Building the Perfect Beast

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Building the Perfect Beast
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 19, 1984 (1984-11-19)
Length47:08 (CD and Cassette version)
Don Henley chronology
I Can't Stand Still
Building the Perfect Beast
The End of the Innocence
Singles from Building the Perfect Beast
  1. "The Boys of Summer"
    Released: October 1984
  2. "All She Wants to Do Is Dance"
    Released: February 1985
  3. "Not Enough Love in the World"
    Released: May 1985
  4. "Sunset Grill"
    Released: August 1985

Building the Perfect Beast is the second solo studio album by American rock singer Don Henley, released on November 19, 1984, by Geffen Records. 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 primarily with guitarist Danny Kortchmar, along 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 whom would later collaborate with Henley in composing the Eagles' song "Learn to Be Still", which was released on their live album Hell Freezes Over (1994). 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[1] and was certified 3× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[2] 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.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Robert ChristgauB[4]

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 "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."[5] The magazine placed the album at No. 73 on its 1989 list of the "100 Best Albums of the Eighties".[6]

Reviewing retrospectively 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."[7]


Japanese reissue[edit]

The original mix of the album was reissued in Japan in a replica of the original compact disc artwork. 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.[8]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
1."The Boys of Summer"4:48
2."You Can't Make Love"3:34
3."Man with a Mission"
4."You're Not Drinking Enough"Kortchmar4:40
5."Not Enough Love in the World"
Side two
6."Building the Perfect Beast"
  • Henley
  • Kortchmar
7."All She Wants to Do Is Dance"Kortchmar4:28
8."A Month of Sundays"Henley4:30
9."Sunset Grill"
  • Henley
  • Kortchmar
  • Tench
10."Drivin' with Your Eyes Closed"
11."Land of the Living"
  • Henley
  • Kortchmar
Total length:47:08

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."




  • Producers – Don Henley, Danny Kortchmar and Greg Ladanyi (all tracks); Mike Campbell (Track 1).
  • Recorded and mixed by Niko Bolas and Greg Ladanyi
  • Additional engineers – Niko Bolas, Richard Bosworth and Tom Knox.
  • Assistant engineers – Richard Bosworth, Dan Garcia, David Schober and Duane Seykora.
  • Horns on track 10 recorded by Allen Sides, assisted by Mark Ettel.
  • Mastered by Mike Reese and Doug Sax at The Mastering Lab (Los Angeles, CA).
  • Graphic coordinator – Jeri McManus
  • Art direction – Don Henley, Maren Jensen and Jeri McManus.
  • Photography – Herb Ritts


Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1985) Peak
Australian (Kent Music Report) 4[9]
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[10] 23
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[11] 18
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[12] 15
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[13] 24
UK Albums (OCC)[14] 14
US Billboard 200[15] 13


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[2] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


Grammy Awards

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


  1. ^ "Don Henley Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  2. ^ a b "American album certifications – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast". Recording Industry Association of America.
  3. ^ Building the Perfect Beast at AllMusic
  4. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: Don Henley".
  5. ^ Don Henley: Building the Perfect Beast, 16 November 1989, retrieved 21 June 2014
  6. ^ "100 Best Albums of the Eighties". Rolling Stone. 16 November 1989.
  7. ^ Building the Perfect Beast, retrieved 21 June 2014
  8. ^ "Don Henley, Building the Perfect Beast the High Fidelity SCHCD". Retrieved 21 June 2014.
  9. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 137. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  10. ^ " – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  11. ^ " – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  12. ^ " – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  13. ^ " – Don Henley – Building the Perfect Beast". Hung Medien. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  14. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 18, 2012.
  15. ^ "Don Henley Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved October 18, 2012.

External links[edit]