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Inspiration: Don Felder Tells the Story Behind The Eagles' "Hotel California"

  • Don Felder (The Eagles)
  • “Hotel California” Hotel California (1976)

“I had just leased this house out on the beach at Malibu -- I guess it was around 1974 or ‘75.

I remember sitting in the living room on a spectacular July day with the doors wide open. I had a bathing suit on and was sitting on this couch, soaking wet, thinking the world is a wonderful place to be.

I had this acoustic 12-string and started tinkling around with it, and those ‘Hotel California’ chords just kind of oozed out. I had a TEAC four-track set up in one of the back bedrooms and I ran back there to put this idea down before I forgot it.

I also had one of those Rhythm Ace [a Sixties-era drum machine made by Acetone] things, and I remember it was set to play this cha-chat beat. I play the 12 string on top of that.

A few days later I came up with bass line and mixed the whole thing to mono. Flenn had this idea [for the lyrics] -- the fantasy of California. It’s supposed to be microcosm of the world."

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