(1976) Asylum label. Original issue gatefold jacket and original inner sleeve. This album sees the exit of band original member Bernie Leadon and the welcoming of Joe Walsh on guitar, keyboards, and vocals. Gone is the country feel slide and present is a harder rock guitar. Don Henley’s vocals dominate. The mysterious lyrics of the title track have been keeping fans guessing for years. Scan the inside cover photo spread and clearly one can identify the band members but who are all the rest of the folks pictured? Faces seem to “look” like the rich and famous but on second look you’re not quite sure.
- Hotel California (6:30)
- New Kid In Town (5:03)
- Life In The Fast Lane (4:46)
- Wasted Time (4:56)
- Wasted Time (reprise) (1:23)
- Victim Of Love (4:09)
- Pretty Maids All In A Row (3:58)
- Try And Love Again (5:10)
- The Last Resort (7:28)
There is no denying how significant this album is in rock and roll history. It reflects the sensibility of the year it was released. Before AIDS, before Reagan, before hostage crisis, before 9-11. After Nixon, after Vietnam. A brief slot of American time when sex, drugs, and rock and roll feels pretty harmless in retrospect. The sound of this record is so heavily influenced by Joe Walsh. You can clearly hear the guitar solos and think James Gang.
For me I have very warm memories of this album. Hanging out with my friends in the back yard or poolside, soaking in the sun working on our tans, the smell of Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil, gossiping about school. Hotel California playing on the radio or someone brought their speakers out to the back patio by running the speaker wires underneath their bedroom window screen and we played the album over and over. Nothing heavy. No fears. I rode a skateboard then– without any safety gear. Favorite song on this album? Randy Meisner’s Try And Love Again.