represented a commercial peak for the Eagles, selling nine million copies in its year of release alone. Founder member Bernie Leadon quit and was replaced with tougher-sounding guitarist Joe Walsh just before the band spent eight months in the studio crafting this album. Unfortunately, as often happens with albums that take so long to make, spontaneity is almost wholly sacrificed to a virtuosity of a somewhat sterile kind, and some of these songs appear in far more energetic and interesting versions on the band's Live
album. Still,Hotel California
has had a massive influence--its formula of soft country and hard rock has been endlessly imitated, but few acts have recaptured the weary loveliness of the Eagles' template. --JamesSwift
This album marked a major leap for the Eagles from their earlier work, as well as a stylistic shift toward mainstream Rock. An even more important aspect, however, is the emergence of Don Henley as the band's dominant voice, both as a singer and lyricist. In the early part of their career, the Eagles never seemed to get a sound big enough for their ambitions; but with the release of "Hotel California" came the unveiling of a seemingly whole new band. It was a band that could be bombastic, but one that made music worthy of the later tag of "Classic Rock," music appropriate for the arenas and stadium's the band was playing. The result was the Eagles' biggest selling regular album release and one of the most successful Rock albums ever.