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Thread: Celebration of "Hotel California" Album!

  1. #1
    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    Default Celebration of "Hotel California" Album!

    33 years ago today, Hotel California was released just in time for the Christmas buying season of 1976.

    It was their biggest success and the album for which they became best known. It was career-altering both by taking them to the pinnacle and then by hastening their dissolution due to the toll of the ever-intensifying pressure they felt to outdo themselves.

    With the addition of Joe Walsh and the loss of Leadon, they finally placed themselves firmly on the "rock" side of "country rock." They made the transition with a bang. There isn't a weak song on the album (though admittedly I believe some of them are a bit overrated, as I'll detail later).

    So, Hotel California, happy anniversary! Let's have some pink champagne on ice and say "Here's to you!"

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

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    Border Desperado Super Frey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Anniversary Hotel California!

    Happy Anniversary to the Hotel, it's my fave album
    Oh they tell me there is a place over younder cool water running through the burning sand until we learn to love one another we will never reach the promised land. Hole In The World 2001

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    Default Re: Happy Anniversary Hotel California!

    I feel I should make some comments about this landmark album which I think changed my life, but what to say? Probably I should comment more on how I feel about it these days.

    Hotel California - there has never been a song like this and never will be again. It's an extraordinary journey through a surreal world of shadowy figures and a hint of paranoia. All members of the band shine here from Glenn's 12 string acoustic to the monumental guitar duel to Don's superb vocals and drumming (the phrase 'vicious cymbals' is apt here).

    New Kid In Town - achingly perfect dissection of a career, a relationship, whichever. The Mexican/Spanish feel of it complements the title track and draws you further into the murky world of Southern California. I love how they hark back to California's early Spanish heritage here. To me now, despite the fact that it went to Number One and won a Grammy, the song is underrated. It is a jewel in the band's crown.

    Life In The Fast Lane - the hard rock anthem which is now almost as career defining as the title track. Love Glenn's clavinet (shades of Superstition & Trampled Under Foot) as well as Joe's awesome guitar work and the cynical lyrics. The melancholy and sense of loss in NKIT descends into the bitter recriminations found here as well as the sense of people driving over the edge.

    Wasted Time - I thought this was one of the most insightful songs I had ever heard for years, but I'm afraid time has dulled its impact. The piano and vocal duet recalls Desperado and the closing harmonies are nice but overall the song is an example of Don's domination of the album. It remains one of his finest lyrics - it just has not aged well in my opinion.

    Wasted Time/Reprise - nice touch to recall the Desperado album and it does remind you that the song has a beautiful melody too.

    Victim Of Love - great track with some nice guitar work and more cynical lyrics (maybe a bit too much so- perhaps if Glenn had sung a couple of lines it would have made for an interesting contrast).

    Pretty Maids All In A Row - this is perhaps my second favourite lyric after New Kid In Town. It's just magnificent with Joe's slide guitar and his rueful voice, with those impeccably arranged harmonies washing over you. Why do we grow up so fast, indeed? What happened to all the promise of the early years? (There are similar themes expressed in every other song on this album, but PMAIAR does it very succinctly).

    Try And Love Again - the sleeper of the album, with superb lead guitar by Glenn, beautiful harmonies and Randy's aching lead. We've all been where this song goes.

    The Last Resort - Don's epic. Once more, he dominates it, unfortunately at the rest of the band's expense (I have never understood why Glenn at least did not play piano for the HFO version). I know some poeple find the lyrics rather tendentious if not sanctimonious as he tries to tell the entire history of the state and ends by attacking organised religion. I nevertheless feel the closing lines 'you call some place paradise/kiss it goodbye' sum up the album.
    Last edited by Freypower; 12-09-2009 at 06:26 PM.

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    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Anniversary Hotel California!

    Very well-written review, FP. I'll try to do one later, although I don't think I can top yours!

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

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    Stuck on the Border TimothyBFan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Anniversary Hotel California!

