The Eagles Song Featuring Don Henley’s Dark Prophecy About The World
The Eagles came into prominence relatively quickly, owing to their sweet sound blended with soft rock, country, and folk. Throughout their career spanning five decades, the band has delivered many global hit songs like ‘Hotel California,’ ‘I Can’t Tell You Why,’ ‘Take It Easy,’ and ‘Desperado’ even though they released only seven studio albums.
Another outstanding Eagles track is ‘The Last Resort,’ written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey, whose dominant songwriting partnership brought the band to the next level. The song was mostly credited to Henley, who is celebrated with his powerful emotional lyrics. The track differs from the others as it consists of environmental themes that would become a signature of Henley’s activist career.
What Themes Did Don Henley Address In ‘The Last Resort’?
‘The Last Resort’ was initially released on the Eagles’ 1976 album, ‘Hotel California,‘ which is one of the best-selling albums of all time. Later on, it was also released on the B-side of ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ in 1977. The song straightforwardly targets all humanity and its strong tendency to control and manipulate the environment for their benefit.
It shouldn’t be surprising that most of the credit goes to Don Henley, who has been well-known for his activist side over the years. The musician founded a nonprofit organization called The Walden Woods Project in 1990, which has become one of the most successful environmental acts in the United States. The organization aims to protect the iconic landscape that inspired Henry David Thoreau, who laid the foundation of environmentalism.
Don Henley regularly organizes exclusive benefit concerts, record sales, and other fundraisers to raise money and awareness for the project. Henley also co-founded another nonprofit organization, Caddo Lake Institute, which aims to preserve the area around Caddo Lake, where the musician spent most of his childhood.
‘The Last Resort’ is a critique of all human beings who have had a devastating effect on the places he finds attractive. The song emphasizes the greediness of people who have a selfish desire for wealth and possessions. In a previous interview with Rolling Stone, Don Henley stated that it is one of his favorite songs since he cares about the environment more than anything else. For him, people irreversibly destroy the environment and completely ignore the future. He also got into politics with these environmental motives to raise awareness about these issues.
Don Henley speaking on the song:
“‘The Last Resort,’ on ‘Hotel California,’ is still one of my favorite songs… That’s because I care more about the environment than about writing songs about drugs or love affairs or excesses of any kind. The gist of the song was that when we find something good, we destroy it by our presence — by the very fact that man is the only animal on earth that is capable of destroying his environment.
The environment is the reason I got into politics: to try to do something about what I saw as the complete destruction of most of the resources that we have left. We have mortgaged our future for gain and greed.”
Glenn Frey also reflected on the song in an episode of In the Studio with Redbeard and gave all credit to Don Henley. Frey explained that they were very concerned about the environment, so the song became a perfect reflection of their attitude. For Frey, Henley topped himself as a songwriter on this track and touched upon many important topics. Glen agreed with Don on his environmental concerns and reflected on human beings’ indifference to nature.
Glenn Frey’s words on the song:
“I have to give all the credit for ‘The Last Resort’ to Henley. It was the first time that Don, on his own, took it upon himself to write an epic story. We were very much at that time, concerned about the environment and doing anti-nuclear benefit concerts. It seemed the perfect way to wrap up all of the different topics we had explored on the ‘Hotel California’ album.
Don found himself as a lyricist with that song, kind of outdid himself. We’re constantly screwing up paradise and that was the point of the song and that at some point there is going to be no more new frontiers. I mean, we’re putting junk, er, garbage into space now. There’s enough crap floating around the planet that we can’t even use, so it just seems to be our way. It’s unfortunate, but that is sort of what happens.”
You can listen to ‘The Last Resort’ below.