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Rewinding The Charts: Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ Checks In At No. 1

On this date in 1977, the band topped the Billboard Hot 100 with a rock classic.

“The casually beautiful, quietly intense, multileveled vocal harmonies and brilliant original songs that meld solid, emotional words with lovely melody lines are all back in full force, keeping the Eagles at the acme of acoustic-electric soft rock … The group isn’t trying out any new departures here, with the exception of the lengthy Procol Harum-type title cut.”

Billboard raved about the Eagles’ fifth studio album, “Hotel California,” in the Dec. 18, 1976 issue, and astutely gave special mention to the title track: It took over the Billboard Hot 100 six months later, in the May 7 issue. “Hotel California” sold Platinum, according to the RIAA, the only Eagles single to do so, although it was the fourth of the band’s five Hot 100 No. 1s and its sixth straight top five.

The Don Henley-sung track won the 1977 Grammy Award for record of the year and has become a rock classic, thanks to its breezy melodies, Don Felder and Joe Walsh’s guitar duet and decades of debate over its meaning. Henley helped diffuse speculation in last year’s documentary “History of the Eagles,” revealing the song to be about “a journey from innocence to experience — that’s all.”

Just three months earlier, the band was No. 1 on the Hot 100 dated Feb. 26 with “New Kid in Town,” the lead single from “Hotel California.” The album ruled the Billboard 200 for eight weeks and has been certified 16-times Platinum — but not just because of its chart-topping singles. In highlighting the set’s “best cuts,” Billboard also called out the low-key “Wasted Time,” “Try and Love Again” and “The Last Resort”: “The Eagles are still best on pretty ballads that grab the ear by smooth sound textures, and there’s plenty of this on the LP.”