Best known as a founder of the legendary rock band, the Eagles, as well as an influential solo artist, Don Henley has maintained an extraordinary commitment to music and to various philanthropic efforts throughout his career, including a dedication to environmental issues and artists’ rights.
Raised in a small East Texas town, Henley was drawn to the sounds of exotic music broadcast from distant radio stations in New Orleans, Nashville, and Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. These stations introduced him to the blues, bluegrass, gospel, jazz, and rock and roll, paving the way for his future as an artist.
As a solo artist and as a member of the Eagles, Don Henley has received countless accolades, numerous gold and platinum records, and performed sold-out concert tours worldwide. A highly-respected musical artist, Henley launched his solo career in 1982 with his debut album I Can’t Stand Still, featuring the hit single “Dirty Laundry.” 1984’s Building The Perfect Beast yielded four hit singles, garnered five GRAMMY® nominations, and won the award for Best Rock Vocal Performance, Male for “The Boys Of Summer.” The artist’s track record continued unabated with 1989’s The End Of The Innocence, which yielded three more hits, including the title track and brought Henley another Best Rock Vocal GRAMMY® Award. Henley is a founding member, vocalist, and songwriter of the Eagles. The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998 and continues to perform sell-out concerts all over the world.
In today’s faddish, fractured, rock landscape, the Eagles retain an appeal that transcends both generation and genre, cementing the band’s role as enduring musical icons. As the best-selling American band of the ’70s, and one of the top-selling acts of all time, the Eagles have sold more than 150 million albums worldwide, scored six #1 albums, and topped the singles charts five times. The album Their Greatest Hits 1971-1977 is the best-selling U.S. album in history (38-times Platinum) and Hotel California is the third best-selling, certified 26-times Platinum by the RIAA. They have won six GRAMMY® Awards, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, in their first year of eligibility, and received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2016.
Henley’s career as a musician and activist continues to evolve. In 1990, he founded The Walden Woods Project, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting the historic woods in Massachusetts where author/philosopher Henry David Thoreau first championed the concept of land conservation. Henley has chaired the organization’s board of directors since its inception.
The Project has protected numerous tracts of Walden Woods from the threat of commercial development and maintains the most important library of Thoreau-related research material in the world. The Project offers highly acclaimed environmental education initiatives for students, teachers and the general public that apply Thoreau’s philosophy to addressing key environmental and social reform challenges of the 21st century.
As the official “Friends of Walden Pond” group, The Walden Woods Project works closely with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to help keep Thoreau’s legacy alive with interpretive exhibits and education programs at the Walden Pond State Reservation. The Project also helps DCR care for and maintain this iconic landscape that is visited each year by over a half million people from around the globe.
In addition to his leadership role with The Walden Woods Project, Henley founded the Caddo Lake Institute in his native East Texas in 1992. Caddo Lake Institute (CLI) is a non-profit scientific and educational organization with the mission of protecting the unique treasure that is Caddo Lake. CLI addresses issues such as the need to return healthy flows of water to the lake, restore water quality in the watershed, control invasive species, and conserve significant lands.