Actual Miles: Henley’s Greatest Hits

Don Henley

1995: Geffen GEFD-24834

  1. Dirty Laundry
  2. The Boys of Summer
  3. All She Wants To Do Is Dance
  4. Not Enough Love in the World
  5. Sunset Grill
  6. The End of the Innocence
  7. The Last Worthless Evening
  8. New York Minute
  9. I Will Not Go Quietly
  10. The Heart of the Matter
  11. The Garden of Allah
  12. You Don’t Know Me At All
  13. Everybody Knows

Usually I eschew greatest-hits collections, but in order to satisfy my craving for Henley’s “Sunset Grill” and “Dirty Laundry” without taking on the load of everything else on their respective albums, and not being a Henley fan, I chose this “safe” path. It did yield an unexpected bonus in the form of “The Garden of Allah,” which as a song doesn’t particularly stir me (and which contains all the standard Henley “wry insights” that annoy me after about the second one—we GET the POINT, Henley, get on with the MUSIC) but which contains a superb aural gem in the form of Sheryl Crow’s multitracked swell which forms the body of the choruses. Crow’s voice is oddly perfect for the tone of the song…I wish it could have been further incorporated, or that the soundscape could have been expanded to further develop that lush hint of sensuous exultation. The latter, and the hot dark horn explosions of “Sunset Grill’s” wrapup, made this CD a worthwhile purchase for me.

I revisited this review a year or two after writing the above comments, and played the album again, and I found that I have nothing more to add…except maybe that I wish Henley hadn’t tried to sing so many notes so far above his voice’s natural range. Other than that, the elements I love remain the value of this piece: “Dirty Laundry,” “Down At the Sunset Grill,” Sheryl Crow’s vocal instrumentalization, and the dark horn explosions which truly are marvelous.