Is there a greater staple of classic rock radio than Hotel California?
Truly, most of us have heard it so many times now that one could ask just what there is left to say about The Eagles’ classic tale of fame, excess and the overwrought metaphor.
Well, as this glorious isolated track shows, there’s more going on here than perhaps meets the eye (err, ears).
From the chiming twelve string intro to the barely audible single note nylon string lines, the harmonized electric stings coming in at 3:58 to the tasty double-stop turnarounds during the chorus, there are literally dozens of overdubs packed into Hotel California’s relatively simple i-V-VII-IV-VI-III-iv-V progression.
Nevertheless, though there is layer upon layer of overdub happening here, it always remains tight and controlled, never descending into chaos, even when that iconic howling solo erupts – a testament to the restraint of a band confident and in their prime.
And that solo – surely one of the greatest guitar duels ever captured, here courtesy of Don Felder and Joe Walsh – jam packed with lovely minor key country licks, slurred lines and little bends that make the whole thing just so damn tasty.
So put some pink champagne on ice, turn down the lights and check this shit out:
The rhythm guitar track:
There’s so much going on here. You can really hear the Latin and reggae influences in Randy Meisner’s lines.
Man, check out the ringing on that snare. And those ultra dry reggae toms. And what a weird little hi-hat figure at 3:30.
Anyway, the vocals: