The hit tune was a billboard chart-topper; it sold over 16 million copies in the U. In , the song won a Grammy award for Record of the Year. Glenn Frey was the mastermind behind the song's lyrics. While there have been many theories that contemplate what the song represents, the Eagles' band members have revealed in multiple interviews that the true meaning behind "Hotel California" is a commentary on the hedonism and self-indulgence of America. In , Henley further explained the meaning of the song to Rolling Stone magazine , which placed "Hotel California" at no. According to journalist-turned-director Cameron Crowe , "Hotel California" was almost named something entirely different.
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It tightened its grasp on the band, the music industry and the country at large. With Hotel California , the Eagles sought to capture the excesses and self-destructive behavior that had become status quo in the rock world. It was a scene they were uniquely qualified to address. Their efforts would create a song cycle that succeeded on nearly every level. The rich lyrics — both introspective and allegorical — had fans pondering their true meaning for decades to come. Was Hotel California about a mental institution?
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The Eagles on stage, Rotterdam, Photo: Redferns. So, it's interesting that the track itself underwent three different versions before emerging in the form that everyone knows. When we recorded it the third time, that was the charm. The crystal itself was indiscriminately tuned to whatever channel it was on, and at first nothing came through.
The Eagles' original recording of the song features Henley singing the lead vocals and concludes with an extended section of electric guitar interplay between Felder and Joe Walsh. The song is considered the most famous recording by the band, and in its long guitar coda was voted the best guitar solo of all time by readers of Guitarist. Since its release, "Hotel California" has been covered by a number of artists and has become a part of international popular culture. Julia Phillips proposed adapting the song into a film, but the members of the Eagles disliked the idea and it never came to fruition. Commercially, "Hotel California" reached the number one position on the Billboard Hot and reached the top ten of several international charts. A demo of the instrumental was developed by Don Felder   in a rented house on Malibu Beach. He recorded the basic tracks with a Rhythm Ace drum machine and added a 12 string guitar on a four-track recording deck in his spare bedroom, then mixed in a bassline , and gave Don Henley and Glenn Frey each a copy of the recording. The demo he made for "Hotel California" showed influences from Latin and reggae music, and it grabbed the attention of Henley who said he liked the song that "sounds like a Mexican reggae or Bolero",  which gave the song its first working title, "Mexican Reggae".