Hotel California is an album released by the American rock band The Eagles in late 1976 (see 1976 in music). It is the first Eagles album without founding member Bernie Leadon and the first album with Joe Walsh. It is also the last album featuring original bass player and singer Randy Meisner.
was the Eagles' fifth album of original material and became a critical success and a major commercial hit; since its release in late 1976, it has sold over 16 million copies in the U.S. alone. The album was at #1 for eight weeks in early 1977 (non-consecutively), and included two tracks which became #1 hits as singles on the Billboard Hot 100
"New Kid in Town", on February 26
, and "Hotel California" on May 7
Hotel California is one of the top 15 best-selling albums of all time in any category..
In 2001 the TV network VH1 named Hotel California #38 on 100 Greatest Albums of all time. Hotel California was ranked 13th in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 37 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Following its original release on standard LP, cassette and 8-track cartridge formats, the album was slated for Quadraphonic release in early 1977, this idea was ultimately dropped following the demise of the Quadraphonic format. However, 25 years later, this album was released in a Multichannel 5.1 DVD-Audio disc.
A hotel which carries the same name, Hotel California, located in Todos Santos, Mexico is rumored to be the inspiration for the song. However, Don Henley has denied the link.
touched on many themes, including innocence (and the loss thereof), addiction in general (and to drugs), death, the dangers, temptation and transient nature of fame, shallow relationships, divorce
and loss of love, the end results of manifest destiny
, and the "American Dream
Members of Eagles have described the album as a metaphor for the perceived decline of
America into materialism and decadence. In an interview with Dutch
magazine ZigZag shortly before the album's release, Don Henley said:
This is a concept album, there's no way to hide it, but it's not set in the old West, the cowboy thing, you know. It's more urban this time (. . . ) It's our bicentennial year, you know, the country is 200 years old, so we figured since we are the Eagles and the Eagle is our national symbol, that we were obliged to make some kind of a little bicentennial statement using California as a microcosm of the whole United States, or the whole world, if you will, and to try to wake people up and say 'We've been okay so far, for 200 years, but we're gonna have to change if we're gonna continue to be around.'
The album's final track, the epic "The Last Resort", was about the demise of society. Glenn Frey on the Hotel California episode of In the Studio with Redbeard explained about the track:
The cover image is of the Beverly Hills Hotel
, it was taken by David Alexander
- "Hotel California" (Felder, Henley, Frey) – 6:30
"New Kid in Town" (J.D. Souther, Henley, Frey) – 5:03
- Lead vocal & percussion by Don Henley, Guitar solos by Joe Walsh & Don Felder.
"Life in the Fast Lane" (Walsh, Henley, Frey) – 4:46
- Lead vocal & acoustic guitar by Glenn Frey, guitarrón & acoustic guitar by Randy Meisner, electric guitars by Don Felder, organ & electric piano by Joe Walsh.
"Wasted Time" (Henley, Frey) – 4:55
- Lead vocal by Don Henley, saxophone by Joe Walsh, clavinet by Glenn Frey.
"Wasted Time (Reprise)" (instrumental) (Henley, Frey, Jim Ed Norman) – 1:22
- Lead vocal by Don Henley, piano by Glenn Frey, electric guitars by Don Felder, Organ by Joe Walsh.
"Victim of Love" (Felder, Souther, Henley, Frey) – 4:11
- Strings arranged & conducted by Jim Ed Norman.
"Pretty Maids All in a Row" (Walsh, Joe Vitale) – 3:58
- Lead vocal by Don Henley, lead guitar by Don Felder, slide guitar by Joe Walsh.
"Try and Love Again" (Meisner) – 5:10
- Lead vocal, piano & lead guitar by Joe Walsh, synthesizer by Joe Walsh & Glenn Frey.
"The Last Resort" (Henley, Frey) – 7:28
- Lead vocal by Randy Meisner, Lead guitar by Glenn Frey, Gretsch guitar by Joe Walsh.
- Lead vocal by Don Henley, piano by Glenn Frey, synthesizer by Joe Walsh & Don Henley, Pedal Steel guitar by Don Felder.
The vinyl record
pressings had custom picture labels of a blue Hotel California logo with a yellow background. They also had text engraved in the carry-out groove on each side:
- "Is It 6 OClock Yet?"
- "V.O.L. Is Five-Piece Live" This is stating that the song "Victim of Love" was recorded in five parts live, with no overdubbing. Glenn Frey confirms this on the inner booklet of "The Very Best of The Eagles".
- Don Felder – acoustic guitar, slide guitars, electric guitars, pedal steel, steel guitar, Vocals
- Glenn Frey – guitars, synthesizer, piano, keyboards, clavinet, vocals
- Don Henley – drums, percussion, synthesizer, vocals
- Randy Meisner – bass guitar, acoustic guitar, guitarron, vocals
- Joe Walsh – electric, slide guitars, acoustic guitars, lap steel guitar, keyboards, piano, organ, synthesizer, vocals
- Bill Szymczyk – producer
- Allan Blazek, Bruce Hensal, Ed Mashal, Bill Szymczyk – engineers
- Bill Szymczyk – mixing
- Jim Ed Norman – string arrangements
- Jim Ed Norman – conductor
- Sid Sharp – concert master
- Don Henley, John Kosh – art direction
- John Kosh – design
- David Alexander – photography
- Kosh – artwork
- Norman Seeff – poster design
- Kevin Gray – CD preparation
- Ted Jensen – mastering and remastering
- "New Kid in Town"/"Victim Of Love" - Asylum 45373; released December 7, 1976
- "Hotel California"/"Pretty Maids All In A Row" - Asylum 45286; released February 22, 1977
- "Life in the Fast Lane"/"The Last Resort" - Asylum 45403; released May 3, 1977
|| Position |
|| "New Kid in Town"
|| Adult Contemporary
|| 2 |
|| "New Kid In Town"
|| Country Singles
|| 43 |
|| "New Kid In Town"
|| Pop Singles
|| 1 |
|| "Hotel California"
|| Pop Singles
|| 1 |
|| "Life In The Fast Lane"
|| Pop Singles
|| 11 |
Grammy Award nominations