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Don Henley is a musician who was a founding member of the Eagles and later went on to great solo success with such songs as "Boys of Summer."
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In fact, it was Emerson's essay "Self Reliance" that convinced Henley to pursue his dreams of a music career. His favorite line from that essay reads, "Beware what you set your heart upon. For it surely shall be yours."
After three semesters at North Texas State, Henley returned home to Linden to spend time with his father, who had developed heart disease. While at home, Henley reunited with his old band, Shiloh. They played frequent concerts in Dallas,
and one night in 1968 the popular country musician Kenny Rogers, who had also begun working as a producer, attended a Shiloh show and liked what he saw. In 1970, with Rogers' help, Henley and the other members of Shiloh moved to Los Angeles to record a self-titled album on the independent label Amos Records.
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. In 1971, the four backup musicians decided to form their own band, The Eagles, signing with the newly created Asylum Records. In 1972, they flew to England and recorded their self-titled debut album in only two weeks.
The Eagles cracked the top 20 on Billboard's album charts and scored two top 10 singles: "Take It Easy" and "Witchy Woman." After that first album, The Eagles become one of the most influential and popular bands of the 1970s. Their next three albums—Desperado (1973), On the Border (1974) and One of These Nights (1975)—were all huge hits. Too busy touring to record another new album, in early 1976 The Eagles released a compilation record, Their Greatest Hits: 1971-1975, which has since sold over 25 million copies. Only one other album, Michael Jackson's Thriller, has ever sold more.
Later, in 1976, The Eagles released Hotel California, a landmark record whose title track won the 1977 Grammy Award for Record of the Year and has become perhaps the band's quintessential song. Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner left the band and were replaced by Joe Walsh and Timothy Schmit before The Eagles released their fifth album, The Long Run, in 1979. Despite the band's astronomical success, The Eagles broke up in 1980, promising not to reunite until "Hell freezes over."
Henley then embarked on a successful solo career. He released his first solo album, I Can't Stand Still, in 1982, featuring the popular single "Dirty Laundry." In 1984, he released a second solo album, Building the Perfect Beast, which featured the iconic single, "The Boys of Summer." Five years later Henley released his third, and most successful, solo project: The Age of Innocence.
Despite their earlier proclamations to the contrary, The Eagles did reunite in 1994. The resulting album was fittingly titled Hell Freezes Over. In 2007, they released another album, Long Road Out of Eden, which Henley expects to be the group's final album.
In addition to his illustrious music career, Henley is also a prominent activist for causes ranging from the environment to reform of the music industry.
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