Saturday, October 8, 2022

"The End of the Innocence" by Don Henley

Top 10 Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Song#:  3948
Date:  06/24/1989
Debut:  62
Peak:  8
Weeks:  18
Genre:  Pop, Soft Rock, Americana

Pop Bits:  Following the success of his second solo album, the triple-platinum #13 Building the Perfect Beast, Henley took his time developing his follow up effort. While he would work with a good chunk of the same personnel involved with his previous album, the overall sound of the LP would shift in a more mature direction. The synths found prominently on Building would take a back seat while the songs would take on a more organic band sound. This first single was a good example of that. The understated tune had an Americana feel and featured a memorable piano riff. It was different fare from what Henley had doled out in his past solo efforts and it seemed folks liked the change. The song would end up topping the Rock chart while getting to #2 AC. On the Pop chart, it would become Henley's fifth Top 10 hit apart from the Eagles. The hit would help send the album to #8, which was Henley's first solo LP to crack the Top 10. It would quickly go gold. The album would get a Grammy nod for Album of the Year while this single would be nominated for three Grammys including Record and Song of the Year. It would win one for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance. It was his second win in that category.

ReduxReview:  This nostalgic track was just perfect for the time it was released. Henley's third LP was highly anticipated and this single came on the heels of his collaborator's (see below) successful second album. It played like an extension of that Americana pop sound and listeners grabbed on to it. The black and white video directed by David Fincher was also quite successful and it would go on to win an MTV Music Video Award for Best Male Video. At the time this song came out, I wasn't fully sold on it. The track just wasn't what I was expecting from Henley and it came off as a sort of imitation of another artist. However, the more I let the track sink in I began to realize that it was a nice piece of work from both artists and one that was quite memorable. Even today, you can instantly recognize this song after hearing only a few notes of the opening piano riff.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Does this song have a familiar feel and sound? It should. It was co-written by recently minted star Bruce Hornsby. The story goes that in '87 when Henley was beginning to work on his third album, he wanted to collaborate with another artist for a song. Having liked Hornsby's 1986 hit debut album The Way It Is, Henley blindly called up Hornsby and asked if he was interested in collaborating. Of course Hornsby jumped at the chance and invited Henley over to his house. The pair struck up a friendship and Hornsby played Henley a tape of a song he had been in the process of writing. Hornsby just had the music down and wasn't really sure if it was good enough to keep working on. Henley took the tape with him and it wasn't long before he was able to turn the tune into "The End of the Innocence." For the recording of the song, Henley brought Hornsby into the studio to record the piano and other keyboard parts. The pair would produce the track together. The collaboration would earn them Grammy nods for Record and Song of the Year.


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