Hotel California – The Eagles

Released December 8, 1976 this is one of the best-selling albums of all time. Two of the three singles went to #1 and the album won 2 Grammy Awards but lost Album of the Year to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours. . It is certified 26x Platinum selling over 42 million copies world wide. It is #37 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Jason: Would you like to chat The Eagles now or wait until tonight?

Brad: I’d really rather get this one over with.

Jason: Ha! Okay. I would wager that you dreaded listening to The Eagles even though you appreciate their cultural significance or at least their tie to Linda Ronstadt.

Brad: That is correct. Ever since I was very little, I have been somewhat annoyed whenever an Eagles or Jim Croce song comes on the radio. 

Jason: Poor Jim Croce, you really do dislike him. Explain to our readers how The Eagles relate to Linda Ronstadt.

Brad: I didn’t know it at the time but later in life found out that The Eagles used to be Linda Ronstadt’s band. I have always loved Linda Ronstadt. So I wonder if my opinion would have been different had I known that.

Jason: You would hate her. It’s her fault that she created a middling soft-rock 70s band. I don’t mind this album. I mean, I could go the rest of my life without hearing the title track but the rest is perfectly serviceable.

Brad: So many people LOVE The Eagles. “Hotel California” (the song) is one of those story songs but I can’t follow it. I assume it’s about drugs.

Jason: No one knows what it’s about. It’s like a Kardashian. Everyone knows them but no one knows why they are so popular. I usually skip that song. I’ve heard it enough. It’s the “Piano Man” of The Eagles.

Brad: Yeah, I imagine some of my dislike for them is purely based on stubbornness. This is my first time listening to this album and I forced myself to listen to it at least 8 times. I don’t mind it that much. I would never choose to put it on but I get why it is so popular

Jason: I listened to it about 10-12 times mostly because as soon as a song was over it immediately left my brain.

Brad: It loses me a little towards the end of the album. I get a little bored with it.

Jason: I actually really like “Pretty Maids All in a Row”. I think it’s a really nice song. If I was an insufferable karaoke queen, that would be my go to.

Brad: I kind of like that one too. I think I have a new appreciation for “New Kid In Town”. I don’t really care for “Try and Love Again.”

Jason: All of the songs are nice. It’s an album that if I was sitting at the South Beach Marina in Sea Pines on Hilton Head drinking a beer and trying to ignore the cockroaches, I mean “palmetto bugs”, and a decent band was covering this entire album I’d be okay with it.

Brad: That’s very specific. Yeah, I don’t hate it like I used to. Actually, I like Don Henley’s voice quite a bit and I liked some of his 80s songs. If I had to rank The Eagles lead vocalists, I would put them in this order: Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Joe Walsh and Randy Meisner

Jason: Did they rotate leads or replace them when one left?

Brad: They rotated. There are four different leads vocalists on this album.

Jason: Shows how much I paid attention.

Brad: Although, Don Henley did lead vocals on five of the songs.

Jason: I am listening now and yes, I can tell Glenn Frey’s voice. I think he is lead on “Life in the Fast Lane.” His timbre is gravelly.

Brad: Nope, that’s Don Henley. Glenn Frey is lead on “New Kid in Town”.

Jason: Man, I am terrible at this. Okay, are you going to listen to any more of their catalog?

Brad: Probably not but my opinion of them has evolved a bit.

Jason: That’s the best part of this challenge, getting a new appreciation for bands you might otherwise ignore. What do you think of the instrumental of “Wasted Time”? I kind of like the orchestration of it.

Brad: I like it but it feels like it belongs on a different album.

Jason: Like “The Cleveland Symphony Orchestra does ‘The Eagles'” or some such. Does Cleveland even have an orchestra? Probably not. Any final thoughts on The Eagles before we give our grades?

Brad: I feel like I’ve talked enough about them.

Jason: Fair enough. So what grade are you giving the I-no-longer-totally-hate-The-Eagles?

Brad: I give Hotel California a C+

Jason: That is low for you. I am going with a B- because I have a soft spot in the pleasure center of my brain for 70s yacht rock.

Brad: Now I am deleting it from my Apple Music library.

Jason: Harsh. You really did feel that this whole album listening exercise was “Wasted Time.”

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