Variations on "Hotel California"

Categories: Playbill
Yes, it's probably one of the most overplayed songs in both the Arrow's and K-Hits' libraries, but the Eagles' "Hotel California" deserves to be. Written by Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Don Felder (who was fired from the Eagles in 2001), the title song to the band's 1976 album captures the creeping dread, substance-driven burnout and growing malaise that characterized so much of America (and especially California) in its bicentennial year like none other. More than three decades later, the song - 1977 Grammy winner for Record of the Year - has lost none of its forlorn potency or haunting beauty; it's said to be part of the repertoire of this fall's Guitar Hero: World Tour. Not surprisingly, it's been covered many, many times.

First we'll hear from Nigerian-born reggae mon Majek Fashek, who recorded it for 1998 Tuff Gong compilation Tuff Tracks:

Here's Scottish trio Alabama 3's, best known for Sopranos theme song "Woke Up This Morning," techno-country take from 2000's La Peste:

Who else has checked in any time they liked? Read on...

The song's heavy flamenco guitar makes it a natural for Spanish superstars the Gipsy Kings, whose version appears in The Big Lebowski:

Frightful American Idol reject William Hung recorded "Hotel California" on his 2004 album Inspiration. Yes, it's every bit as bad as you imagine:

Lounge-pop pranksters The Moog Cookbook did it ska-style - with popcorn! - on 1997's Ye Olde Space Band: Plays Classic Rock Hits. Not sure how Del Shannon got in there, but what the hell:

It's hard to think of a less appropriate song for children, but of course it made it onto the Eagles edition of popular toddler-pop series Rockabye Baby!:

Even Tupac succumbed to the warm smell of colitas:

One more. Stevie Nicks, who lived the song more than most, performed it with special guest Don Henley on her 2006 tour:

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any video of "Night and Day" R&B crooner Al B. Sure!'s version, from his 1990 LP Private Times... and the Whole 9!. Now that's one I'd really like to hear. - Chris Gray

The Eagles perform 7 p.m. tonight and Thursday at Toyota Center, 1510 Polk, 713-758-7200. Tickets $175, $85 and $45.


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