Eagles – ‘Hotel California’
  • Writers: Don Felder, Don Henley, and Glenn Frey
  • Producer: Bill Szymczyk
  • Recorded: 1976, Criteria Studios, Miami; The Record Plant, Los Angeles, California
  • Released: March 12th, 1977
  • Players:
    Don Henley — lead vocals, drums
    Glenn Frey — guitar, vocals
    Don Felder — lead guitar
    Joe Walsh — lead guitar
    Randy Meisner — bass, vocals
  • Album: Hotel California (Asylum, 1976)
  • Also On:
    The Eagles Live (Asylum, 1980)
    Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (Asylum, 1982)
    Hell Freezes Over (Geffen, 1994)
    The Eagles 1972-1999 Selected Works (Elektra, 2000)
    The Very Best Of (Warner Strategic Marketing, 2003)
  • The fourth of the Eagles‘ five Number One singles, “Hotel California” stayed in the top 40 of the Billboard chart for 15 weeks, the longest of any Eagles song.
  • After four generally optimistic, sunny albums, this tour of the dark underbelly of the peaceful, easy California lifestyle signaled a new outlook for the group, which was continued on one of the other hits from the Hotel California album, “Life In The Fast Lane.”
  • Singer-drummer Don Henley said of the song, “I was a little disappointed with how the record was taken, because I meant it in a much broader sense than a commentary about California. I was simply using California as a microcosm for the rest of America and for the self-indulgence of our entire culture. It was, to a certain extent, about California, about the excesses out here. But in many instances, as California goes, so goes the nation. Things simply happen out here or in New York first… and then work their way toward the middle of America. And that’s what I was trying to get at.”
  • Henley and Frey wrote to song around an instrumental demo Don Felder had assembled, which he called a “Mexican Reggae” track.
  • The song’s closing guitar jam announced Joe Walsh‘s presence in the group to the world. He joined in 1976, replacing original member Bernie Leadon.
  • In 1984, singer-guitarist Glenn Frey said, “We had Don Henley to sing the rock-and-roll songs, why should I screw around with it at all? I love the way he sings — he reminds me of (Bob) Seger, Wilson Pickett, the real thing. I think emphasizing his voice really helped push us over the top.”
  • About Henley’s songwriting contribution, Frey said, “He was the lyrical genius, the English Literature major who could help us put these stories together.”


  • The Eagles broke up after Frey left the group in late 1980.
  • Henley’s solo career got off to an unfortunate start due to a November 1980 incident where a 16-year-old girl was found drugged and naked in his California home, an event that produced a lot of bad publicity. He recovered to become the most successful of the band’s solo artists.
  • Frey’s solo career gained a major boost from his acting on the TV series Miami Vice, and the show’s use of his song “Smuggler’s Blues.”
  • Walsh has continued to release albums and also saw fit to nominate himself for vice president of the U.S. in two separate campaigns. He’s also toured in recent years with his pre-Eagles band the James Gang.
  • The group reunited in 1994 for an MTV special, a live album called Hell Freezes Over, and a world tour that lasted two years.
  • Henley and Frey are among the leaders in the ongoing battle between artists and record companies to reform accounting processes.
  • Hotel California has sold well over 16 million copies.
  • The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
  • Lead guitarist Don Felder was fired from the Eagles in early 2001. He sued over what he claims was his wrongful termination from the group and its associated businesses.

The Eagles have continued to work steadily in recent years, and in 2007 released Long Road Out Of Eden, the group’s first set of all-new material since The Long Run.