Don Henley-The End of the Innocence

The evening before my first interview with him was scheduled to occur regarding his third solo album The End of the Innocence, Don Henley wanted to check me out. You see, Henley doesn’t suffer fools lightly, and now that I’ve lived for more than 30 years among the rural Northeast Texas hard-scrabble ranchers and family farmers that, like Henley, have populated this region for generations, I’ve come to know discernment of a stranger’s intentions as a common trait.

So  I was summoned to the West Hollywood eatery Dan Tana’s to dine with Henley, his management associate Andy Slater ( later to become President of Capitol Records), and an aloof lady who never  joined the conversation the entire dinner, preferring only to whisper in Don’s ear from time to time. She was never actually introduced, but as an aside Henley told me ,” She’s a singer named Sheryl who sang all of Michael Jackson’s vocals from behind a panel on the “Bad” tour whenever Michael had to dance and sing at the same time.” It wasn’t until four years later that I  realized that it was a pre-Tuesday Night Music Club, pre-Grammy Record of the Year, pre-seven million seller Sheryl Crow, who had sung on several of Henley’s songs.

But the following day Henley and collaborator/producer Danny Kortchmar more than made up for her reticence to converse as Kooch and Henley got down to the “Heart of the Matter” in this classic rock interview with stories behind“The Last Worthless Evening”,”How Bad Do You Want It”,”If Dirt Were Dollars”,”New York Minute”,”I Will Not Go Quietly”, & Henley’s 1989 Grammy Record of the Year penned with Bruce Hornsby,”The End of the Innocence”. On the six million seller’s twenty-fifth anniversary, the album resides  at #389 on Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 Albums of All Time.  -Redbeard

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