Wednesday, December 8, 1976

The Eagles released Hotel California

Hotel California

Eagles


Released: December 8, 1976


Charted: December 25, 1976


Peak: 18 US, 2 UK, 14 CN, 112 AU


Sales (in millions): 26.0 US, 1.8 UK, 32.33 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: classic rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Hotel California (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Don Felder) [6:30] (2/22/77, 1 US, 1 CB, 1 HR, 1 RR, 10 AC, 1 CL, 8 UK, 1 CN, 60 AU)
  2. New Kid in Town (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/J.D. Souther) [5:04] (12/11/76, 1 US, 2 CB, 3 HR, 1 RR, 2 AC, 43 CW, 1 CL, 20 UK, 1 CN, 16 AU)
  3. Life in the Fast Lane (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Joe Walsh) [4:46] (5/13/77, 11 US, 11 CB, 16 HR, 7 RR, 1 CL, 12 CN, 96 AU)
  4. Wasted Time (Don Henley/Glenn Frey) [4:55] (20 CL)
  5. Wasted Time (Reprise) (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Jim Ed Norman) [1:22]
  6. Victim of Love (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Don Felder/J.D. Souther) [4:11] (6 CL)
  7. Pretty Maids All in a Row (Joe Walsh/Joe Vitale) [4:05] (47 CL)
  8. Try and Love Again (Randy Meisner) [5:10] (47 CL)
  9. The Last Resort (Don Henley/Glenn Frey) [7:25] (11 CL)


Total Running Time: 43:28


The Players:

  • Don Henley (vocals, drums, percussion)
  • Glenn Frey (vocals, guitars, keyboards)
  • Don Felder (guitar, backing vocals)
  • Randy Meisner (bass, vocals)
  • Joe Walsh (guitar, keyboards, vocals)

Rating:

4.344 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)


Quotable:Hotel California unveiled…a band…that made music worthy of the later tag of ‘classic rock’” – William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide


Awards: (Click on award to learn more).

About the Album:

Hotel California proved a major milestone for the already immensely popular Eagles. The band’s sound had previously been rooted in country rock. They didn’t abandon that sound, as evidenced by lead single and #1 hit New Kid in Town – but in the eighteen months between the release of their 1975 album One of These Nights and Hotel California in 1976, they made “a stylistic shift toward mainstream rock.” WR

The Eagles reportedly spent eight months in the studio recording. With “changes in producer and personnel, as well as a noticeable growth in creativity, Hotel California unveiled what seemed almost like a whole new band. It was a band that could be bombastic, but also one that made music worthy of the later tag of ‘classic rock,’ music appropriate for the arenas and stadiums the band was playing.” WR “Early on, the group couldn’t rock convincingly;” WR they “never seemed to get a sound big enough for their ambitions.” WR However, the departure of Benie Leadon, “who had given the band much of its country flavor,” WR and the pairing of new arrival Joe Walsh with guitarist Don Felder gave the band more “arena-rock heft.” WR

Nowhere is that stylistic shift more apparent than on Life in the Fast Lane, a song which “drew a line between the band’s country-tinged past and rock and roll future” TL as it “captured coke culture in a catchphrase.” BL

That song was one of six which Don Henley either wrote or co-wrote, signaling another main shift for the Eagles. He was now “the band’s dominant voice, both as a singer and a lyricist.” WR Though his songs, he “sketches a thematic statement that begins by using California as a metaphor for a dark, surreal world of dissipation; comments on the ephemeral nature of success and the attraction of excess; branches out into romantic disappointment; and finally sketches a broad, pessimistic history of America that borders on nihilism.” WR

Those themes are clearly on display on the title track, “a sprawling epic” TL that “framed Hollywood…in terms so impressively vague they seemed mythic.” BL The song had “Satanic undertones that might have been subconsciously cribbed from Jethro Tull’s ‘We Used to Know’ when the bands toured together. As for the warm smell of colitas, fans are split on whether the word is Spanish slang for cannabis buds or an easy lay. Given the band and the era, the safest guess is both.” TL

“Like much of their catalog, Hotel California seems a lot smarter when you listen to it than when you talk about it.” TL “The lyrics kick in some time after one has appreciated the album’s music.” WR In any event, “the result was the Eagles' biggest-selling regular album release, and one of the most successful rock albums ever.” WR


Notes:

A 40th anniversary edition of the album included a live disc recorded at the L.A. Forum between October 20-22, 1976.

Review Sources:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Eagles
  • BL Blender Magazine’s “100 Greatest American Albums” (10/08)
  • WR William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide
  • TL Josh Tyrangiel and Alan Light, Time Magazine’s “All-TIME 100 Albums” (11/13/06)


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 3/11/2008; last updated 8/28/2021.

