Song of the Day #4,940: ‘Sunset Grill’ – Don Henley

Another 1984 album I know only vaguely, Building the Perfect Beast was Don Henley’s second solo album and the home of his greatest solo song, ‘The Boys of Summer.’

A collaboration with members of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (specifically, Mike Campbell, Benmont Tench and Stan Lynch), Building the Perfect Beast is the sort of adult pop album that Henley would hone to an even finer point five years later with End of the Innocence.

Apart from ‘The Boys of Summer,’ one of my favorite songs by anybody, I know this album best for the somewhat cheesy ‘All She Wants to Do is Dance’ and the sublime ‘Sunset Grill,’ which is preceded seamlessly by the beautiful ‘A Month of Sundays.’

Giving the rest of a record a listen this week, I didn’t find much that grabbed me. Just lots of filler to balance out the stunning opener and the lovely one-two punch near the close. I’d be content to lump those three songs with the best tracks on End of the Innocence and call it a day.

[Verse 1]
Let’s go down to the Sunset Grill
We can watch the working girls go by
Watch the basket people walk around and mumble
Stare out at the auburn sky

[Pre-Chorus 1]
There’s an old man there from the old world
To him, it’s all the same
Calls all his customers by name

[Chorus]
Down at the Sunset Grill
Down at the Sunset Grill
Down at the Sunset Grill
Down at the Sunset Grill

[Verse 2]
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
Hard to get home with any pride

[Pre-Chorus 2]
These days a man makes you somethin’
And you never see his face
But there is no hiding place

[Chorus]
Down at the Sunset Grill
Down at the Sunset Grill
Down at the Sunset Grill
Down at the Sunset Grill

[Bridge]
Respectable little murders pay
They get more respectable every day
Don’t worry, girl
I’m gonna stick by you
And someday soon
We’re gonna get in that car
And get outta here

[Verse 1 (reprise)]
Let’s go down to the Sunset Grill
Watch the working girls go by
Watch the basket people walk around and mumble
Gaze out at the auburn sky

[Pre-Chorus 3]
Maybe we’ll leave come springtime
Meanwhile, have another beer
What would we do without all these jerks anyway?
Besides, all our friends are here

[Chorus]
Down at the Sunset Grill
Down at the Sunset Grill
Down at the Sunset Grill
Down at the Sunset Grill

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,940: ‘Sunset Grill’ – Don Henley

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    This was one of my favorite albums of 1984 and the 80s. Certainly, “Boys of Summer” is wonderful, but the highlight is definitely “Month of Sundays” and “Sunset Grill.”

  2. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    I echo your sentiments almost entirely. Having become a bigger and bigger Eagles fan over the year, I was ecstatic when I discovered that Don Henley had solo records. These are great records. However, none of the deeper cuts on either End of the Innocence nor Building the Perfect Beast compare to the deeper cuts of Eagles. That being said, Boys of Summer is one of my favorite songs and an absolute classic every album isn’t a bad ratio!

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