Don Henley’s Confession About Glenn Frey’s Superior Trait

Without a doubt, the myth of the Eagles was created through teamwork, but back in the day, and maybe still, people loved giving all their attention to late frontman Glenn Frey and our one and only Don Henley. You see, the pair seemed to be at the frontiers of what the Eagles most stood out for, and they would receive more publicity than their fellow bandmates would.

So, even today, when someone mentions the Eagles, the first name they might think of would be Don or Glenn’s rather than considering Don Felder or Joe Walsh right away. Frey was also, undoubtedly, aware of how much they’d stood out and probably considered themselves as the creative leaders of the band, so when it came to firing Felder out of the band, Henley and Frey stood side by side.

However, even with all the publicity, Don and Glenn’s relationship didn’t turn into a turf war on whom would be the sole leader of the Eagles; on the contrary, they were always close friends, only having a few of your usual friendly conflicts from time to time. So, when discussing the creative process of songwriting with American Songwriter in the mid-90s, Don modestly accepted that Felder’s superior trait was his disciplined and planned work ethic.

“Glenn [Frey] is better at that than I am,” Henley said, revealing that he was not as disciplined as Frey about setting aside a certain time for songwriting. “He’s much more disciplined. I sort of just wait for it to come to me. He likes to block out a certain amount of time every day and sit down and go, ‘okay, we’re writing.’ Sometimes that works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”

However, lyrical inspiration would come to Henley at usually random times. The drummer said, “You usually have a day where nothing comes to you. Lyrics and songs usually come to me when I’m doing something else, like loading the dishwasher or gardening or riding the horses.”

Don then discussed what kind of person would be best to collaborate with. He explained, “Somebody with enthusiasm, somebody who is willing to carefully criticize and examine themselves, that’s where most people fall down on the job. Most people don’t take criticism very well from others or themselves. Glenn and I are very willing to criticize ourselves.”

To him, being critical of yourself was the most crucial step. Henley said, “You have to be critical of yourself. Now you can be overly critical. You can criticize yourself to the point of paralyzation. I know; I’ve been in that position sometimes. Nothing I did was good enough. You set too high a standard for yourself, especially on days when it’s just not happening. Be confident in the notion that it will get better. That this is the best you can do for now.”

So, when he was asked to discuss his songwriting process, Henley didn’t just go and compliment his talents. The musician knew he had to be critical of himself and sincerely admitted that his late friend, Glenn Frey, had been more disciplined and loyal to his working routines than he was when it came to songwriting.