Things Get Awkward When Don Felder Reveals The Ugly Truth Behind The Eagles’ “Hotel California”
photo credit: YouTube via Contact Stigmaweb
Things Are Never What They Seem
Former Eagle Don Felder makes no secret of the fact that his 2000 departure from the band was anything less than civil; he was left out of the band’s Kennedy Center Honors last year and as of 2017, Felder’s only communication with Don Henley is through legal teams while the January 2016 death of Glenn Frey dealt a crushing blow to any hopes of one day reconciling. There’s one thing that can’t be erased, however, and that’s the monumental contribution he made to the Eagles in the form of “Hotel California” – but according to Don, his former friends and bandmates have done their best to downplay this crucial part of his legacy.
Let’s rewind: Don came up with the chord progression for “Hotel California” and actually completed about 90% of the track on his own, writing and recording the song’s guitar and bass parts to create a rough demo that, according to Felder’s fiancee, more or less sounds like the final version. Frey and Henley supplied the lyrics and guitarist Joe Walsh added his own flavor, allowing for Felder to receive top billing in the album credits as a result of having written the lion’s share of the song.
Later, as Don reveals, the credits were ‘miraculously’ changed to reflect Henley and Frey as having written most of “Hotel California” and reducing Felder’s contribution to a rough idea that they refined and spun into rock and roll gold.
Ouch! Judging by the rest of Don’s interview with Jeff Probst, however, the rock legend seems to have made his peace with it. Here’s hoping that he and Don Henley will patch things up before it’s too late!