Saturday, November 27, 1976

Sex Pistols chart with “Anarchy in the U.K.”

Anarchy in the U.K.

The Sex Pistols

Writer(s): Paul Cook, Steve Jones, John Lydon, Glen Matlock (see lyrics here)


Released: November 26, 1976


First Charted: November 27, 1976


Peak: 33 UK, 1 CL, 1 CO (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 27.04 video, -- streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

During the mid-‘70s, a stagnant economy, labor strikes, and the “perpetually drizzly weather that has always afflicted the country” TB contributed to general dissatisfaction amongst British youth and “things seemed to assume a permanent greyness.” TB The Sex Pistols “contempt for their dreary culture and moribund music scene” TB put them at the forefront of the British punk scene.

Then band had generated buzz with their live shows and “the groundswell that was clearly building..for snotty, amateurish rock bands.” TC EMI signed the band and their first single, “Anarchy in the U.K.,” as released in late 1976. It is “what the beginning of a revolution sounds like.” RS500 Its “wit and anger make it the great political protest song of our times.” MC It certainly generated controversy – British radio banned it and EMI “pulled the single and dropped the band, which just made them more notorious. ‘I don’t understand it,’ Rotten said in 1977. ‘All we’re trying to do is destroy everything.’” RS500

The Sex Pistols “were not only sincere in their desire to make rock that smashed rock, but…they were absolutely equal to the task.” MA They “essentially…reinforced what the garage bands of the ‘60s had demonstrated – you don’t need technique to make rock & roll.” TC

Actually, though, while “Anarchy” certainly displayed combative lyrics by opening with “I am an anti-Christ” and ending with “Destroy!” it was otherwise “comparatively familiar, highly competent hard-rock.” TB Steve “Jones made his guitar sound like a pub brawl, while [Johnny] Rotten snarled, spat, [and] snickered” RS500 with an “evil cackle.” RS500 This is a band, which despite its reputation for not being able to play, “understood perfectly how to make rock and roll effects in the recording studio.” MA


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Sex Pistols
  • TC Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 735.
  • MA Dave Marsh (1989). The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made. New York, NY; New American Library. Pages 72-3.
  • MC Neil McCormack (3/13/09). Telegraph.co.uk “100 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • RS500 Rolling Stone (4/7/2011). “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time
  • TB Thunder Bay Press (2006). Singles: Six Decades of Hot Hits & Classic Cuts. Outline Press Ltd.: San Diego, CA. Page 165.
  • WK Wikipedia
  • PW Paul Williams (1993). Rock and Roll: The Best 100 Singles. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. Page 168.


Other Related DMDB Pages:


First posted 4/9/2020; last updated 10/8/2021.

Tuesday, November 23, 1976

Kansas “Carry on Wayward Son” released

Carry on Wayward Son

Kansas

Writer(s): Kerry Livgren (see lyrics here)


Released: November 23, 1976


First Charted: December 11, 1976


Peak: 11 US, 7 CB, 8 HR, 5 RR, 1 CL, 51 UK, 5 CN, 58 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 0.4 UK


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 1.0 radio, 259.14 video, 459.32 streaming

Awards:

Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“The now-familiar a capella intro for ‘Carry on Wayward Son’ was the sonic hook that would help Kansas score their first major hit, a feat that was a long time coming for the band. Like many groups in the time period, Kansas toured and recorded relentlessly, supporting three albums that sold modestly despite their growing live following.” UCR

Steve Walsh, the band’s singer, ran into writer’s block while the band was working on their fourth album, 1976’s Leftoverture. However, guitarist Kerry Livgren shared a song he wrote just two days before the band started recording. SF The band was polishing songs they already had and not looking for new ones. When they heard Livgren’s idea for “Carry on Wayward Son,” “they knew the songwriting gold that they had on hand and went straight into the recording studio without even pausing to rehearse the track.” UCR It became the album’s lead track and the group’s first top-40 hit.

The song is about “a man embattled with the voices and visions in his head.” UCR Livgren said it was “partially about himself and the struggles and pressures he was facing at the time when the band's career was on the line.” SF While the song “expresses spiritual searching,” SF Livgren said it “was not written to express anything specifically religious.” SF He did, however, become an evangelical Christian in 1980. SF

The song is notable for its “very distinctive intro” SF with a cappella vocals. It “is driven forward by guitar riffing, organ swells and solos from nearly every member in the band.” UCR Even though the song ran nearly five and a half minutes, it felt “comparatively restrained” UCR “next to some of the proggier moments on Leftoverture.” UCR


Resources:


Related Links:


First posted 7/15/2022; last updated 7/22/2022.