Local Current Blog

Don Henley accepts Duluth Trading Co.’s apology for ‘take it easy’ henley pun

Photo via Don Henley on Facebook

It takes a little navigation, but you can find it on the Duluth Trading Co.’s website. Scroll to the bottom of the site, then click on “about us,” then look at the bottom of the left-hand menu, and there it is: “Apology to Don Henley.”

“As many of you know,” reads the statement at that link, “Duluth prides itself on not taking itself too seriously and this culture is often seen in our advertising, which we try and keep fresh, interesting, and funny. Unfortunately, we pushed the advertising envelope too far and distributed an advertisement promoting our line of Henley shirts that invoked American recording artist Don Henley’s name without his permission.”

The statement refers to a 2014 e-mail advertisement headlined, “Don a henley and take it easy.” The Eagles frontman was unamused by the punny reference to his band’s first hit—ironically, not sung or written by Henley, but by bandmate Glenn Frey with a writing assist from Jackson Browne—and Henley promptly sued the Wisconsin-based, Duluth-founded apparel company. The suit has now been resolved, after extended negotiations, with a public apology and a donation to the Walden Woods Project.

“Mr. Henley has long been an advocate of artists’ rights and he brought his objections to our attention,” continues the statement. “We appreciate and respect what Mr. Henley has meant to music and we now see that our use of his name and an Eagles’ song title in our advertisement was inappropriate. For that we are deeply regretful and we apologize, not just to Mr. Henley, but to anyone else who took offense. We have learned a valuable lesson and thank Mr. Henley for helping us appreciate the importance that he and other artists place in their publicity rights.”