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Record Reappraisal: Eagles – Hotel California

This almighty album turns 40 years old this year, would you believe – some classics are just timeless

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It has been 40 years since the classic song about a boy trapped in a hotel graced the charts. I wonder if he’s still there.

In 1976, the Eagles released the album containing their most well-known song as the title track, Hotel California. The album went on to sell over 30 million copies and reached platinum within one week of release. The 40th anniversary remastered release of the album comes a year later from the official birthday as band member Don Henley stated: “nothing really hit the charts until ’77, so we’re not really that late”. The album spent a whopping eight weeks at number one in 1977 and two years on the Billboard top 200.

Since its release, the band has lost some of its key founding members Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon. The latter of the three left Eagles before the release of their sixth studio album and as Leadon brought a lot of country influences to the band, without this, they were able to make Hotel California their first official rock album. The track list features two songs that reached the number one spot, the title track as well as ‘New Kid in Town’.

The title track carries to most weight with it in society today. The song was speculated to be about Satanism, but the band confirmed it was based off the American Dream and how in 200 years the USA has developed but now that it needed to change and it was designed as a “socio-political statement” trying to summarise the loss of innocence. The song has been featured in AbFab, AHS: Hotel and The Big Lebowski as well as signalling big changes in politics, economy and even warfare.

This re-release features ten previously unreleased live remastered recordings as well as pairing the tracks with studio and live versions. The live tracks will include the first ever live performance of ‘Hotel California’ and a few other classics from their discography.