Building the Perfect Beast

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Building the Perfect Beast
Don Henley - Building the Perfect Beast.jpg
Studio album by Don Henley
Released November 19, 1984 (1984-11-19)
Recorded 1984
Studio Record One, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles; Bill Schnee Studio, Universal City, C.A.; The Villa, North Hollywood, Los Angeles
Genre Rock, pop rock, soft rock
Length 47:08 (CD and Cassette version)
Label Geffen
Producer Don Henley
Danny Kortchmar
Greg Ladanyi
Don Henley chronology
I Can't Stand Still
Building the Perfect Beast
The End of the Innocence
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Rolling Stone (Positive)[2]
Robert Christgau B[3]
iTunes (Positive)[4]

Building the Perfect Beast is the second solo studio album by Don Henley. The album was released on 19 November 1984 on the Geffen label. A commercial and critical success, it is generally regarded as the culmination of the smoother, more adult-oriented sound of Henley's solo work.

For the album, Henley collaborated with members of the then line-up of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, who contributed to the writing of the songs: guitarist Mike Campbell, keyboardist Benmont Tench and drummer Stan Lynch, the last of which would later collaborate with Henley in composing the Eagles' song "Learn to Be Still", which was released on their live album Hell Freezes Over. The album also features contributions from Fleetwood Mac's guitarist, Lindsey Buckingham, The Go-Go's lead vocalist Belinda Carlisle, and features contributions from Randy Newman, Jim Keltner, Waddy Wachtel, Pino Palladino, Steve Porcaro, and Ian Wallace.

The album reached #13 on the Billboard 200[5] and was certified 3x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[6] The album spawned four singles which all reached the top forty on the Billboard Hot 100, including "The Boys of Summer", which would become one of Henley's most popular songs and win him numerous awards, including a Grammy Award and four MTV Video Music Awards.

In 1989, the album was ranked No. 73 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "The 100 Greatest Albums of the 1980s".

Critical reception[edit]

The album has consistently been praised by rock critics. Reviewing the album in Rolling Stone, Kurt Loder wrote that Building the Perfect Beast is a meticulously crafted and programmed set of songs about love and politics. The first side is given to personal reflections on love and loss, such as the wistful, gorgeous "Boys of Summer." Side two is more issue-oriented, tackling subjects from genetic engineering ("Building the Perfect Beast") to America's reckless foreign policy ("All She Wants to Do Is Dance"). The album's longest and most ambitious piece, "Sunset Grill," describes in disturbingly vivid images a character's sense of entrapment in an evil, convulsive metropolis: "You see a lot more meanness in the city/It's the kind that eats you up inside/Hard to come away with anything that feels like dignity."[7]

Reviewing for AllMusic, critic Vik Iyengar has written of the album, "After experimenting with synthesizers and a pop sound on his solo debut, Don Henley hits the mark on his sophomore release, Building the Perfect Beast. This album established Henley as an artist in his own right after many successful years with the Eagles, as it spawned numerous hits."[8]

Reviewers for iTunes have praised the track "Sunset Grill" as "the greatest track," and written of the album, "Listening to Building the Perfect Beast, a newcomer to Don Henley's work might never have imagined that, as part of the Eagles, he'd been a key player in making country-rock a part of the mainstream." They also added that "Henley made a "Hotel California" for the whole country, but still rooted in LA. In an era of great radio pop, it was a standout among standouts."[9]


Japanese reissue[edit]

The original mix of the album was reissued in Japan in a replica of the original Compact disc art work. The album was remastered, for this reissue using Direct Stream Digital (DSD) to transfer the digital files. The release was a limited edition in the SHM-CD format.[10]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "The Boys of Summer" (Don Henley, Mike Campbell) 4:45
2. "You Can't Make Love" (Henley, Danny Kortchmar) 3:34
3. "Man With a Mission" (Henley, Kortchmar, J. D. Souther) 2:43
4. "You're Not Drinking Enough" (Kortchmar) 4:40
5. "Not Enough Love in the World" (Henley, Kortchmar, Benmont Tench) 3:54
6. "Building the Perfect Beast" (Henley, Kortchmar) 4:59
7. "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" (Kortchmar) 4:28
8. "Sunset Grill" (Henley, Kortchmar, Tench) 6:22
9. "Drivin' With Your Eyes Closed" (Henley, Kortchmar, Stan Lynch) 3:41
10. "Land of the Living" (Henley, Kortchmar) 3:24
Total length:

Note: "A Month of Sundays" appeared on the cassette and compact disc versions of the album, but was not included on the LP format. On vinyl it was released as the B-side of the single "The Boys of Summer."


