Patty Smyth & Don Henley – “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” – (1992)

I could’ve sworn this song was from the 80s. Nope – 1992. But hey, adult contemporary from the early 1990s might as well have been from the 80s because it all sounds very similar. Also, let’s note that this is by Patty Smyth, former lead singer of Scandal and not Patti Smith, the punk singer. Big distinction. And of course, Don Henley, the Eagle. This was an Adult Contemporary #1 and a #2 on the Hot 100. And I’ve always thought Patty Smyth sounds like a country singer in this song. Am I crazy?

Stevie Nicks & Don Henley – “Leather and Lace” – (1981)

I’m starting something new this week. It’s not a countdown. Instead, I’m just going to feature duets until I basically run out of them. From the 80s (Monday), 90s (Wednesday), and 2000s (Friday). The first is from two huge stars: Stevie Nicks (of Fleetwood Mac) and Don Henley (of the Eagles). Stevie Nicks wrote the song for Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter – but their version never even appeared on the album they released together (which was actually called Leather and Lace). Instead, Nicks recorded it with Henley and it went to #6 on the Hot 100.

Don Henley – “The Boys of Summer” – (1984)

I love the opening to this song. There’s just something about it that really draws me in. I can picture everything he’s talking about – people on the beach, etc. This is another Don Henley song about the end of youth and entering middle age (see also: “The End of the Innocence”). This song has been covered to near-death, the most famous probably being The Ataris’ version in 2003. The original is perfectly fine with me, thanks.

Don Henley – “The End of the Innocence” – (1989)

Not sure about that weird comb-over thing Don’s got going on on the album cover there. I almost didn’t pick this Henley song because it’s a little sappy (this whole album was) and a little Mike + the Mechanics (who I don’t consider sappy). Then again, the song was co-written by Bruce Hornsby, who is also a little Mike + the Mechanics-y. Whatever it is, it doesn’t really sound a whole lot like the Eagles. Of all the Eagles members who had solo careers (I count three, unless I’m missing someone. Did Timothy B. Schmit have a solo career?), Don Henley had the most successful, and it was his ability to keep changing with the times (as well as his excellent voice) that allowed this to be. And he did change with the times: take a look at his five big 80s singles, from “Dirty Laundry” to this one and you can definitely see a sort of arc.

#55 – Don Henley – “The Heart of the Matter” – (1989)

This is, quite literally, a last minute substitution (I write these a few weeks in advance and am re-writing this right before it publishes). I originally had “The End of the Innocence” here (The End of the Innocence is also the title of the album that these two songs share). But every time I hear this song I can’t help but go: “Hey, this is a good song.” Sure, it has a slight moral-ness to it but it’s actually quite good. This is the type of song that I really like but whenever it comes on the radio I’d flip the station in search of something a little more upbeat and sing-along-y. But I rarely turn this song off. And I’m not sure why. Anyway, I like this one better than “The End of the Innocence” – but that song will kick off our list of songs that barely missed this countdown.