EAGLES – Hotel California [40th Anniversary Expanded Edition] (2017)
Rhino Records has just released EAGLES‘ iconic album “Hotel California [40th Anniversary Expanded Edition]” that includes the original studio album remastered plus an extra disc of ten previously unreleased live recordings. Apart from Hotel California in all its remastered glory, the release marks the debut of 10 live tracks that were recorded during the band’s three-night stand at the Los Angeles Forum in October 1976.
The concerts — which were recorded about a month before the album came out — features one of the first ever live performances of title track “Hotel California” and “New Kid In Town” along with other Eagles classics including “Already Gone,” “Take It To The Limit,” and “Witchy Woman.”
You can’t argue with success. And when it comes to popular American albums, “Hotel California” –with two #1 Billboard hit singles and 32 million (and counting) in worldwide sales — certainly qualifies.
So it’s no surprise that this is the first Eagles album to receive the deluxe reissue treatment, just in time for Christmas circa 2017, more or less its 40th anniversary (it was first released October, 1976).
“Hotel California” arrived with a substantial Eagles personnel change: the substitution of Bernie Leaden who, as a former member of the Flying Burrito Brothers, had lent the Eagles authenticity and a connection to the country world.
Filling that slot was hard rocker Joe Walsh (on guitar and keyboards), initially an unusual choice, but one that history has shown to be wise, especially for the tougher, more arena rock oriented sound the band was aiming for.
Little more needs to be written about the music, although it’s worth noting that for all of its lyrical exploration of excess in the Golden State, neither of the Eagles’ primary songwriters Don Henley or Glenn Frey, was born or raised in California.
Regardless, with songs such as the thrill ride slide guitar rocking of “Life in the Fast Lane,” the bittersweet, string enhanced, cinematic ballads “Wasted Time” and closer “The Last Resort,” along with the incisive title track, the songwriting team along with help from others in their orbit such as J.D. Souther, nailed the dark underbelly of fleeting success with memorable melodies and committed performances.
Even Randy Meisner’s yearning “Try and Love Again” and Walsh’s poignant “Pretty Maids All In a Row,” both composed without either Frey or Henley, slot nicely into the general concept.
Producer Bill Szymczyk’s input isn’t often credited, but he effectively captured the organic nature of the music while providing the scope and heft that shifted the Eagles from a popular roots rock act to a worldwide household name.
“Hotel California” is EAGLES’ milestone album, a record that needs to be present in everyone’s collection.
The fresh 2017 remastering is stupendous, crystal clear, as it is the pretty good sound of the previously unreleased live perfomance.
CD 1: Hotel California Remastered 2017
01. Hotel California
02. New Kid In Town
03. Life In The Fast Lane
04. Wasted Time
05. Wasted Time (Reprise)
06. Victim Of Love
07. Pretty Maids All In A Row
08. Try And Love Again
09. The Last Resort
CD 2: Live at The Los Angeles Forum
01. Take It Easy
02. Take It To The Limit
03. New Kid In Town
04. James Dean
05. Good Day In Hell
06. Witchy Woman
07. Funk #49
08. One of These Nights
09. Hotel California
10. Already Gone
Don Henley – lead and backing vocals, drums; percussion, synthesizer
Glenn Frey – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocals
Randy Meisner – bass, backing vocals; lead vocals, guitarron
Don Felder – guitars, backing vocals
Joe Walsh – guitars, keyboards, backing vocals, lead vocals
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