CNN Showbiz

Don Henley

Henley cultivates mystical 'Garden'

December 10, 1995
Web posted at: 7:30 a.m. EST

From Correspondent Jim Moret

HOLLYWOOD, California (CNN) -- Nearly 20 years after writing the Eagle's smash hit "Hotel California," Don Henley re-examines society's slide into sin with his latest album "Garden of Allah."

Henley's lyrics are of a metaphysical nature. "The people gave their blessings to crimes of passion/it was a dark, dark, night of the collective soul," Henley sings.

"I think if people listen closely they will see the humor in it," he says. "I mean the devil shows up in a seersucker suit and gets angry because it's so hot here and reminds him of home and he's all sweaty."

Henley likens his seven-minute composition to a mini Faustian opera where the devil grows disillusioned, waxing nostalgic about the good old days.

Douglas as the devil

Kirk Douglas plays Satan in the video. It turns out Henley is friends with Michael Douglas, who approached his father about the project. "He ran it by his rabbi, his spiritual adviser who thought that the subject matter was pertinent and timely and advised him to do the video," Henley says. (616K QuickTime movie) Courtesy Geffen Records

"Garden of Allah" is one of two original songs appearing on Henley's newly released greatest hits album entitled "Actual Miles."

This album marks the end of his long-term and often contentious relationship with Geffen records. "I frankly don't think I've got enough hits to release a greatest hits album," Henley says. "But these days the record industry, instead of saying we won't release a greatest hits album, we'll wait, they say, write a couple of new songs and we'll have enough for a greatest hits album. So that's what one has to do. This is my last record for this label and I'm beginning a new plateau."

This marks Henley's 15th year as a solo artist but he admits that many people still think of him as a member of the Eagles, with whom he is currently on tour.

He also continues to work for environmental causes including the Waldon Woods Project, which he founded. "People say there's this side of you and that side of you. I don't have sides. Boxes have sides. I'm not a box. I try to deal with situations independently."


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