500 Greatest Albums of All Time

37

The Eagles, 'Hotel California'

Asylum, 1976

In pursuit of note-perfect Hollywood-cowboy ennui, the Eagles spent eight months in the studio polishing take after take after take. As Don Henley recalled, "We just locked ourselves in. We had a refrigerator, a ping-pong table, roller skates and a couple of cots. We would go in and stay for two or three days at a time." With guitarist Joe Walsh replacing Bernie Leadon, the band backed off from straight country rock in favor of the harder sound of "Life in the Fast Lane." The somber "New Kid in Town" ponders the fleeting nature of fame, and the title track is a monument to the rock-aristocrat decadence of the day and a feast of triple-guitar interplay. "Every band has their peak," Henley said. "That was ours."

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