    Quote Originally Posted by Freypower View Post
    Life In The Fast Lane - the hard rock anthem which is now almost as career defining as the title track. Love Glenn's clavinet (shades of Superstition & Trampled Under Foot) as well as Joe's awesome guitar work and the cynical lyrics.
    FP--I LOVED your whole review. I won't even try my own, especially after reading yours. Spot on. But I must say this above really got my attention "shades of Superstition & Trampled Under Foot"... hmmm- I will be listening to this today and listening a little closer than usual because of that one line. Very interesting and, I'm sure, very true.
    He sings it high, he plays it low

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    Stuck on the Border GlennLover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Anniversary Hotel California!

    My clock radio woke me up with with "Life In The Fast Lane". Great song to get you moving on a sleepy day!

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    Stuck on the Border Koala's Avatar
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    Default Re: Happy Anniversary Hotel California!

    FP, I've really enjoyed reading your review!
    I love the whole album, there are so many really really good songs on this album!!!!
    "For the record, we never broke up, we just took a 14-year vacation!"
    (Glenn Frey)


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    Default Re: Happy Anniversary Hotel California!

    I love the atmosphere on this album, and the tunes are not bad either! Even though I seem to prefer the more rough and perhaps less safe material of the early days. Desperado is my favourite. I tend to say to people that New Kid in Town is THE perfect pop song. Everything is in place and even the modulation, which usually is treated in a rather idiotic manner in pop music, is part of the composition here. I mean that it doesn't sound like "alright, now the same thing a minor third higher", but more like a little passage which "happens to modulate".
    About the 12-string on the title track. If I remember correctly, Don has said in some guitar magazine that HE played it. He also played that part live, although with an electric 12-string. I don't seem to hear the part that Glenn plays live (capo 2nd fret) on the original version. I've always wondered what Glenn plays on this track.

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    Default Re: Happy Anniversary Hotel California!

    I have had discussions about which instrument Glenn plays on HC before. Of COURSE Felder is going to claim that he plays the 12 string acoustic. (I wasn't referring to the opening section which I guess has to be Felder).Maybe so. You can hear some acoustic strumming if you listen hard enough which surely must be Glenn, once Felder and Joe get to their electric parts. I mean really - he had to play SOMETHING on it. He does play a 12 string acoustic part now when they play it live, perhaps that is what I should have said.

    TBF, the clavinet sound is very distinctive, as it is in the two songs I mentioned (both of which were recorded before LITFL). It is not as obvious in LITFL because the guitars are so prominent. It's really a rhythm part - as far as I know he never played keyboards on this song live, but I thought it was worth mentioning because it is usually overlooked.

    Another interesting thing about the album is that in the period 1977-1978 it made the Eagles the biggest band in the world, along with Fleetwood Mac, because their only serious competetion, Led Zeppelin, were out of action at the time.

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    Default Re: Happy Anniversary Hotel California!

    Quote Originally Posted by Freypower View Post
    I have had discussions about which instrument Glenn plays on HC before. Of COURSE Felder is going to claim that he plays the 12 string acoustic. (I wasn't referring to the opening section which I guess has to be Felder).Maybe so. You can hear some acoustic strumming if you listen hard enough which surely must be Glenn, once Felder and Joe get to their electric parts. I mean really - he had to play SOMETHING on it. He does play a 12 string acoustic part now when they play it live, perhaps that is what I should have said.
    I'm sorry, I thought you meant the main acoustic guitar that starts the song. Yes, there definitely are some "extra" strumming acoustic guitars that appear at least in the choruses. As I recall, Felder starts to strum the chords too at one point with his 12-string; I think that's when the guitar harmonies come in. But some of the stumming parts appear only in the choruses, so they must be Glenn, yeah.
    I'm afraid it may be me with whom you've had that conversation before about what Glenn plays in Hotel California. I asked this question in another forum a couple of years ago.
    Last edited by chaim; 12-10-2009 at 07:43 AM.

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