The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus Minus*
Side Two: Mint Minus Minus*
- Both sides of this vintage copy were giving us the big and bold sound we were looking for, earning outstanding Double Plus (A++) grades or close to them
- If you have any modern remastered pressing of the album, please order this one so you can hear what you have been missing all these years
- A Better Records Top 100 pick - here's a copy that's transparent and hi-rez, with all the energy and Tubey Magic that can only be found on the right pressings of the originals (particularly on side two)
- Speaking of the right pressings, the right stampers are ten or twenty times as rare as the run-of-the-mill stampers that show up on ebay every day, which should explain why this multi-million selling title rarely makes it to the site
- 5 stars: "Hotel California unveiled what seemed almost like a whole new band... The result was the Eagles' biggest-selling regular album release, and one of the most successful rock albums ever."
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*NOTE: On side 1, there is a bubble in the vinyl that plays 9 times as a light thump at the start of track 1, "Hotel California." On side 2, there is a stitch that plays 10 times at a moderate level at the start of the last track, "The Last Resort."
We are having a devil of a time finding this album in audiophile playing condition these days, which is why you practically never see them on the site anymore, and copies quieter than Mint Minus Minus are rare indeed
From first note to last, this pressing has superb, mind-blowing, Demo Disc sound. Drop the needle on any track on either side to hear what we're talking about. The highs are silky and delicate, the bottom end is tight and punchy, and the vocals sound amazing. The bass is perfection, which really brings out the feel of the song "Hotel California." It's so deep and loping, the effect is practically narcotic.
"Life In The Fast Lane" is possibly the toughest song on the album to get right -- it tends to have that transistory, compressed sound that we've come to expect from Bill Szymczyk. On this copy, it really rocks -- super-punchy with amazing presence and lots of meaty texture to the guitars. It will always sound a bit harsher than ideal on any copy with real presence, texture, and energy; that's just the sound they were going for. It is what it is, which makes it not a good track to judge the first side by.
On side two, one of the better sounding tracks is "Try And Love Again." On a superb copy like this one, it's off the charts. The wonderful clarity and punchy bass here take this song to a whole new level.
What The Best Sides Of Hotel California Have To Offer Is Not Hard To Hear
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1976
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
The Best Eagles Sound Ever?
Listen closely to "Victim of Love" -- it's the sound of this five-piece tearing it up live in the studio. It's also the track where the DCC just falls apart for us. Where did the rock and roll energy go? The DCC makes it sound like the band just doesn't care, which was certainly not our experience when playing any of the killer Hot Stampers we came across. Just the reverse was true; we had them turned up full blast and they rocked our world.
In fact, I would go so far as to say that "Victim of Love" is the best sounding track on the whole album. It's punchy, real and musical in a way that nothing else on the album is because it's being played by a real band, live. The energy and coherency of the sound are like nothing else you will hear on Hotel California, and possibly on any other Eagles record.
"Victim of Love" is a classic case of yet another in the long list of recordings that really comes alive when you turn up your volume.
Such A Lovely Place
Hotel Cali is yet another example of an album that we couldn't fully appreciate until we'd discovered a truly great copy. You may have heard these songs a million times, or what seems like a million times, but you've sure never heard them sound like this. We played copy after copy for our most recent shootout and never grew tired of the music. In fact, we like it better than ever. If you take home one of our Hot Stamper copies, we're pretty sure you'll feel exactly the same way. This album is a classic in the world of Classic Rock. When you can hear it right that fact becomes all the more believable. Until then maybe not so much.
What We're Listening For On Hotel California
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, lost in the mix. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
- Tight punchy bass -- which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
The Search For Hotel California
Even though we're huge Eagles fans at Better Records, we had never tried to do a shootout for this album until about 2008, and that's because the typical copy doesn't even hint at the magic found on the better pressings. After countless gritty, grainy, compressed, lifeless, veiled copies we had almost given up -- until we played one that summer and heard some seriously good sound coming out of our speakers.
We checked the dead wax, and with new stamper information to go by, we hit the local stores. Let me tell you, finding any clean copy of this album is not easy. Of the scores of copies, we've picked up, about one in three or four turns out to be quiet enough to sell. Asylum vinyl leaves much to be desired, and the average copy of this album has been played to death, on pretty bad equipment no less.
Mint Minus Minus and maybe a bit better is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
A Must Own Rock Record
We consider this Eagles album a masterpiece. It's a recording that should be part of any serious Rock Collection.
Others that belong in that category can be found here.
- Hotel California
- New Kid in Town
- Life in the Fast Lane
- Wasted Time
- Wasted Time (Reprise)
- Victim of Love
- Pretty Maids All in a Row
- Try and Love Again
- The Last Resort
AMG 5 Star Rave Review
The Eagles took 18 months between their fourth and fifth albums, reportedly spending eight months in the studio recording Hotel California. The album was also their first to be made without Bernie Leadon, who had given the band much of its country flavor, and with rock guitarist Joe Walsh. As a result, the album marks a major leap for the Eagles from their earlier work, as well as a stylistic shift toward mainstream rock.
An even more important aspect, however, is the emergence of Don Henley as the band's dominant voice, both as a singer and a lyricist. On the six songs to which he contributes, Henley sketches a thematic statement that begins by using California as a metaphor for a dark, surreal world of dissipation; comments on the ephemeral nature of success and the attraction of excess; branches out into romantic disappointment; and finally sketches a broad, pessimistic history of America that borders on nihilism. Of course, the lyrics kick in some time after one has appreciated the album's music, which marks a peak in the Eagles' playing.
Early on, the group couldn't rock convincingly, but the rhythm section of Henley and Meisner has finally solidified, and the electric guitar work of Don Felder and Joe Walsh has arena-rock heft. In the early part of their career, the Eagles never seemed to get a sound big enough for their ambitions; after changes in producer and personnel, as well as a noticeable growth in creativity, Hotel California unveiled what seemed almost like a whole new band. It was a band that could be bombastic, but also one that made music worthy of the later tag of "classic rock," music appropriate for the arenas and stadiums the band was playing. The result was the Eagles' biggest-selling regular album release, and one of the most successful rock albums ever.