The Eagles reissue Hotel California in multiple formats on Friday.
Though it’s called a 40th anniversary edition, it’s actually closer to 41. Don Henley tells Rolling Stone, “We’re a year late, technically speaking. The album came out in December 1976. But it didn’t really make an impact on the radio until February of ’77.”
The original album has been remastered and will be available in a single-CD and a digital release. The two-CD Expanded Edition adds 10 previously unreleased live tracks recorded in October 1976 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Henley says, “I was delighted at the energy and grittiness of the live tracks. I’m so thrilled we had the foresight to record those things at the Forum. I didn’t even realize that we had done that — playing songs from Hotel California before it was out. We were doing things that nobody had heard on the radio yet.
The 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition adds a Blu-ray audio disc with the album in Surround Sound. It’s packaged in a hardbound book with rare and unseen photos, along with a Hotel California replica tour book.
The highlight of the album is the title track, particularly the duel guitar solo by Don Felder and Joe Walsh. Henley says, “Rather than perfectionism, I like to refer to [that solo] as craftsmanship. Don and Joe sat down and worked on those solos for days. Then [producer] Bill Szymczyk and I did some editing on those solos. Then they relearned the parts after we edited them together. They’ll be pissed at me for saying this, but that wasn’t them just sitting down and spontaneously playing it in one take. That was weeks of work to get there. I’m not taking anything away. I have to give them props. They wrote those solos, worked over those harmony parts for days, then played them over and over again.”
Hotel California spent eight non-consecutive weeks at number-one in 1977. It spawned two number-one hits — the title track and “New Kid in Town” — and has sold more than 16 million copies in the U.S.
Source: Premiere Radio Prep