On this day in history, May 7, 1977, the song “Hotel California” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The six minute and eight second-long song by the Eagles spent one week atop the charts before it was bumped down to the number three spot by the song “When I Need You” by Leo Sayer, the website Best Classic Bands notes.
The album “Hotel California” was released on Dec. 8, 1976, but the title song was released as a single two months later on Feb. 22, 1977, according to rock music website SuperSeventies.
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“Every band has its creative peak,” said Don Henley, founding member of the Eagles, to USA Today in 2020 of the album “Hotel California.”
“I think that was ours,” he continued. “We’d become very adept in the studio. We knew a lot about production. We knew more about songwriting. We had the musicianship.”
He added, “We were willing to make some changes and take some risks and try to do something different from anything we’d done before.”
Henley also said, “And you know, the astronauts in the Space Station get a wakeup call every day. A lot of times the folks in the [NASA] control center would play ‘Hotel California.'”
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The musician laughed and then said, “Personally, I don’t know if I would want to start the day with that,” as USA Today noted.
“It’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America.”
The enigmatic song has led to a variety of wild theories about its meaning, some of which amused Henley.
Rumors also spread that the song was actually about “heroin addiction or satan worship,” said Rolling Stone — something Henley vehemently denied.
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“We were all middle-class kids from the Midwest,” Henley told that publication. “‘Hotel California’ was our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles.”
In an interview with “60 Minutes,” Henley offered another meaning.
“It’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about,” he said.
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“Hotel California” would go on to win Record of the Year at the 1977 Grammy Awards — although the band was not in attendance that night, as they did not think they would win.
The Eagles eventually received the award at the 2016 Grammy Awards, as part of a tribute performance for the then-recently deceased co-founder Glenn Frey, who passed away in January 2016 at age 67.
Several lineup changes
The Eagles were founded in 1971 by Frey, Henley, Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner, according to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website.
They underwent several lineup changes — and after a string of pop hits, retired in 1980.
“The ultimate plot twist is that they were reborn in 1994 for another go-round as the public demonstrated an insatiable appetite for their music and messages,” said the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame entry on the band.
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The Eagles were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, with Jimmy Buffett giving them the honor of induction.
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Throughout the band’s career, the group received 18 Grammy Award nominations and won six, in addition to a host of other awards.
The album “Hotel California” was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008, notes the Grammy organization’s website.