Hotel California (Eagles album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Hotel California
Studio album by Eagles
Released December 8, 1976
Recorded March - October 1976
Studio Criteria Studios, Miami, FL and Record Plant Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Length 43:28
Label Asylum
Producer Bill Szymczyk
Eagles chronology
Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)
Hotel California
The Long Run
Singles from Hotel California
  1. "New Kid in Town"
    Released: December 7, 1976
  2. "Hotel California"
    Released: March 12, 1977
  3. "Life in the Fast Lane"
    Released: May 3, 1977
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau B[2]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[3]
Rolling Stone (favorable)[4]

Hotel California is the fifth studio album by the American rock band Eagles, released on Asylum in late 1976. It is the first Eagles album without the appearance of their founding member Bernie Leadon and their first album with guitarist Joe Walsh. It is also the last album featuring original bassist Randy Meisner. The album became the band's best-selling studio album, with over 16 million copies sold in the U.S. alone and over 32 million copies sold worldwide. The album topped the charts and won the band two Grammy Awards for "Hotel California" and "New Kid in Town". The album was nominated for Album of the Year but lost to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours.

The album yielded three Top 20 singles, "New Kid in Town", "Hotel California", and "Life in the Fast Lane". "New Kid in Town" and "Hotel California" both topped the Billboard Hot 100, and "Life in the Fast Lane" reached number 11 on the charts. The album was ranked number 37 on Rolling Stone‍‍ '​‍s list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time". The album further established the group as the most successful American band of the decade, making the Eagles household names. The song "Hotel California" is considered by many to be one of the greatest rock songs of all time; it was ranked number 49 on Rolling Stone‍‍ '​‍s list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". The guitar duet at the end of the song was performed by Don Felder and Joe Walsh. The album also features "Wasted Time", "Victim of Love", and "The Last Resort".


Hotel California was the Eagles' fifth studio 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 number 1 for eight weeks in early 1977 (non-consecutively), and included two tracks which became number 1 hits as singles on the Billboard Hot 100: "New Kid in Town", on February 26, 1977, and "Hotel California" on May 7, 1977.

In 2001, the TV network VH1 named Hotel California number 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.[5]

While the band were recording the album, Black Sabbath were also recording the album Technical Ecstasy in an adjacent studio at Criteria Studios in Miami. The band were forced to stop recording on numerous occasions because Black Sabbath were too loud and the sound was coming through the wall.[6]

Following its original release on standard LP, cassette and 8-track cartridge formats, the album was considered for Quadraphonic release in early 1977; this idea was later dropped following the demise of the Quadraphonic format. However, 25 years later, the album was released in a Multichannel 5.1 DVD-Audio disc. On August 17, 2011, the album was released on a hybrid SACD in Japan in The Warner Premium Sound series, containing both a stereo and a 5.1 mix.[7]

Members of the Eagles have described the album as a metaphor for the perceived decline of America into materialism and decadence. In an interview with the 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 [unlike the Eagles' earlier concept album, 1973's Desperado] 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 Last Resort", was about the decline of society. Glenn Frey on the "Hotel California" episode of In the Studio with Redbeard explained about the track:

It was the first time that Don took it upon himself to write an epic story and we were already starting to worry about the environment… we're constantly screwing up paradise and that was the point of the song and that at some point there is going to be no more new frontiers. I mean we're putting junk, er, garbage into space now.

Every track from the Hotel California Album was performed live during the Hell Freezes Over Tour with the exception of the Randy Meisner song, "Try and Love Again".

Album cover[edit]

The front cover artwork is a photograph of the Beverly Hills Hotel by David Alexander with design and art direction by Kosh.[8] The rear album cover was shot in the lobby of the Lido Hotel in Hollywood.

Album pressing[edit]

Original vinyl record pressings of Hotel California (Elektra/Asylum catalog no. 7E-1084) had custom picture labels of a blue Hotel California logo with a yellow background. These also had text engraved in the run-out groove of each side, continuing an in-joke trend the band had started with their previous album One of These Nights:

  1. Side one: "Is It 6 O'Clock Yet?"
  2. Side two: "V.O.L. Is Five-Piece Live", indicating that the song "Victim of Love" was recorded live, with no overdubbing. Joe Walsh and Glenn Frey confirm this on the inner booklet of The Very Best Of. This only referred to the instrumental track, however; vocals were added later. This was in response to those who criticized the Eagles' practice of copious overdubbing of instruments. They wanted to demonstrate that they could play together without overdubs if they wanted to.

Critical reception[edit]

The album has consistently been praised by rock critics. Reviewing the album in AllMusic, critic William Ruhlmann wrote of the album "In the early part of their career, The Eagles never seemed to get a sound big enough for their ambitions; after changes in producer and personnel, as well as a noticeable growth in creativity, Hotel California unveiled what seemed almost like a whole new band. It was a band that could be bombastic, but also one that made music worthy of the later tag of "classic rock," music appropriate for the arenas and stadiums the band was playing."[9]

Critic, Robert Christgau wrote of the album "Speaking strictly as a nonfan, I'd grant that this is their most substantial if not their most enjoyable LP--they couldn't have written any of the songs on side one, or even the pretentious and condescending "The Last Resort," without caring about their California theme down deep."[10]

