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The rich lyrics – both introspective and allegorical – had fans pondering their true meaning for decades to come. "I had a bathing suit on and was sitting on this couch, soaking wet, thinking the world is a wonderful place to be.I had this acoustic 12-string and started tinkling around with it, and those ' Hotel California' chords just kind of oozed out."After completing the basic melody, he fetched his TEAC 4-track tape recorder to preserve his latest composition, which he embellished with bass and drum-machine overdubs.It was a scene they were uniquely qualified to address.Their previous album, 1975's One of These Nights, had spawned three Top 10 singles, and their greatest-hits album sold in such stratospheric numbers – on its way to becoming the best-selling album of the 20th century in the United States – that the RIAA had to invent to platinum certification.
"It kept coming through the wall into their sessions." Hotel California's delicate closing ballad, "The Last Resort," had to be re-recorded multiple times to due to noise leakage.To oversee the new sessions, the Eagles turned to veteran producer Bill Szymczyk, who had worked on their previous album, One of These Nights. A recent earthquake had sent him "off the bed onto the floor," instilling in him an intense fear of living on a fault line.Szymczyk was happy to return, but he had one condition: He wanted to record at Miami's legendary Criteria Studios, far from the band's standard base of operations at L. "The day the earthquake happened was the day I became an independent producer," he later joked to Sound on Sound."I said, ' What do you mean it's not right?' And he said, ' No, no, you've got to play it just like the demo.' Only problem was, I did that demo a year earlier; I couldn't even remember what was on it." Further complicating matters was the fact that the tape in question was at the other end of the country in Los Angeles.