Sunday, May 7, 2017


In Music History

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2016After completing a tour with Guns N' Roses, Axl Rose takes over as lead singer for AC/DC, filling in for Brian Johnson at a show in Lisbon after Johnson is told that continuing the tour could result in permanent hearing loss. Rose fills in on the remaining dates as a guest vocalist.
2012Jake Owen marries the 22-year-old model Lacey Buchanan. The pair met when she appeared in Owen's video for "Eight Second Ride."
2011Lady Gaga's HBO concert special airs. The show is made up of two February concerts from Madison Square Garden on her Monster Ball tour. Those who remember Madonna's Truth or Dare notice a lot of similarities.
2011'60s pop singer John Walker (The Walker Brothers) dies of liver disease at age 67.
2008The Jammys Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded to Phish. The ceremony takes place in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
2005Giacomo, owned by A&M Records founder Jerry Moss, wins the Kentucky Derby at 50-to-1 odds.
2002Carole King guests on the WB Network's TV show Gilmore Girls (for which she also sings the opening song).
2002The Rolling Stones arrive by blimp at New York’s Van Cortland Park to announce their 2002/2003 world tour.
1998Country singer-songwriter Eddie Rabbittdies of lung cancer at age 56.
1982The first Men at Work album, Business as Usual, already a #1 hit in their native Australia, is finally released in America. In November, it rises to the top in the US.
1973George Harrison releases "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)."
1969Eagle-Eye Cherry (yes, that's his real name) is born in Stockholm, Sweden.
1969The Who releases "Pinball Wizard."
1968Aretha Franklin records a live album in Paris.
1967Jimi Hendrix plays the Saville Theatre in London, with Brian Jones, Ringo Starrand members of The Moody Blues and The Beach Boys in attendance.
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"Hotel California" Checks In At #1

Running 6:08 and loaded with metaphor and guitars, "Hotel California" tops the Hot 100.

One of the most enduring and enigmatic rock songs, "Hotel California" tells the story of a man who goes on a mysterious journey to a place where you can check in, but you can never leave. As the center of the film and music industries, California has a certain mythology, making it the perfect setting for the song. If you grew up there, it feels natural, but to an outsider, it's a different planet. 

The musical foundation came from Don Felder, one of three guitarists in the group, who supplied the track on a demo cassette he recorded. Don Henley wrote the lyric with help from Glenn Frey. All are outsiders: Henley is from Texas, Frey from Michigan, and Felder from Florida. When they went west, they discovered a world of possibility tarnished with a superficial indulgence.

The story doesn't follow a linear path, relying instead on a series of images, leaving the listener to craft the narrative. Those images are sensory: a warm smell of colitas (a desert plant), a shimmering light, pink champagne on ice. Some of them have a backstory. The "steely knives" are a nod to Steely Dan, whose 1976 song "Everything You Did" has the line, "Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening." 

Henley says this journey is from "innocence to experience," with a look at how art and commerce intertwine. "The Hotel California is something that was elegant and now is decadent," he says.

"Decadent" is a good word to describe reaction to the song. It goes to #1 in America and helps the album sell over 30 million copies worldwide, banishing the band's image of laid-back country rockers. Radio stations in Pop, Rock and Adult Contemporary formats play it religiously. It never fades away, remaining a Classic Rock touchstone. 

Its success gives the band everything they wanted when they came to Hollywood. Fame, fortune, and #1 albums were already checked off the list (their previous studio album One of These Nights went to #1, as did their 1976 compilation Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)), but now they have critical acclaim (including from the curmudgeonly British music press) and respect from their musical peers. Don Henley also has an ulcer from the extreme workload, as the album was recorded between tour stops at a relentless pace.

At the Grammy Awards, where millionaire musicians are rewarded with gilded trophies in a glittering Los Angeles auditorium, "Hotel California" wins for Record of the Year. The Eagles watch the ceremony on TV from their rehearsal space, where they're working on their next album, The Long Run.

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