NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 16: Don Henley and Joe Walsh of the Eagles perform during "History Of The Eagles Live In Concert" at the Bridgestone Arena on October 16, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Today (12/8) in ’76 The Eagles released ‘Hotel California’.  Here’s some interesting facts about the album that you probably didn’t know. 

‘Hotel California’ Was Not The Original Name Of The Album’s Title Track

The guitar part for ‘Hotel California’ was written by Don Felder.  In 2013, he told Guitar World Magazine how the song was born.  “I remember sitting in the living room on a spectacular July day with the doors wide open.  I had a bathing suit on and was sitting on this couch, soaking wet, thinking the world is a wonderful place to be. I had this acoustic 12-string and started tinkling around with it, and those ‘Hotel California’ chords just kind of oozed out.”

When Felder played it for his Eagles bandmates a few months later, both Don Henley and Glenn Frey were really impressed. Frey said in an episode of The Studio With Red Beard in 1992 that, “We said this is electric Mexican reggae. Wow. What a nice synthesis of styles.  “Mexican Reggae” ended up becoming the song’s title while the band toyed with the music and lyrics.

Don Felder’s Housekeeper Helped The Eagles Create Magic On The Album’s Title Track

When it came time to record ‘Hotel California’, Don Felder went into the studio to record the song’s signature guitar riff(s).  When Don Henley heard what he was playing, he told him to stop and informed Felder that he wasn’t playing it the way Henley remembered hearing it on the demo tape that Felder initially gave them.

Felder hadn’t listened to that demo tape for almost a year and couldn’t remember exactly what he had put on it.  The demo tape was in LA and the band was recording in Miami so they called Felder’s housekeeper in Malibu, told her to put the tape into a stereo, blast the speakers and hold the phone up to them so that they could all hear what the initial essence of the song sounded and felt like.  Felder listened and delivered the sound that Henley was looking for.

 

Black Sabbath Was Recording In The Studio Next To The Eagles During Their ‘Hotel California’ Sessions

The Eagles and Black Sabbath were both recording in the same studio complex in Miami during the ‘Hotel California’ sessions.  Everything that Sabbath did during that time period was loud and bombastic, including their recording sesions.

“The Eagles were recording next door, but we were too loud for them,” Tony Iommi told Uncut in 2014. “It kept coming through the wall into their sessions.” The Eagles even had to re-record the song ‘Last Resort’ a few times because the sound of Sabbath’s music was leaking into their studio and onto their tape.

While Sabbath may have brought more volume than The Eagles could handle, The Eagles brought more drugs than Black Sabbath were accustomed to. Geezer Butler recalled having to scrape cocaine out of the mixing board after going into a studio that The Eagles had just finished using.  He estimated that the band had approximately a pound of cocaine caked into the board.

 

The title of ‘Life In The Fast Lane’ Came To Glenn Frey During A Highway Excursion With His Drug Dealer

Glenn Frey came up with the title of this iconic Eagles song while speeding down an LA highway with a drug dealer.

“I was riding shotgun in a Corvette with a drug dealer on the way to a poker game,” he mentioned in ‘The History of the Eagles’ documentary. “The next thing I know we’re doing 90. Holding! Big Time! I say, ‘Hey, man!’ He grins and goes, ‘Life in the fast lane!’ I thought, ‘Now there’s a song title.'”

 

Hotel California Was A Concept Album About The Excesses Of The Rock World

Don Henley told writer Marc Eliot the following, “The concept had to do with taking a look at all the band had gone through, personally and professionally, while it was still happening to them.   We were getting an extensive education, in life, in love, in business. Beverly Hills was still a mythical place to us. In that sense, it became something of a symbol and the ‘Hotel’ the locus of all that L.A. had come to mean for us. In a sentence, I’d sum it up as the end of the innocence, round one.”

The Song ‘Hotel California’ Makes A Reference To Steely Dan

The line “They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast,” is a reference to the band Steely Dan.  Both bands were represented by the same manager, Irving Azoff, for a period of time and a healthy competition began between the two bands.  Steely Dan made a reference to The Eagles in their song ‘Everything You Did’, so The Eagles took a shot at Steely Dan in ‘Hotel California’.

 

The Guy Who Shot The Album Cover Photo Is Kind Of A Big Deal

Besides the ‘Hotel California’ album cover, Art Director John Kosh, is the man behind some of rock’s most memorable album covers  The Beatles ‘Abbey Road’ , The Who’s ‘Who’s Next’ and The Rolling Stones ‘Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out’.  He explains what the band wanted from him for the album cover, the lengths he went to in order to get the perfect shot and how he was almost sued for the photo he took.