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Hotel California"   Don Felder, Don Henley, Glenn Frey Don Henley 6:30
2. "New Kid in Town"   Henley, Frey, J. D. Souther Glenn Frey 5:03
3. "Life in the Fast Lane"   Henley, Frey, Joe Walsh Don Henley 4:46
4. "Wasted Time"   Henley, Frey Don Henley 4:55
Side two
No. Title Writer(s) Lead vocals Length
1. "Wasted Time (Reprise)"   Henley, Frey, Jim Ed Norman instrumental 1:22
2. "Victim of Love"   Felder, Henley, Frey, Souther Don Henley 4:11
3. "Pretty Maids All in a Row"   Walsh, Joe Vitale Joe Walsh 3:58
4. "Try and Love Again"   Randy Meisner Randy Meisner 5:10
5. "The Last Resort"   Henley, Frey Don Henley 7:28
Total length:


  • Bill Szymczyk – producer
  • Allan Blazek, Bruce Hensal, Ed Mashal, Bill Szymczyk – engineers
  • Bill Szymczyk – mixing
  • Jim Ed Norman – string arrangements, 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
  • Lee Hulko - original LP mastering



  • "New Kid in Town"/"Victim of Love" - Asylum 45373; released December 7, 1976
  • "Hotel California"/"Pretty Maids All in a Row" - Asylum 45386; released February 22, 1977
  • "Life in the Fast Lane"/"The Last Resort" - Asylum 45403; released May 3, 1977

Charts and certifications[edit]

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Austria (IFPI Austria)[33] Gold 25,000x
Australia (ARIA)[34] 8× Platinum 560,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[35] Diamond 1,000,000^
Finland (Musiikkituottajat)[36] Gold 30,933[36]
France (SNEP)[37] Diamond 1,213,000[38]
Germany (BVMI)[39] Platinum 500,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[40] Platinum 15,000*
Japan (Oricon Charts) 493,000[18]
New Zealand (RMNZ)[citation needed] 9× Platinum 135,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[41] 4× Platinum 400,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[42] 2× Platinum 100,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] 6× Platinum 1,800,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] 16× Platinum 16,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone


Year Winner Category
1978 "Hotel California" Record of the Year
1977 "New Kid in Town" Best Arrangement For Voices
Year Nominee Category
1978 "Hotel California" Song of the Year
1978 Hotel California Album of the Year
1977 Bill Szymczyk Producer of the Year
Preceded by
Songs in the Key of Life by Stevie Wonder
Billboard 200 number-one album
January 15–21, 1977
February 5–11, 1977
March 26 – April 1, 1977
April 16 – May 20, 1977
Succeeded by
Wings over America by Wings
Preceded by
Arrival by ABBA
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
January 17 – April 10, 1977
Succeeded by
Rumours by Fleetwood Mac

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Hotel California - Eagles". AllMusic. Retrieved October 11, 2012.
  2. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Hotel California". Robert Christgau. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ Hotel California. Rolling Stone. February 24, 1977.
  4. ^ "37) Hotel California - The Eagles - RS 233". Rolling Stone. November 1, 2003.
  5. ^ "News". Rolling Stone. December 23, 2011. Retrieved December 27, 2011. 
  6. ^ Iommi, Tony (2011). Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-0-30681-9551. 
  7. ^ Warner Premium Sound series website (in Japanese). Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  8. ^ Ochs, Micheael. 1000 Record Covers. Taschen. ISBN 3-8228-4085-8. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Eagles - Hotel California - Discogs". discogs. Retrieved November 23, 2014. 
  12. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  13. ^ " Eagles – Hotel California" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Top Albums/CDs - Volume 27, No. 1" (PHP). RPM. April 2, 1977. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  15. ^ " Eagles – Hotel California" (ASP). Hung Medien (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  16. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  17. ^ a b "Hit Parade Italia – Gli album più venduti del 1977" (in Italian). Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Oricon Album Chart Book: Complete Edition 1970-2005. Roppongi, Tokyo: Oricon Entertainment. 2006. ISBN 4-87131-077-9. 
  19. ^ " Eagles – Hotel California" (ASP). Hung Medien. Recording Industry Association of New Zealand. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  20. ^ " Eagles – Hotel California" (ASP). Hung Medien. VG-lista. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  21. ^ " Eagles – Hotel California" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Eagles > Artists > Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  23. ^ "allmusic ((( Hotel California > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Album Search: Eagles – Hotel California" (ASP) (in German). Media Control. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  25. ^ " - Jahreshitparade 1977" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  26. ^ "RPM Top 100 Albums of 1977". RPM. December 31, 1977. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1977". Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1977 par InfoDisc" (PHP) (in French). Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  29. ^ 年間アルバムヒットチャート 1977年(昭和52年) [Japanese Year-End Albums Chart 1977] (in Japanese). Oricon. Retrieved July 3, 2013. 
  30. ^ " UK Year-End Album Charts". Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  31. ^ "Top Pop Albums of 1977". Retrieved July 3, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Dutch charts jaaroverzichten 1978". Retrieved April 24, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Eagles – Hotel California" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved June 27, 2012.  Enter Eagles in the field Interpret. Enter Hotel California in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  34. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1997 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Eagles – Hotel California". Music Canada. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  36. ^ a b The first web page presents the sales figures, the second presents the certification limits:
  37. ^ "French album certifications – Eagles – Hotel California" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved June 27, 2012.  Select EAGLES and click OK
  38. ^ "Les Albums Diamant :". (in French). Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Eagles; 'Hotel California')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  40. ^ "IFPIHK Gold Disc Award − 1978". IFPI Hong Kong. 
  41. ^ "Spanish album certifications – Eagles – Hotel California" (PDF) (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved June 27, 2012.  Select the "Chart", enter 2001 in the field "Year". Select '' in the field "Semana". Click on "Search Charts"
  42. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (the Eagles; 'Hotel California')". Hung Medien. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
  43. ^ "British album certifications – Eagles – Hotel California". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved June 27, 2012.  Enter Hotel California in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  44. ^ "American album certifications – Eagles – Hotel California". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 27, 2012.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]