Welcome To The “Hotel California!”
It’s now a bit of a running gag between me and my wife: every time we drive by The Beverly Hills Hotel, we take a picture – and why not? It’s iconic for many reasons, like this one!
My “Eagles” LA Road Map To Honor “Hotel California”!
It’s the 40th anniversary of the classic “Hotel California” album – there was a newly remastered special edition that was released before the holidays with a second live CD as well! And yes, that The Beverly Hills Hotel on the cover!
As the official release stated about the second CD:
“The debut of ten live tracks that were recorded during the band’s three-night stand at the Los Angeles Forum in October 1976. The concert recordings which were recorded about a month before the album came out features one of the first ever live performances of Hotel California and New Kid In Town along with other Eagles classics including Already Gone, Take It To The Limit, and Witchy Woman.”
It made me think that it’s time to look at where The Eagles created some of their greatest music – from the bar where they first performed, to the restaurant that inspired “Lyin’ Eyes” – and the real “Sunset Grill”, home to one of Don Henley’s best solo songs – which is easy for me because I live close to all of them!
One of the great things about living in Southern California is that I’m close to so many iconic music locations – for example, the original “Hotel California”:
The Beverly Hills Hotel – AKA “Hotel California!”
I drive by this every day – since it’s under two miles from my house – The Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, used by the band on the cover of their classic album. As Don Henley said once:
“We were getting an extensive education, in life, in love, in business. Beverly Hills was still a mythical place to us. In that sense it became something of a symbol, and the ‘Hotel’ the focus of all that LA had come to mean for us. In a sentence, I’d sum it up as the end of the innocence, round one.”
It’s such an iconic sight, and it always reminds me of this brilliant album. I was lucky enough to see the band during their “History Of The Eagles” tour in 2013 – here is a short clip of “Hotel California” being performed live in Chicago:
You can read more about the album, including a lot of the music videos showing the band performing many of the songs, by clicking on my story here:
Let’s take a moment to go back to the beginning of it all, when Glenn Frey and Don Henley were playing music around town…
The Birth Of The Eagles At The Troubador!
This legendary bar on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood has seen some of the greatest performers of all time – and was the site of John Lennon’s infamous meltdown in the early 70’s…but it’s also where Linda Ronstadt heard Don Henley play the drums for the first time!
As she notes in her autobiography:
“[Producer] John Boylan was very active in helping me put a band together in those days. He knew all the musicians, and apparently Don Henley had already sent him some songs he had written. He’d heard me sing, he’d heard my records, he wanted to meet me and he came to L.A. hoping he could, and he had written some songs he hoped maybe I’d record. He sent them to John and they didn’t turn out to be good songs for me at the time, but I heard him play the drums when I was walking through the room at the Troubadour and I thought he was such a good drummer. He had country mixed with rock in a way that didn’t compromise either genre. So I said, ‘Let’s see if we can get him to play drums,’ and John went to talk to him and he said, ‘All right.’
Imagine seeing Henley on drums – this was before the band even formed – and The Troubador was the site for many of the band’s earliest performances…you can read more about it here:
Just down the street is one of West Hollywood’s biggest celebrity hangouts – and the location where Don and Glenn came up with one of their greatest songs:
The “Lyin’ Eyes” Of Dan Tana’s!
Glenn and Don were in this restaurant one night, and what they saw inspired one of their greatest songs – I posted the entire story before and you can see it here:
Finally, after the band broke up, Don had a great solo carer, including this classic song:
“Sunset Grill” by Don Henley
I love this song – just look at the lyrics:
“Let’s go down to the Sunset Grill
Watch the working girls go by
Watch the basket people walk around and mumble
Gaze out at the auburn sky
Maybe we’ll leave come springtime
Meanwhile, have another beer
What would we do without all these jerks anyway?
And besides, all our friends are here
Down at the Sunset Grill”
Located on Sunset Boulevard just a mile west of Hollywood High, the grill has been update a bit, but it still exists!
I couldn’t find a single video or live performance of the song by Don…but you know how to find it – a classic Don Henley tune…
You know that he’s still making music today, like this video for the gorgeous song “Take A Picture Of This”…
I did a longer look at his solo album “Cass County”, which has guest Artists like Dolly Parton and Mick Jagger – you can see more here:
Let me know if you’ve visited any of these Eagles hangouts!
Categories: 70's Music, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, Exotic Travel, Hollywood, Los Angeles, Memoirs, Music, Restaurants, Talent/Celebrities, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, Uncategorized