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Don Henley facing the future at 70
Don Henley admits that his 70th birthday made him pause and take stock of his future. Henley now leads the Eagles following co-founder Glenn Frey's 2016 death at age 67 due to complications from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Acute Ulcerative Colitis and Pneumonia. He revealed to The Dallas Morning News, "Turning 60 didn't faze me much. But 70's a bit of a different kettle of fish. It's something that makes you start thinking about how much time you might have left and what you want to do with that time, how you want to spend it. I have a huge bucket list that I'll probably not get to the bottom of, but we'll see." Despite being among the most literate of the songwriters of his generation, Henley is reluctant to write his memoir, explaining, "The story's not over yet. I can't write it from the grave, though, can I?"
Although Henley has long maintained that he doesn't want to be a jukebox pumping out Eagles hits night after night -- he does understand how much of the fans' lives are connected to those songs: "I always have to keep in mind how important these songs are to other people, to their lives. I was going through some old fan letters last night, and there was some incredibly moving stuff from people who had terminal diseases and war veterans who came back injured and how the music has been therapeutic for them and helped them get through tragedy and loss and illness. These songs are much more important than any one of us in the band. The songs are going to live on long after we're gone."
With the Eagles tentatively becoming an ongoing concern with the addition of the late Glenn Frey's son Deacon and country star Vince Gill, Henley spoke about his announcement calling the Eagles saga over and done with upon Frey's death: "When you're in shock, you say things, but that's true -- that's what I thought at the time. We're not replacing Glenn, because Glenn is not replaceable. We are adding his blood to the band. We're keeping it in the family.”
Henley, who turned 70 last month, went on to say, "These days, I think about how fortunate I am to have a career that has lasted this long and to still have my health. God knows I should have died in 1979 or 1980. And a lot of my peers are checking out now. We just lost Gregg Allman, same age as me. Makes you think. The clock starts ticking louder.”
Don Henley explained that like everyone, the Eagles' long road to adulthood had the usual bends and curves along the way: "We did some great things and we did some stupid things. But I don’t think anybody had any big regrets. Y’know, as the song goes, 'Regrets, I’ve had a few -- but too few too mention.' So, we’re just glad to be alive and working.”
The Eagles will next perform on September 30th with the Doobie Brothers as part of "The Classic NW" at Seattle's Safeco Field.
Since originally parting ways with the Eagles in 1980, Don Henley has scored eight Top 40 hits -- including the Top Tens: "Leather And Lace" - with Stevie Nicks (#6), "Dirty Laundry (#3), "The Boys Of Summer (#5), "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" (#9), and “The End Of The Innocence” (#8).
On September 25th, 2015, Don Henley released his latest solo album, Cass County, which marks his highest charting solo set to date -- debuting on the Billboard 200 albums charts at Number Three -- a full four spots higher than his last album, 2000's Inside Job.
In addition to that, Cass County debuted at Number One on Billboard's Top Album Sales and Top Country Albums charts marking the first chart-topping album of Henley's solo career, selling more than 87,000 units in its first week of release. Cass County features collaborations with Mick Jagger, Stevie Nicks, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, and Miranda Lambert, among others.