Eagles, Hotel California
Asylum, 1976: Don Henley (drums, vocals, keyboards), Don Felder (guitar, vocals), Glenn Frey (guitar, keyboard, vocals), Joe Walsh (guitar, keyboard, vocals), Randy Meisner (bass, vocals)
The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, two super groups of the 1970s, released blockbuster albums in the span of a few months: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours (4 February 1977) and The Eagles' Hotel California (December 1976). I remember buying both on sale (maybe $4.99) at a record store in the Whitehall Mall, and it was pretty clear that both were great albums right from the start.
Hotel California is one of the top-selling albums of all time. You can look up the specific figures, but I think that it has sold over sixteen million in the United States (and still going). That is pretty darn impressive!
The band came together in 1971 as a backup band for Linda Ronstadt--her first album was pretty darn good--and then went on from there. The band's music was kind of a country-rock fusion, a style that that had been pioneered by the Byrds at the end of the 1960s.
So much of this album is pointed, social commentary, just like Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd, and all of these bands are often included as part of the "progressive" era of rock music. "Wasted Time" has some intense lyrics, "back out on the street, and you trying to remember ... alone, you're afraid its all been wasted time." "Hotel California" itself is about materialism and excess, as is "Life in the Fast Lane."
The gem on the album is "The Last Resort," a long song at over seven minutes, which meant that it wasn't going to get too much radio airplay on the pop market. The song focuses on the wanton destruction of our environment and the continuing destruction of just about everything in the West. "They came from everywhere...seeking a place to stand or a place to hide, ...they called it paradise, I don't know why." And the lyrics continue, "we satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God." And the finish, "you call some place paradise, kiss it goodbye."
I don't really remember playing the album that much in the late 70s, but over time it grows on you.