Additional musicians
  • Don Henley – producer (All tracks)
  • Mike Campbell – producer (track 1)
  • Danny Kortchmar – producer (All tracks)
  • Greg Ladanyi – producer (All tracks)
  • Greg Ladanyi – recording engineer, audio mixing (All tracks)
  • Niko Bolas – recording engineer, audio mixing (All tracks)
  • Richard Bosworth – additional recording engineer, assistant recording engineer (All tracks)
  • Tom Knox – additional recording engineer (All tracks)
  • Allen Sides – horns recording engineer (track 8)
  • Mark Ettel – assistant recording engineer- horns (track 8)
  • Dan Garcia – assistant recording engineer (All tracks)
  • David Schober – assistant recording engineer (All tracks)
  • Duane Seykora – assistant recording engineer (All tracks)
  • Mike Reese – mastering
  • Doug Sax – mastering
  • Michael Boddicker – music programming (track 6), music sequencing (6), synthesizer arrangements (8), E-mu Emulator (8)
  • Steve Porcaro – music programming (track 7)
  • Bill Cuomo – percussion programming (track 10)
  • Danny Kortchmar – synthesizer arrangements (track 8), Percussion arrangement (10)
  • Don Henley – synthesizer arrangements (track 8)
  • Randy Newman – synthesizer arrangements (track 8)
  • David Paich – synthesizer arrangements ("A Month of Sundays")
  • Benmont Tench – synthesizer arrangements (track 8)
  • Jerry Hey – horn arrangements (track 8)
Album artwork
  • Jeri McManus – art direction, graphic coordinator
  • Don Henley – art direction
  • Maren Jensen – art direction
  • Herb Ritts – photography


Chart (1985) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[11] 4
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[12] 23
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[13] 18
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[14] 15
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[15] 24
UK Albums (OCC)[16] 14
US Billboard 200[17] 13
Year Single Chart Position
1984 "Sunset Grill" Mainstream Rock Tracks 7
1984 "The Boys of Summer" Adult Contemporary 33
1984 "The Boys of Summer" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
1984 "The Boys of Summer" The Billboard Hot 100 5
1985 "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" Hot Dance Music/Club Play 10
1985 "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales 34
1985 "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 65
1985 "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
1985 "All She Wants to Do Is Dance" The Billboard Hot 100 9
1985 "Drivin' With Your Eyes Closed" Mainstream Rock Tracks 9
1985 "Not Enough Love in the World" Adult Contemporary 6
1985 "Not Enough Love in the World" Mainstream Rock Tracks 17
1985 "Not Enough Love in the World" The Billboard Hot 100 34
1985 "Sunset Grill" Adult Contemporary 18
1985 "Sunset Grill" The Billboard Hot 100 22


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[6] 3x Platinum 3,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


Grammy Awards

Year Winner Category
1985 "The Boys of Summer" Best Male Rock Vocal Performance


  1. ^ Building the Perfect Beast at AllMusic
  2. ^ Don Henley, Building the Perfect Beast
  3. ^ Robert Christgau
  4. ^ Building the Perfect Beast
  5. ^ "Don Henley Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "American album certifications – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  7. ^ Don Henley: Building the Perfect Beast, retrieved 21 June 2014 
  8. ^ Building the Perfect Beast, retrieved 21 June 2014 
  9. ^ Building the Perfect Beast, retrieved 21 June 2014 
  10. ^ Giuranna Don Henley, Building the Perfect Beast the High Fidelity SCHCD Check |url= value (help), retrieved 21 June 2014 
  11. ^ " – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  12. ^ " – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  13. ^ " – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  14. ^ " – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  15. ^ " – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  16. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  17. ^ "Don Henley – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Don Henley. Retrieved October 18, 2012.

External links[edit]