He is a drummer and singer-songwriter born Donald Hugh Henley in Linden, Texas.
The first band he played in was Shiloh who were taken an interest in and funded by Kenny Rogers and this resulted in them moving to Los Angeles and recording an album. After meeting Glenn Frey they backed Linda Ronstadt and teamed up two Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon to form the group the Eagles.
The group was among one of the most successful in the 1970s and he began his successful songwriting career with them on the co-written song “Witchy Woman” and moving on to co-write the No. 1 hits “Desperado” and “Hotel California”. They disbanded in 1980 after stress caused by touring and the release of the album The Long Run and they all went on to pursue their solo careers.
After having gone through an arrest for drug possession and “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” in 1980, he began his career again in 1982 releasing the album I Can’t Stand Still. His solo hits included “Dirty Laundry”, “The Boys of Summer”, which won Best Video of the Year at MTV Video Music Awards and the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, and the duet during his relationship with Stevie Nicks, “Leather and Lace”.
As a background vocalist he has worked with many artists including Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Cash, Dan Fogelberg, Melissa Manchester, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Earl Scruggs, Conway Twitty, Roger Waters, Trisha Yearwood and Warren Zevon with further duets being performed with Kenny Rogers and Patty Smyth to name just a few.
Some of the many albums he has appeared on include his own Building the Perfect Beast, The End of the Innocence and Inside Job as well as Get a Grip by Aerosmith, Another Page by Christopher Cross, C’Mon. C’Mon by Sheryl Crowe, Desperado, Hell Freezes Over, Hole in the World, Hotel California, Long Road Out of Eden, Long Run, On the Border and One of These Nights with The Eagles, Bruce Hornsby & Friends by Bruce Hornsby, 21 at 33 by Elton John, Simple Dreams by Linda Ronstadt, Hits! by Boz Scaggs, Against the Wind by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Black Rose by J.D. Souther, Trouble in Paradise by the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band, That’s Why I’m Here by James Taylor, Fahrenheit by Toto, Essential by John Waite, So What by Joe Walsh and the soundtracks of About Last Night, The Color of Money, Coyote Ugly, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Leap of Faith, Leaving Las Vegas, Michael and Vision Quest.
Charities and Committee Work now also takes his interest and and he was the founder of the Walden Woods Project to protect Walden Pond from development, he co-founded the Caddo Lake Institute for ecological research and the Recording Artist’s Coalition with Sheryl Crow which protects musician’s rights against music industry business practices and he has testified to various Committees on this subject. He married Sharon Summerhall, a former model, in 1995 and they have three children.
He reunited with the Eagles when they got back together again and he continued to record and perform with them until the History of the Eagles Tour which began in July 2013 and ended in July 2015, six months before the death of Glenn Frey.
In 2015 he released his solo album Cass County.
One of These Nights (Don Henley/Glenn Frey)
Visions (Don Felder/Don Henley)
Bob Seger recordings
Capitol P-4836 (S96012) (US promo 45)