August 1985: Don Henley Releases "Sunset Grill"

Don Henley performing at Veteran's Stadium for the first Farm Aid Concert in Champaign, Illinois, September 22, 1985. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
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(Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

It could be said that Don Henley was in a Heartbreakers kind of mood while making his second solo album, Building the Perfect Beast. The record featured Benmont Tench, Mike Campbell, and Stan Lynch, then all members of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers.

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Tench collaborated with Henley and songwriter/guitarist Danny Kortchmar, on the song "Sunset Grill." Singing harmony vocals: Patty Smyth of the band Scandal.

"'Sunset Grill' is a real hamburger place on Sunset Boulevard that Don used to go to," Kortchmar told Songfacts. "He admired the fact that the same family and the same people had run it for many years, and that the burgers were made with love - they were everything he liked about American society. So he used that Sunset Grill as a metaphor for what he liked, what he thought was great about society. And then he also used it to describe what he didn't like, which is plenty. He's a very conscious fellow and a guy with a lot to say, especially at that time. He had a lot to say and a lot to prove, and he did it."

Released as the fourth single from Building the Perfect Beast, "Sunset Grill" peaked at #22 on the Hot 100 for the week of October 19, 1985. The #1 song in America that week: a-ha's "Take on Me." The track did even better on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, climbing as high as #7 for the week of January 19, 1985. The #1 song on the chart that week: Foreigner's "I Want to Know What Love Is."

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