Hotel California – Eagles – 1976
Claimed Sales: 32m
First listen?: Yes
Format Listened?: Apple Music
Being able to listen to these albums in the order of release is great for dealing with that elephant in the room; context. It’s so easy to see how after Their Greatest Hits became one of the biggest hits collections of all time that the album to follow it would be nearly as successful. In fact Hotel California was massive even here in the UK, nearing 2m sales right now, so Eagles were one of music’s biggest names in 1976. Their sound became much more rock than country on Hotel California, the opener and title track ironically is probably the least ‘California smooth’ song on the album. I love the slight island reggae feel though and its arguably the group’s biggest hit. The smoothest track of all here is undoubtedly New Kid In Town which glides along building just enough at every turn until a harmony of ‘oohs’ breezes in. In stark contrast, Life In The Fast Lane sounds much more like the rock that was happening elsewhere in the 70s, full of distortion and the most stadium filling moments of the record. It’s clear to hear the development here, where the music changed to accommodate for their new found super-stardom. One you hit the big time, you need tunes big enough to fill the venues you already are on name alone. Hotel California makes total sense on tracks like this, even if it can sometimes fall into the schmaltz of tracks like Wasted Time. It’s an album full of massive moments, even if for me Hotel California wasn’t equal to the sum of its parts.
Will I listen again?: Probably not, though I’ll probably end up making an Eagles greatest hits playlist at some point.
Best Track: Probably New Kid In Town for me, that song is pure California cool.