The Eagles reached the 80.000.000 mark last year. Eighty million records sold - not just of "Hotel California", of course, but of their entire catalogue.
Still, this album is rightly considered their artistic peak as well as their commercial one. I don't think I've ever heard any piece of popular music as well crafted as the title track...all of the Eagles were amazingly gifted musicians, and to have three guitarists of the caliber of Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Glenn Frey assembled in one band is simply astonishing.
The partiture to "Hotel California" reads a classical chamber piece. At one point eight electric and acoustic guitars are playing at the same time!
Everybody has heard "Hotel California" so many times that they forget what an incredible musical achievement it actually is - but just listen to Don Felder's 16-bar solo immediately after the last verse. That has to be one of the greatest rock guitar solos ever committed to tape.
But "Hotel California" isn't just the title track. "New Kid In Town" and "Life In The Fast Lane", with the instantly recognizable main riff by Joe Walsh, were major hit singles as well - in fact, this album doesn't contain a single weak track. "Wasted Time" is a slow, emotional ballad, and "Victim Of Love" a rock song with a crunching cut-n-shuffle riff. Joe Walsh contributes the beautiful "Pretty Maids All In A Row", and bassist Randy Meisner is the man behind "Try And Love Again", a lovely country rocker with ringing lead guitar work from Glenn Frey.
The album closes with the 7½-minute "The Last Resort", which showcases Don Henley the songwriter at his most acidic, but it is also one of his best vocal performances.
This is perhaps less of a pop album than the Eagles' previous records - some of the songs lack the instantly catchy hit quality of "One Of These Nights" or "Lyin' Eyes" - but the Eagles more than make up for this more "mature" approach to songwriting with their awesome instrumental and vocal skills. I can't imagine a more competent band than the Eagles at their mid-seventies prime, and this is the crown jewel in their musical legacy, one of the best and most succesful "adult" rock records of all time.