The Eagles (Great American Things, June 20, 2010) made a very fine living creating music that leaned slightly more rock than country in the growing country/rock genre. Then they released Hotel California, and entered the pantheon of true rock royalty.
The album was produced at a time of transition in the band’s personnel. It was the first album with Joe Walsh, the last with bass player Randy Meisner, and the first without founding member Bernie Leadon. It came out late in 1976, and went to the top of the Billboard album chart, where it reigned for eight weeks. The band released three of its songs as singles: “New Kid in Town” went to number one and so did the title track. “Life in the Fast Lane” reached number 11.
Here’s what Billboard magazine said in its 1977 review: “This long-awaited album of new Eagles material more than lives up to its highest expectations, as hundreds of thousands of concertgoers who heard the L.A. quintet in person this summer and fall performing songs from the upcoming LP can attest. The casually beautiful, quietly intense multileveled vocal harmonies and brilliant original songs that meld solid emotional words with lovely melody lines are all back in full force…”
Rolling Stone named Hotel California number 37 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.