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The Eagles' Classic Album "Hotel California" Turns 40 Today

Rhino/Asylum RecordsToday marks the 40th anniversary of the release of The Eagles' landmark album Hotel California, the band's most successful studio effort, which has sold more than 16 million copies in the U.S. alone. The album spent eight nonconsecutive weeks atop the Billboard 200 in 1977 and yielded two #1 hits, "New Kid in Town" and the title track, which is widely considered to be one of the greatest rock songs of all time.

Ex-Eagles guitarist Don Felder, who wrote the music to "Hotel California," tells ABC Radio that he feels the band was at its creative peak when they recorded the song and the album.

"I thought it was a unbelievably magical combination of five guys -- writing, musicianship, the ability in the studio from the experience we had all had in the years we had spent making records," Felder tells ABC Radio

Hotel California, The Eagles' fifth studio release, was the first to feature guitarist Joe Walsh, who replaced founding member Bernie Leadon. Walsh's blistering playing added a harder edge to the band's sound, exemplified by his contributions to the title track and "Life in the Fast Lane," a #11 hit for the group.

"Hotel California" the song served as the thematic centerpiece to and launching point of the album, which is a loose concept record about life in the decadent music business in Southern California during the '70s.

As Felder explains, "Once we had the foundation of the concept of 'Hotel California,' all these other songs started coming out. Like, when you first get to L.A. and you get in the music business and you have your first hit, you're the 'New Kid in Town.' And then, once you start flying around in limos and Lear jets and living that lifestyle, it becomes 'Life in the Fast Lane.'"

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