The Song The Eagles’ Don Henley Wrote About His Late Ex-Girlfriend

Many of both positive and negative lived experiences are unique as they somehow impact our perspective. While there are several ways to share those, singing about them is undoubtedly one of the most relieving routes to take, especially for musicians. Writing from a personal stance is very powerful and can help artists craft incredibly moving works.

As any life experience can inspire artists to pen memorable tracks, love and heartbreak are expectedly at the top of the common themes. We all deal with some aspects of love at any point in our lives, so it is not surprising that these subjects form the basis for many hit lyrics.

Many musicians hit the popular music charts by opening up about their need for affection, relationship problems, managing the loss of love, or addressing an ex-lover. The Eagles icon Don Henley also took one of his former love affairs and turned it into a song to share his emotions with the rest of the world.

In 2015, Don Henley released his fifth solo studio album, ‘Cass County,’ featuring the song ‘The Cost of Living,’ accompanied by Merle Haggard. A few weeks after the record’s release, the singer joined an interview with Classic Rock to reflect on his new album and long-term career with the Eagles.

Some part of ‘The Cost of Living’ includes the lines, ‘You can’t live in memories / All your golden yesterdays / Or spend your whole life grieving / For the one that got away.’ When the interviewer asked whether the song was about his ex-girlfriend Stevie Nicks, Henley revealed that it was about his ‘high school sweetheart,’ who had passed away a short time ago.

“People speculate about all kinds of things. But no, it’s not Stevie. It might be about my high school sweetheart,” said Don Henley, clarifying that the track had nothing to do with Stevie Nicks. “We buried her last year. Breast cancer. I’m friends with her husband, even though we were bitter rivals in college.”

So, the singer wrote ‘The Cost of Living’ to reflect his grief over the death of his ex-girlfriend from high school. Henley helped her as much as he could while she was battling breast cancer, but there was only so much he could do. Don Henley revealed, “When she became ill, I helped with getting her into the best cancer hospital in America. I sang at her funeral. It’s great to grow up, you know?”

Like many other artists in the music world, Don Henley felt the need to express his emotions with a song. He showed his respect and longing for the old days he had with his former girlfriend by crafting a sentimental piece. Although she passed away last year, her memory will live on through ‘The Cost of Living.’