500 Greatest Songs of All Time

49

The Eagles, 'Hotel California'

Writers: Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley
Producer: Bill Szymczyk
Released: Dec. '76, Asylum
19 weeks; No. 1

"Hotel California" was rumored to be about heroin addiction or Satan worship, but Henley had more prosaic things on his mind: "We were all middle-class kids from the Midwest," he said. "'Hotel California' was our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles." (That doesn't preclude heroin or Satan, of course.) Recording the six-and-a-half-minute song posed its share of problems: Working in Miami, the Eagles were initially unable to re-create Felder's 12-string intro and elaborate twin-guitar coda. Panicked, Felder called his housekeeper in L.A. and sent her digging through a pile of tapes in his home studio so she could play his demo back over the phone.

Appears on: Hotel California (Elektra) 

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