‘The antithesis of what rock ‘n’ roll is all about’: The Eagles’ Don Henley questions need for a Hall of Fame

Just because the Eagles are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame doesn’t mean Don Henley is buying into the whole thing. In fact, for the band’s stalwart songwriter, singer and drummer, it’s quite the opposite.

“I’m not crazy about the whole idea of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,” Henley tells Andre Gardner of WMGK. “It seems to me to be the antithesis of what rock ‘n’ roll is all about. Was it Groucho Marx who said ‘I wouldn’t want to become part of any club that would have me’? So, I’ve always felt a little queasy about the whole idea.”

[SOMETHING ELSE! REWIND: The Eagles built their Hall of Fame resume with songs like 'Hotel California.' But what about half-baked tracks like 'I Wish You Peace,' or the disastrous misfire 'Disco Strangler'?]

Henley is quick to add, however, that his discomfort doesn’t have anything to do with the modern practice of inducting artists from outside of the so-called classic rock paradigm, like Public Enemy and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“The definition of rock ‘n’ roll has been stretched a great deal, and will continue to be stretched,” Henley adds. “You know, Madonna’s in there. It’s just a matter of taste, really. I think there’s room. It’s a pretty wide category these days.”

The problem, he says, goes to the very idea of an enshrinement for figures who are supposed to be working, be definition, as outsiders — as rebels.

“I remember when the Sex Pistols were inducted, they refused,” Henley tells Gardner. “They told them to shove it. Now, that’s rock ‘n’ roll! (Laughs.) So, you now, it’s not something I pay attention to anymore.”

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  • Rob

    The debate over whether ‘To’ or ‘Not To’ have a hall of fame for rock artists is a never-ending convo. What’s missing in Don’s observations is the difference between the Rock Hall’s inductee set and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. The museum is undoubtedly one my favorite sites on earth. How do we keep the artistry, the heritage, the archives and the banner alive for Rock and Roll? The museum is an amazing venue.

    Whether we like it or not, the annual induction ceremonies raise a hell of a lot of money that keeps the venue in the black.

    Also, I’m getting a little tired of Henley’s diatribe. At least Joe Walsh has a clue. The last time I saw Joe perform… it was at a Rock Hall Fundraiser that assists youngsters who are our next aspiring rockers.

  • JC Mosquito

    I’m sure there are some people who would question The Eagles’ connection to anything at all described as “rock and roll” other than Joe Walsh’s previous band The James Gang.