The Eagles are one of the world’s most popular bands in history. The legendary artists have achieved 14 Top 40 hits, five number-one singles and four number one albums. Their 1976 album Hotel California is the third best-selling album of all time. The journey to create Hotel California was filled with interesting twists and turns, but the result was one of the most iconic albums ever. Here are some behind-the-scenes elements about the band’s landmark album.
- The working title of the title track “Hotel California” was “Mexican Reggae.” Former lead guitarist Don Felder came up with the melody and when The Eagles reconvened in the spring of 1976 to start work on the album, the song made the cut. Late guitarist Glenn Frey described the track as “Mexican Reggae” and it became the song’s working title during early sessions before the lyrics were finalized.
- Black Sabbath disrupted recording sessions for Hotel California. The Eagles were recording the album at Miami’s legendary Criteria Studios, far from the band’s standard base of operations at L.A.’s Record Plant and Black Sabbath was in the adjacent studio recording Technical Ecstasy. Guitarist Tony Iommi told the Cut that “The Eagles were recording next door, but we were too loud for them.” He added, “It kept coming through the wall into their sessions.”
- Drummer Don Henley brought his own mattress to each hotel during the original Hotel California tour. Henley insisted that the mattress was a necessity saying, “Between playing the drums and keeping my mouth in front of the microphone, it really twisted my whole body. I got to a point in the Seventies where I literally could not sleep.” He added, “Hotel mattresses are awful – so I brought my own mattresses and had it trucked around with the equipment.”
- The Eagles won the 1978 Grammy Award for Record of the Year for “Hotel California,” but they watched the show from band practice. Manager Irving Azoff reportedly refused to let the band perform at the Grammys unless their win was guaranteed, so even though The Eagles ultimately won the award, guitarist Timothy B. Schmit later said they watched the telecast in the midst of their band rehearsal.
- Julia Phillips, the Academy Award-winning producer behind Taxi Driver and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, once set her sights on a creating film inspired by “Hotel California.” The project ultimately fell through, but Frey opened about his thoughts on that potential film in an interview with BBC 2 radio. “When we thought of this song ‘Hotel California,’ we started thinking that it would be very cinematic to do it sort of like The Twilight Zone.”
As a part of the Hotel California 2020 Tour, The Eagles are coming to Chase Center for two back-to-back shows. It's still not too late to get your tickets for the April 11 or the April 12 shows and see The Eagles play the hits from Hotel California.