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Don Henley and Henry David Thoreau -- Are the singer and philosopher natural allies?

By Kent Jones and Nick Francis
Updated November 29, 1991 at 05:00 AM EST
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Walden Pond is no Hotel California. Still, rockin’ friend of the earth Don Henley has been doing some serious stumping to keep 19th-century philosopher/author Henry David Thoreau’s hangout, Walden Woods in Massachusetts, from the clutches of developers. (So far, 23,000 copies of a Henley-inspired collection of essays, Heaven Is Under Our Feet, have been sold, with royalties going to the Walden Woods Project.) Are Henry and Henley natural allies? Judge for yourself:

Henley: ”Life in the fast lane, sure to make you lose your mind.” (”Life in the Fast Lane”)
Thoreau: ”The universe constantly and obediently answers to our conceptions; whether we travel fast or slow, the track is laid for us.” (Walden)

Henley: ”They knew all the right people, they took all the right pills, they threw outrageous parties, they paid heavily bills.” (”Life in the Fast Lane”)
Thoreau: ”Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand. Our life is frittered away by detail.” (Walden)

Henley: ”They stab it with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast.” (”Hotel California”)
Thoreau: ”We are conscious of an animal in us, which awakens in proportion as our higher nature slumbers. It is reptile and sensual, and perhaps cannot be wholly expelled.” (Walden)

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