This iconic song was composed in 1977 by the lead guitarist of the Eagles, Don Felder, in a house they had rented on Malibu Beach. On an episode of Rock and Roll Road Trip, our friend Sammy Hagar joined Felder in the studio to sing Hotel California. Here is their rendition of this classic song.
It’s inarguably one of the most ICONIC songs in the world, but did you know these fun facts?
In addition to hitting the top of the Billboard charts, they also sold about 15 million copies. This record also won the 1977 Grammy® for Record of the Year. However, in an interesting twist, the band did not show up to accept the award, as Don Henley did not believe in contests.
The demo Don Felder made for Hotel California echoes influences from both Latin and Reggae music. This distinctive sound captured the attention of Don Henley, who said he liked the song that, “sounds like a Mexican Reggae or Bolero,” hence the name “Mexican Reggae.”
Due to the lengthy instrumental pieces, Asylum Records didn’t want Hotel California to be released as a single. The record company was concerned that it was too long but eventually relented after the band steadfastly refused to shorten it.
Steely Dan made a reference to the Eagles in their song ‘Everything You Did’, so the Eagles returned the favor in Hotel California with the line “They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast.” Both bands were represented by the same manager, Irving Azoff, and it promoted healthy competition between the two.
John Kosh, the photographer who took the image that was used on the album cover of Hotel California is famous for other iconic album covers. Kosh is the man behind some of rock’s most memorable album covers including The Beatles’ Abbey Road, The Who’s Who’s Next and The Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out.
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