.
He was also the band's primary songwriter, and one of his compositions—a tune called "Hurtin'"—was even produced and recorded by a local record company.
Their next three albums—Singer, songwriter, musician and activist Don Henley was born on July 22, 1947 in Gilmer, Texas. Henley, was a World War II veteran who owned an auto parts store, and his mother, Hughlene Mc Whorter, was a teacher. As a high school student, having long since given up on his piano lessons, Henley tried out for the football team.
He was raised in Linden—a small, dusty town near the Arkansas and Louisiana border with a population of only 2,400. After a brief and disastrous stint on the football field, Henley instead joined the marching band under the encouragement of childhood friend Richard Bowden, whose father had a Dixieland band. "I was always beating out a rhythm on my schoolbooks and on the dashboard of the car," he recalls.
Don Henley’s band the Eagles had two top 10 singles—"Take It Easy" and "Witchy Woman"—with their first album. They always had records on in the house." Growing up in Texas in the 1950s, Henley was exposed to a diverse and eclectic mix of musical genres: "all the World War II and postwar big band stuff.
The Eagles then became one of the most popular bands of the 1970s. There was an old black lady who worked for my grandfather who was always singing spirituals, what they called 'negro spirituals' back then. My father also listened to country music on the radio." Despite this wide exposure to music as a child, Henley's decision to pursue music seriously came largely as an accident.
"The Beatles were the soundtrack to my life," he recalls.
It was in Los Angeles that Henley befriended guitarist Glenn Frey; the two were invited, along with Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, to play as backup musicians for popular singer Linda Ronstadt.
Nevertheless, Henley now regards his music as secondary to his environmental work through the Walden Woods Project.
Steve Nicks was once pregnant with Don Henley’s baby, the Fleetwood Mac singer told Billboard magazine.
Henley and Sheryl Crow co-founded the Recording Artists Coalition in 1999, and Henley has testified before Congress concerning media ownership issues.
As a founding member of the Eagles, a band that boasts five No. 1 albums, numerous Grammy Awards and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Don Henley ranks among the most important figures in modern American pop music.