Don Henley facts: Eagles singer's age, songs, wife, children and career explained

2 July 2024, 16:01 | Updated: 3 July 2024, 16:15

Don Henley in 1973
Don Henley in 1973. Picture: Getty

By Tom Owen

Don Henley, a legendary figure in rock music, is best known as a founding member of the Eagles, one of the most successful bands of all time.

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Don Henley has carved out an impressive career both as a band member and a solo artist. With the Eagles, he co-wrote and sang many of their biggest hits, such as ‘Hotel California’ and ‘Desperado,’ which have become timeless classics.

After the Eagles initially disbanded in 1980, Henley soared in his solo career, delivering hits like ‘The Boys of Summer’ and ‘The End of the Innocence.’ His distinctive voice and poetic lyrics resonated with fans worldwide.

Beyond music, Henley has shown a commitment to environmental and social causes, demonstrating his dedication to making a positive impact. With a career spanning over five decades, Henley continues to inspire and entertain.

  1. How old is Don Henley?

    Don Henley performing in 2019
    Don Henley performing in 2019. Picture: Getty

    He was born on July 22, 1947. He celebrated his 76th birthday in 2023.

    He hails from Gilmer, Texas, a small town that shaped his early life and musical inclinations. Henley was born to Hughlene and CJ Henley, a family that provided a supportive and nurturing environment for his burgeoning talent.

    Growing up, he shared his life with his sisters, who, along with his parents, were pivotal in his journey to becoming the legendary musician we know today.

  2. How did he get his start in music and when did he start the Eagles?

    Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Randy Meisner, Glenn Frey and Don Felder of the rock band "Eagles" pose for a portrait in 1977
    Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Randy Meisner, Glenn Frey and Don Felder of the rock band "Eagles" pose for a portrait in 1977. Picture: Getty

    Don Henley's journey into music began during his high school years in Linden, Texas, where he played in a band called The Four Speeds.

    His passion for music led him to join Shiloh, a country-rock band, which eventually brought him to Los Angeles. It was in LA that Henley's path crossed with Glenn Frey, and the two quickly formed a musical bond.

    In 1971, this connection culminated in the creation of the Eagles, alongside Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner. Joe Walsh later replaced Leadon, and Timothy B. Schmit later replaced Meisner, while Don Felder was also a member.

    The Eagles quickly rose to prominence, blending rock, country, and folk influences to create a unique sound. Henley's powerful vocals and songwriting skills were instrumental in the band's success, leading to an array of hits that have stood the test of time.

  3. What did he do after the Eagles broke up?

    Don Henley - The Boys Of Summer (Official Music Video)

    After the Eagles broke up in 1980, Don Henley embarked on a highly successful solo career.

    He released his debut solo album, I Can't Stand Still, in 1982, which featured the hit single 'Dirty Laundry.' Henley's solo work continued to showcase his talent for blending rock and introspective lyrics, earning him critical acclaim and commercial success.

    His second solo album, Building the Perfect Beast, released in 1984, solidified his status as a solo artist with hits like 'The Boys of Summer' and 'All She Wants to Do Is Dance.'

    Henley followed this with The End of the Innocence in 1989, which included memorable tracks such as 'The End of the Innocence' and 'Heart of the Matter.'

    Beyond his music, Henley also dedicated himself to environmental and political activism, founding the Walden Woods Project to preserve the land around Walden Pond in Massachusetts.

  4. Is Don Henley married and does he have kids?

    Don Henley with wife Sharon and their children in 2016
    Don Henley with wife Sharon and their children in 2016. Picture: Getty

    Don Henley married Sharon Summerall in 1995, and their union has been a significant part of his personal life

    Together, they have three children: two daughters, Annabel and Julia, and a son, Will.

    Henley often credits his family with providing a grounding and supportive presence amidst his busy career.

    He also previously dated Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and actress/model Lois Chiles.