Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Hotel California



A snapshot of ’70s excess and the soundtrack to the comedown.

In early 1976, the Eagles released Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, a compilation that would spend the next half decade on the Billboard 200 and go on to become the biggest-selling album of the 20th century in the United States. But the band’s most popular, career-defining song was still months away: the title track to Hotel California, the record where the Eagles expunged any lingering trace of their country-rock roots and took up residence in the football stadiums of the world.

That shift can be largely attributed to the new kid in town: guitarist Joe Walsh, who added the exclamation point to Don Henley’s eerie narrative with one of the most dramatic guitar solos in the rock canon. That swagger spills over into the brontosaurus stomp of “Victim of Love” and the disco-fied “Life in the Fast Lane,” a—the?—definitive account of Hollywood hedonism. Hotel California is both a portrait of ’70s excess from behind the velvet rope and the soundtrack to the inevitable cruel comedown.

“There was some friction but that was all creative. After that, we achieved an amount of success beyond our wildest imagination, and there was no turning back.”

Joe Walsh