"Heart Of The Matter" as written by and Don/campbell Henley....
I got the call today, I didn't want to hear
But I knew that it would come
An old, true friend of ours was talkin' on the phone
She said you found someone
And I thought of all the bad luck
And the struggles we went through
And how I lost me and you lost you
What are those voices outside love's open door
Make us throw off our contentment
And beg for something more?

I'm learning to live without you now
But I miss you sometimes
The more I know, the less I understand,
All the things I thought I knew, I'm learning again
I've been tryin' to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

These times are so uncertain
There's a yearning undefined
People filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
Ah, the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
They're the very things we kill, I guess
Oh, pride and competition
Cannot fill these empty arms
And the work I put between us, you know it doesn't keep me warm

I'm learning to live with out you now
But I miss you, baby
And the more I know, the less I understand
All the things I thought I'd figured out
I have to learn again
I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But everything changes
And my friends seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me anymore

There are people in your life
Who've come and gone
They let you down
You know they've hurt your pride
You better put it all behind you baby
'Cause life goes on
You keep carryin' that anger
It'll eat you up inside baby

I've been trying to get down
To the heart of the matter
But my will gets weak
And my thoughts seem to scatter
But I think it's about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me

I've been tryin' to get down
To the heart of the matter
Because the flesh will get weak
And the ashes will scatter
So, I'm thinkin' about forgiveness
Forgiveness
Even if , even if you don't love me

Forgiveness, forgiveness, baby
Forgiveness, forgiveness
Forgiveness, forgiveness
Even if, even if you don't love me
Forgiveness, forgiveness
Forgiveness, forgiveness
Forgiveness, forgiveness


Lyrics submitted by Nicky

"The Heart of the Matter" as written by Donald Hugh Henley Mike Campbell

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Heart Of The Matter song meanings
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45 Comments

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  • +2
    Song MeaningUltimate reconciliation. We hurt each other, we love each other, life goes on. Hate dies, Loves lives forever. Please forgive me for your sake, not mine; as I have forgiven you for my sake not yours. (^_^) Even if, even if you don't love me aaannyyymmoorree.
    PhoenixSouvenir75on October 20, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentLike most art, the artist leaves it to interpretation of the listener, melding together with what they bring to it. Likewise, the artist may be inspired by more than one thing in writing it...

    I think this is a synthesis of many things in Don's life (and the co-writers as well), certainly it has part of its genesis in the breakup of the Eagles, but also more than likely personal relationships as well, which we can all relate too.

    Katherine mentioned (in the other thread) about Don's intro to this on the 'Hell Freezes Over' DVD, that this song "took 42 years to write, and about 4 minutes to sing. So..." - and he leaves it at that... but if you saw his face when he said it, you know it means so much to him that mere words cannot do it justice. You have to hear it, you have to sing it, you have to live it.

    One other thing you might consider, is that this sing is really a conversation with a friend, which is continued in 'My Thanksgiving':
    "A lot of things have happened since the last time we spoke
    Some of them are funny, some of em ain't no joke
    And I trust you will forgive me if I lay it on the line
    I always thought you were a friend of mine"

    ...and ends with:

    "For every moment of joy every hour of fear
    For every winding road that brought me here
    For every breath, for every day of living
    This is my thanksgiving

    For everyone who helped me start
    And for everything that broke my heart
    For every breath, for every day of living
    This is my thanksgiving"

    Isn't that the ultimate expression of forgiveness?

    These two songs make a beautiful pair of bookends to the same thought, about personal spiritual growth.
    RealityByteson January 04, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentBeautiful song. One of his best ever. I love how he says that he's learning to live without her, but he misses her sometimes. That's real right there. It's like he's trying to stay busy, but when he stops and thinks for a minute, she's there. Fuckin Great Lyrics *weep*
    convinceon December 19, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThink about it.. he's talking about HIS will getting weak and HIS thoughts being scattered,HIS friends being scattered... he is struggling to put down his past mistakes.He is trying to come to terms with everything he has done. HE is struggling to get to the Heart of the Matter. From the other words, you can see he has already forgiven them...
    Searchingon February 08, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentgreat song, but that molliefromtexas person is a fucking nutcase.

    henley wrote this with 2 other people, stop trying to spread misinformation
    _nate_on June 03, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThe person who said this is about divorce is right on. He's singing about life being too short to hold grudges after a messy and bitter divorce. He can't seem to pinpoint exactly what happened to where the relationship went wrong, all he knows is that it's about getting over the pain and forgiving and moving on, no matter how bad.
    Pizasteron June 16, 2009   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningLike all good art, this song has meaning to the person listening. Regardless of what the songwriters used as a basis for the lyrics, to me it has meaning related to my divorce. I still love my ex, I couldn't live with him any more, we both made mistakes, he hates me for my mistakes, I've been really angry about his. There is only one thing that will enable me to go on with life, and that is to forgive him for his part, even if he doesn't love me any more, even if he'll always hate me. Forgiving him helps me let it go.
    Icebearon April 06, 2011   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningI heard this song on the radio about 23 years ago. After it finished, the radio announcer said, "That's Don Henley with a song about letting go of anger after suffering a broken heart."
    jerambamon November 21, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"What are those voices outside love's open door
    Make us throw off our contentment
    And beg for something more?"

    And

    "Ah, the trust and self-assurance that lead to happiness
    They're the very things we kill, I guess"

    These lines are lyrical gold. As someone who has gone through a divorce due to my wife's infidelity, I can identify with these lines. Even after all these years later, and another marriage, these lines still cut right to the bone, Its a scar that never completely heals.
    Songcipheron January 03, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe song is about a guy who dates a gurl for a long time, and they finally break up and after a while he starts to get over her. "I'm learning to live without you now
    But I miss you sometimes"
    drummer4514on May 17, 2002   Link

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