Dirty Laundry (Don Henley song)
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|Single by Don Henley|
|from the album I Can't Stand Still|
|Released||October 12, 1982|
|Format||7-inch 45 rpm|
|Don Henley singles chronology|
"Dirty Laundry" is a hit song written by Don Henley and Danny Kortchmar, from Henley's Gold-plus debut solo album I Can't Stand Still, released in 1982. The song hit #1 on the Billboard Top Album Tracks chart in October 1982, prior to being issued as a 45. Lyrically, the song describes mass media sensationalism and yellow journalism.
Released as the second single from I Can't Stand Still, it spent four weeks at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1983. The single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, representing sales of over 500,000 records in the US.
The song is about the callousness of TV news reporting as well as the tabloidization of all news. Henley sings from the standpoint of a news anchorman who "could have been an actor, but I wound up here", and thus is not a real journalist. The song's theme is that TV news coverage focuses too much on negative and sensationalist news; in particular, deaths, disasters, and scandals, with little regard to the consequences or for what is important ("We all know that crap is king"). The song was inspired by the intrusive press coverage surrounding the deaths of John Belushi and Natalie Wood, and Henley's own arrest in 1980 when he was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and possession of marijuana, cocaine, and Quaaludes after paramedics treated a 16-year-old girl who subsequently died suffering from drug intoxication at his Los Angeles home.
A line in the second verse, "Is the head dead yet?", is not a phrase that comes directly come from journalists, but they did indeed adopt the phrase. Rather, a "head" was a commonly used phrase during the late '60s and '70s, that law enforcement people used when referring to illegal drug users, particularly those who had over-dosed. However, many newspaper and some TV newsrooms had "ghoul pools" in which reporters and editors would place bets on how many deaths would occur, by a particular predetermined time, say midnight on a Saturday. Reporters would be on the phone to cops and hospital emergency rooms to see if anyone, hanging by a thread, had just died, with the winning bettor taking the proceeds from the betting pot. Hence, the question: "Is the 'head dead yet?'" Contrary, to earlier posts, here, the phrase "is the head dead yet" has absolutely nothing to do with posting a headline, although journalistic writers and editors do generically refer to headlines as "heads."
Among the musicians on the record were Timothy B. Schmit and Joe Walsh, two of Henley's Eagles bandmates. Walsh performs the first guitar solo, followed by Steve Lukather of the band Toto; the guitar basic tracks are played by Danny Kortchmar who also helped Henley compose this song. The late Jeff Porcaro (also of Toto) plays the drums on this track. The sleeve notes also mention these musicians: George Gruel, Roger Linn and Steve Porcaro.
During the 1994 reformation of Eagles, Glenn Frey suggested the entire band that they perform this and other of Henley's solo hits as he stated that he liked them and despite differences the band had over the years, they admired Henley's solo work. During the performances of Frey and Henley's solo songs, Eagles' touring drummer Scott F. Crago, handles most of the drumming duties.
In the Eagles' Farewell 1 Tour-Live from Melbourne concert DVD, Henley (speaking for the band) dedicated this song "to Mr. Rupert Murdoch"; in many live performances, this dedication remains, but sometimes is changed "to Mr. Bill O'Reilly". The song was performed on the Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden tour in 2008-2012 as well as the band's History of the Eagles tour. During the song, a background video shows, among other things, clips from The O'Reilly Factor, Glenn Beck, and The Jerry Springer Show.
|Single by Nickelback|
|Released||August 19, 2016|
|Nickelback singles chronology|
Lisa Marie Presley released a cover version of the song in 2005. It was the first single released from her album Now What, and reached No. 36 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Presley also shot a music video, which featured a cameo appearance by George Michael.
Nickelback covered the song and released it as a single August 19, 2016.
- Don Henley discography
- List of Billboard Mainstream Rock number-one songs of the 1980s
- Narcotizing dysfunction
- Yellow journalism
- Sleeve notes to Dirty Laundry in Actual Miles CD of 1995.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 282.
- "Dirty Laundry by Don Henley Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2014-05-10.
- Sleeve notes to Dirty Laundry in the Actual Miles CD of 1995.
- Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2015-12-16.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2017-03-27.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-10-26. Retrieved 2015-07-08.