JENNINGS: Back to Hotel California | Night and day

The Eagles are bringing their “Hotel California” tour to Buffalo on April 21. The band will perform the iconic album of the same name in its entirety with a full symphony orchestra. Tickets start at $129 for Section 300 at KeyBank Center.

The album “Hotel California” is a special album. Released on December 8, 1976, it was the Eagles’ fifth studio album and released the same year as “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)”, which became the best-selling record of all time.

The record regularly appears on lists of the greatest albums of all time and has sold over 32 million copies worldwide. Making it the band’s best-selling non-compilation album.

The title track is steeped in mystery and subject to all sorts of interpretations. The cover is a photo of the Beverly Hills Hotel, which itself is filled with legendary stories as it was frequented by many Hollywood legends, including the Rat Pack and Humphrey Bogart. John Lennon and Yoko Ono spent a week at the hotel, which has served as the setting for numerous films.

Interior photos were taken in the lobby of the Lido Hotel in Hollywood. The building still exists but is used as an apartment complex.

There were two other hotels photographed for the album cover before they settled on the now famous Beverly Hills hotel sunset shot by David Alexander. The album’s art director, John Kosh, also designed the covers for “Abbey Road” by The Beatles, “Who’s Next” by The Who and many other famous album covers.

Plus great artwork, packaging and a strong title cut. “Hotel California” featured a solid set of songs and a tougher edge than the band’s previous releases. This was due, in large part, to the addition of guitarist Joe Walsh, who had already established himself as a solo artist before joining the Eagles as a replacement for Bernie Leadon.

Walsh received writing credits on “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Pretty Maids All in a Row”, and his guitar work is still present.

The writing team of Don Henley and Glenn Frey contributed some of their strongest work, including “New Kid in Town” and “Wasted Time.” Guitarist Don Felder received writing credits on the title track and “Victim of Love”.

“Hotel California” featured what was arguably the best Eagles lineup in their history. It was bassist Randy Meisner’s last album with the band, and even Timothy B. Schmidt proved to be an excellent replacement for Meisner; the band’s dynamic had changed by the time they released “The Long Run” in 1979.

The band broke up the following year and did not release another studio album for 28 years, and this album “Long Road Out of Eden” which was released in 2007, was the band’s sixth and final studio album. .

The mere fact that the Eagles have been able to tour and remain so popular despite only releasing six albums in 50 years speaks to the musical power of a “Hotel California” album.

As for the performance in Buffalo, the current Eagles lineup only includes two of the five musicians who appeared on the album, Walsh and Henley. Felder still performs selections from the album in his solo shows, and Randy Meisner retired from touring years ago. Glenn Frey died in 2016 and his son Deacon Frey is currently part of the band.

Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.

Nicholas E. Crittendon