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Henley Got Songwriting Lessons from Frey, Browne

Don Henley
Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Fans who were lucky enough to catch the screening of the new Eagles documentary at this month’s Sundance Film Festival are buzzing over the quality of the footage found in the film. History Of The Eagles will premiere on Showtime on February 15th and 16th and be released on DVD the following month. Co-founder Don Henley told Rolling Stone that despite the Eagles’ closed-in ranks during their heyday — having a film crew on hand was a great idea: “We were very private. We didn’t allow a lot of access to outside people or press — we tried to keep it all in-house. We did have the foresight to get some filming done.”

Henley went on to recall the band’s slow rise into becoming the era’s biggest band and beloved songwriters: “My (pre-Eagles) band, Shiloh, had done a few singles, but I was a terrible songwriter when I got in this band. I learned from Glenn (Frey), and J.D. Souther, and Jackson Browne. I’d done eight or nine years in bars and clubs and paid those dues and we’d all done that. . . There was no plan B — we were learning as went and that was our pattern. We could make an album, listen to each one (after release) and say ‘that song stinks’ and we can do better than that. We were just trying to top ourselves.”

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