Tag Archives: Joe Walsh

Eagles, Chapter V – Hotel California (1976)

Members: Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Joe Walsh

Hotel California is the seminal album in the discography of the Eagles, and even those who are not fans know this one.

With the addition of Joe Walsh and the departure of Bernie Leadon, the quartet that remained had left its country roots well and truly behind, and the Eagles emerged as a very different band.

Hotel California (Don Felder / Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
There’s nothing new left to be said about this song – from its lyrical mystery to its fantastic two minute guitar outro. It’s not only their most famous track, but also one of the defining songs of the seventies. 10
New Kid in Town (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / JD Souther)
Lead – Frey
I always found this song to be overrated, which is not to say it’s bad, just that it’s the lowest point on an album filled with great material. 7
Life in the Fast Lane (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Joe Walsh)
Lead – Henley
A great rock song with a biting Henley vocal and some influential guitar work from Walsh. 9
Wasted Time (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
One of my favourite Eagles songs, and up there with the best ballads Henley ever tipped his vocals to. This is even more poignant if you’ve let go of a relationship. 10
Wasted Time (reprise) (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Jim Ed Norman)
instrumental
A nice little breather, before…
Victim of Love (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Don Felder / JD Souther)
Lead – Henley
A very good rock track that often gets unjustly overlooked on this album amongst all the classics. 9
Pretty Maids All in a Row (Joe Walsh / Joe Vitale)
Lead – Walsh
The first lead vocal for the newest Eagle, Joe Walsh. Nobody would suggest Walsh has a great voice, but with the right song it can work, and this is the right song. 8
Try and Love Again (Randy Meisner)
Lead – Meisner
This is Randy’s last lead vocal on his final album with the Eagles, and it’s also his best. A beautiful song. 9
The Last Resort (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
This epic Eagles track – the way that it dramatically builds musically, lyrically, and vocally – is one of my favourites. 10

Overall: 90%
I usually love to hold the contrarian opinion, but there’s a reason this album is so highly rated: and that’s because it’s a fantastic collection of songs… and it’s hard to argue otherwise.

Eagles, Foreword…

R-1521205-1509062258-6225.jpegI discovered the Eagles when I was a teenager and the rest of my peers were getting into dance music – back when I used to borrow music cassettes from the library. Yes, that long ago. I don’t think you can do that anymore. At the time I probably could only have named a couple of their tracks; Hotel California, and maybe one other. But I have always been open to new voices and sounds, and the ‘Best of’ collection that I picked up that day was just the kind of detour from my usual playlist that I was looking for.

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Leadon, Meisner, Henley, Frey

Although our musical tastes are – to one degree or another – influenced by those of our parents, mum and dad had nothing to do with my interest in the Eagles. From memory, I think the attraction was purely based on first impressions. It was the album cover; a needle-straight highway threading its way through Monument Valley. Google was still a handful of years away, so there was no way for me to research who these Eagles were. I just had to take the tape home and press play. So that’s what I did.

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Henley, Felder, Frey, Leadon, Meisner

Something about their music just clicked with me. From their expert musicianship to their perfect harmonies; from their biting lyrics to their indulgent instrumentals. They were not contemporary at that time – in the early nineties – and it was certainly not considered cool to like them either, so I don’t know why their music spoke to me, but it did. The Eagles produced the kind of sound I didn’t know I was missing, and from that day to this, they became my favourite band.

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Henley, Walsh, Meisner, Frey, Felder

The Eagles got together several years before I was born, and by the time I was old enough to have an opinion they had been split up for a number of years. They did reform in 1994 (after what Glenn Frey termed their ‘fourteen year vacation’), but by then the musical landscape had shifted, and their particular style of seventies country-rock was no longer in favour.

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Frey, Felder, Henley, Walsh, Schmit

I thought it would be interesting to take each of their seven studio albums and review them. Nothing too detailed; just a general feeling of what each record does for me. Maybe once I’ve done that I’ll get around to their miscellaneous stuff as well, such as Eagles Live from 1980, and Hell Freezes Over, from 1994, because they’re important to the story of the band too. At the end of it all I’ll probably throw in my top ten list of tracks, because who doesn’t enjoy a subjective list?

I was fortunate enough to see the Eagles perform live twice in Glasgow – first in Hampden Park in July of 2001, and then at the Hydro in May of 2014. They were two of the greatest concert experiences I have ever had. Of course, the passing of founding member Glenn Frey in 2016 changed the face of the group forever, and although the Eagles have continued without him, they have lost an integral part of what made them special.

So if you enjoy the music of the Eagles, come with me for the ride; and if they have never made it onto your playlist, perhaps I can encourage a few new fans along the way.

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Walsh, Henley, Frey, Schmit