The Garden of Allah by Don Henley


"The Garden of Allah" is a song by Don Henley, released as new material on his 1995 album ''Actual Miles: Henley's Greatest Hits''.

It is presented as a modern-day fable in which the Devil, presumably visiting the Garden of Allah resort in West Hollywood, California, discovers he has become obsolete; humankind has perfected the practice of evil and no longer requires his assistance. The song references the media circus and unscrupulous expert witnesses involved in the O. J. Simpson murder case.

Don Henley gave an interview in 1995 and explained the song as a description of how he sees American society. The Garden of Alla was an estate that was owned by a silent movie actress using the assumed name of, "Alla Nazimova". After her career was over she turned her estate located on Sunset Blvd. and Crescent Heights into an apartment/hotel complex. Henley explained that people like Aldous Huxley, F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner and SJ Perleman had all resided, for varying periods of time, at the Garden of Alla. Actresses like Greta Garbo also hung out there. Henley said a lot of debauchery took place there and provided inspiration for the song.

The Devil materializes outside an actual adult hotel called the El Royale that is not located on the street named in the song. The Devil appears to a man who is driving a shiny BMW through the San Fernando Valley. The Devil talks about hanging out with Hollywood's elite during the good ol' days. He makes the point that there is really no truth to be had. Henley states that he is fascinated by so-called expert witnesses and says that the Devil is " expert witness - because I say I am!"

Henley stated that people can commit the most atrocious crimes and then go on to become rich and famous from the ensuing publicity.

Background vocals were provided by Sheryl Crow.

Actor Kirk Douglas appeared as the Devil in the music video.