It was 35 years ago Sunday (January 15th, 1977), that the Eagles‘ album Hotel California hit Number One. The album, which was released on December 8th, 1976, was the group’s third chart-topper in a row, following 1975’s One Of These Nights and 1976’s compilation Eagles/Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975.
Hotel California included two Number One hits featuring the group’s main songwriters and distinctive lead vocalists, with guitarist Glenn Frey taking the lead on “New Kid In Town,” and drummer Don Henley singing the album’s famous title track. The album’s third single, “Life In The Fast Lane,” just missed the Top Ten, peaking at Number 11 in the spring of 1977.
Hotel California featured the addition of former James Gang guitarist Joe Walsh, who joined shortly after co-founder Bernie Leadon‘s departure. It turned out to be the only Eagles album featuring the lineup of Henley, Frey, Walsh, guitarist Don Felder, and co-founder and bassist Randy Meisner.
- The album’s themes reflected the state of America through the decaying Los Angeles rock scene, which by the mid-’70s had changed from an earnest singer-songwriter community into a far more decadent lifestyle fueled by celebrity, money, and drugs.
- In their original review of the album, Rolling Stone commented on Hotel California‘s music and its reflection of its creators by saying, “Hotel Californiashowcases both the best and worst tendencies of Los Angeles-situation rock. . . Its lyrics present a convincing and unflattering portrait of the milieu itself.”
- Years later Henley reflected on the album, telling Billboard, “Every band has their peak. That was ours.”
- Hotel California went on to top the charts for eight nonconsecutive weeks, and to date has sold over 16 million copies. Over the years, the Eagles have included most of the Hotel California album in their concert setlists, including such classic album tracks as “Wasted Time,” “Victim Of Love,” “and “Pretty Maids All In A Row.”
CHECK IT OUT: The Eagles performing “Hotel California” live on June 11th, 1976 in Houston: