Who sang that song Hotel California

Album review Eagles - Hotel California

Hotel California is the Eagles' fifth studio album. The album was released in 1976. At that time the Eagles were already a top band in the USA, but with Hotel California the Eagles topped everything that had been there before. The album sold over 16 million copies in the United States alone. There were Grammys for the successful singles Hotel California and New Kid In Town, but the Eagles had to hand over the Grammy for the album of the year to Fleetwood Mac for their mega-seller Rumors.

Hotel California was otherwise a trend-setting album for the band. The Eagles developed from a country rock band to a US mainstream band with stadium rock qualities. Possibly the change from the country-heavy guitarist Bernie Leadon to Joe Walsh (formerly James Gang) had an effect, to a certain extent the choice of the producer (Bill Szymczyk). Otherwise, the band apparently left little to chance. The work on the album took over 8 months, the whole creative process was very democratic. Each band member (Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Don Felder and Joe Walsh) got involved in the songwriting process and played different instruments. A certain dominance had to be noticed in Persona Don Henley. The band's regular drummer sang most of the songs and also contributed the lyrics for six of the nine songs.

For the then 200th anniversary of the USA, Henley considered it a necessity that a band bearing the name of the US national symbol should reflect critically on the situation in the USA. Henley provided thoughts on the (materialistic and decadent) lifestyle in California, which he basically saw as a kind of microcosm of the USA and ultimately the world. Henley described the album in an interview as a concept album, which is quite understandable based on his text work. On closer inspection, however, it also looks a bit aloof.

Anyway, the band seldom sounded so homogeneous overall. Musically, the band basically stayed with their bars, but overall they became much more mainstream and developed from a country rock band for smaller venues to a mass-compatible arena rock band.

The songs

  • "Hotel California" is a lyrical song with wonderfully fragile vocals by Henley and excellent guitar work by Don Felder and Joe Walsh. I would describe the song as a classic of rock music, the guitar solo by Felder and Walsh is one of the best rock guitar has to offer.
  • "New Kid In Town" then clearly turned towards the mainstream with country pop and west coast flair. An extremely melodic song that drifts too much towards unimportant pop.
  • The rocker "Life In The Fast Lane" is more pithy. Again a very critical song that looks at life in the fast lane. From my point of view, the rocking attitude is mainly provided by Joe Walsh with his main riff. This is definitely an indication of how he influenced the band's sound.
  • "Wasted Time" is a heavy smack. Musically there is little to complain about, the flow of tears is strongly stimulated. The same applies to the instrumental symphonic recapitulation of Wasted Time, which opened page 2 of the record at the time.
  • "Victim Of Love" rocks moderately. Even if it is a joint production by Felder, Frey, Henley and Walsh, the structure is very reminiscent of solo works by Joe Walsh. Unfortunately, the rocky attitude in the verse is watered down so much by the sappy chorus that Victim Of Love is one of the weakest album songs overall.
  • "Pretty Maids All in a Row" is a joint effort by Walsh and Joe Vitale. Many consider the ballad the best Eagles song, undoubtedly one of Joe Walsh's best songs.
  • "Try and Love Again" is a Randy Meisner song with a nice country-rock note. From my point of view, it's one of the underrated songs on the album: very simply structured, but simply effective.
  • "The Last Resort" by Frey and Henley presses the tear glands again at the end. The two of them have crafted a song that is hauntingly beautiful in places and in a subtle way accommodated a kind of social criticism.

When you hear Hotel California for the first time, maybe only the title track sticks. It is undoubtedly one of the most important songs in rock music, which accordingly also casts a powerful shadow. In this shadow, however, the band is more homogeneous than seldom before. Henley and Meisner groove excellently, Felder and Walsh complement each other excellently on the electric guitars and Frey seems to be the link of the whole. One thing is clear: if you don't like mainstream rock with a touch of country rock and west coast, you won't enjoy this album. If you can forget these labels and appreciate good music, you should find it. In any case, Hotel California is one of the Eagles' best outputs, and the sales figures alone make it a milestone in rock music.

  1. Hotel California (Don Felder, Don Henley, Glenn Frey) 6:30
  2. New Kid in Town (J.D. Souther, Henley, Frey) 5:03
  3. Life in the Fast Lane (Joe Walsh, Henley, Frey) 4:46
  4. Wasted Time (Henley, Frey) 4:55
  5. Wasted Time (Reprise) (instrumental) (Henley, Frey, Jim Ed Norman) 1:22
  6. Victim of Love (Felder, Souther, Henley, Frey) 4:11
  7. Pretty Maids All in a Row (Joe Walsh, Joe Vitale) 4:16
  8. Try and Love Again (Randy Meisner) 5:10
  9. The Last Resort (Henley, Frey) 7:28

Reviewer: MP