Every Song on the Eagles’ Classic Rock Album ‘Hotel California’ Ranked

On December 8, 1976, the Eagles made rock and roll history with the release of their fifth album, Hotel California. The project marked the kickstart of a new chapter for the band in multiple aspects. After founding member Bernie Leadon parted ways with the group, guitarist Joe Walsh stepped in, bringing a fresh creative perspective.

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Hotel California was a critical and commercial success upon its release, winning Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards. Decades later, it’s still one of the best-selling albums of all time.

From “Life In the Fast Lane” to the album’s iconic title track, we’ve ranked every song from the Eagles’ Hotel California.

8. “Pretty Maids All In a Row”

Penned by Walsh and Joe Vitale, “Pretty Maids All In a Row” is the first of only two tracks from Hotel California that Glenn Frey or Don Henley didn’t write. The melancholy tune reflects on a relationship from the past but doesn’t stand out among this top-tier list of tracks.

7. “Try and Love Again”

An electric guitar-driven groove helps propel the bittersweet message of “Try and Love Again” forward. Written by founding member Randy Meisner, the second to last song from Hotel California is a simple but effective heartbreak tune.

6. “Victim of Love”

Side two of Hotel California (if you are listening to the record on vinyl) starts off with a bang, thanks to “Victim of Love.” The song’s surprising intensity, crafted by an influx of edgy rock elements, compliments its intriguing, steamy lyrics.

5. “Wasted Time”

One of many stellar co-writes from Henley and Frey, “Wasted Time” expertly details a woman questioning if a long relationship was worth the unforeseen outcome.

4. “The Last Resort”

It all comes to a close with “The Last Resort,” an imagery-driven story-song crafted by Henley and Frey. The track offers a commentary on humanity’s lasting impact on the planet we call home, relaying environmental concerns Henley himself has been vocal about through the years.

3. “Life In the Fast Lane”

Joe Walsh’s blazing guitar riff helps set the pace on “Life In the Fast Lane,” track No. 3 from Hotel California. This fiery, funk-infused track became the record’s third single, climbing to No. 11 on  the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977.

2. “New Kid In Town”

Penned by Frey, Henley, and J.D. Souther, “New Kid In Town” relays life’s promise of constant change. The slow-rolling tune reminds us how easily we all can be replaced, whether in love or career. “New Kid In Town” was selected as the album’s lead single and quickly climbed to No. 1 in the U.S.

1. “Hotel California”

Yes, “Hotel California” is the record’s title track and lead song, but it should be defined as a true rock and roll opus. This haunting and mysterious tune, co-written by Henley, Frey, and Felder, offers an intriguing lyrical storyline and an ever-evolving soundscape. Few acts would dare to release a song that concludes with a two-minute-long guitar solo, but the Eagles had a vision. “Hotel California” became a No. 1 hit for the group and stands as one of rock music’s most celebrated and recognizable releases to date.

Photo Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

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