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The Hilarity of Don Henley’s Influence: A History

The latest big news on the liberal-musicians-suing-conservative-politicians-for-using-their-music front is that former Eagle Don Henley has negotiated a settlement and received an apology from Chuck Devore, the California Republican candidate for Senate who parodied two of the singer’s songs. Although Devore originally crowed about his right to rip off “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” (his version: “All She Wants to Do Is Tax”) and “Boys of Summer” (“Hope of November”), he’s now completely changed his tune: “Political candidates, regardless of affiliation, should seek appropriate licence authority before they use copyrighted works,” said Devore in a statement. “Further, we regret all inaccurate, derogatory or disparaging remarks made about Mr Henley during the course of this dispute.”

Of course, while Devore may represent the most recent (not to mention egregiously slimy) parody, the past 20 years have included no shortage of strange, wonderful, and frequently hilarious projects inspired by Henley and the Eagles. Check out a few of our favorites after the jump.

Mojo Nixon — “Don Henley Must Die” (1990)
The first thing you need to know is that punk provocateur Mojo Nixon didn’t just write one song dissing Don Henley. While this is the song most explicitly devoted to hating on him, he also makes cameos on tracks like the (equally provocatively named) “Bring Me the Head of David Geffen.” (The exact lyric? “Even Don Henley’s got to bend over.”) In fact, VH1 even interviewed Mojo Nixon about the vendetta. According to Nixon, Henley was quoted as saying “Don Henley Must Die” had no commercial potential. ” Nixon’s response: “That’s the point, Don. Everything doesn’t have to have commercial potential. Loosen up that ponytail!”

“Weird Al” Yankovic — “When I Was Your Age” (1992)
While Weird Al has never admitted it, many fans consider this track to be a “style parody” of Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry.” Al also recorded his own take on the Eagles’ “Desperado,” called “Avocado.” It was never released, but it appears in part on his “Food Medley.”

Steven Cavanagh — “Hotel of the Emperor” (1998)
Australian author and song parodist Steven Cavanagh has basically built a career on Star Wars-themed parodies of popular songs. Some sample lyrics to this “Hotel California” send-up: “Shadows and a low ceiling/ A perfect place to hide/ And Dad said/ So, you have a sister here/ She’ll love the dark side.”

(C) Steven & Ken Cavanagh – Hotel of the Emperor .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

The Ataris — “Boys of Summer”(2003)
Lots of people have covered Henley’s California stalker anthem (Come on: “I’m driving by your house/Though I’m sure you’re not home”?!), but The Ataris’ totally pissed off mall-punk version may have been the most successful. Fun fact: It remains the band’s biggest hit.

William Hung — “Hotel California” (2004)
Like everything else American Idol meme William Hung has ever done, we’re not sure whether this is a joke or just an inept tribute. What we do know is that Henley probably was not happy about this midi-and-baby-voice rendition of his Eagles classic.

Dirty Projectors — The Getty Address (2005)
Undoubtedly the most ambitious work on this list, The Getty Address found David Longstreth’s Dirty Projectors composing a noisy opera about the 21st-century American wasteland whose protagonist is… Don Henley! If there were any doubt as to the sincerity of the project, consider this letter about the album, from Longstreth to Henley.

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