On this day in music history: December 8, 1976 - “Hotel California”, the fifth album by the Eagles is released. Produced by Bill Szymczyk, it is recorded at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL and The Record Plant in Los Angeles, CA from March - October 1976. Having scored their greatest success to date with the album “One Of These Nights”, the Eagles are more than aware that the pressure is now on to come up with a strong follow up. Recording begins in Los Angeles in March of 1976, before the sessions move to Miami, with the band traveling back and forth between the two cities during the months spent writing and recording. “Hotel California” is a concept album reflecting on themes of the hedonistic 70’s lifestyle, using “California” as a metaphor for the entire country. The title track begins as an instrumental demo written by guitarist Don Felder, who then shows it to Don Henley and Glenn Frey. Intrigued by the unique musical hybrid, sounding like a cross between Spanish flamenco music and reggae, Henley and Frey write the lyrics and melody to Felder’s music. With the song designated the album’s centerpiece, the other songs fall into place around it. In pursuit of perfection, the tension between the band members intensifies, particularly between Don Felder, Don Henley and Glenn Frey, when Felder begins to press them to sing lead on “at least two cuts” of the new album. Specifically, Felder initially insists on being allowed to sing lead on the song “Victim Of Love”, which he has written the music for. After several attempts at recording a suitable lead vocal, the others decide that it is better for Henley to sing it instead, causing bad feelings between Felder and the others. In spite of this, the sessions continue forward until the album is completed in the Fall of 1976. It is the band’s most successful album spinning off three hit singles including “New Kid In Town” (#1 Pop), “Life In The Fast Lane” (#11 Pop) and the title track (#1 Pop). Original vinyl LP copies come packaged in a gatefold jacket with a poster taken by photographer Norman Seeff. The original vinyl pressings also come with custom picture labels of the album’s title logo featured on the front cover. The phrase “Is It 6 O'Clock Yet?” is etched into the runout groove of side one, and “V.O.L. Is Five-Piece Live” etched into the runout of side two. Remastered and reissued on CD in 1999, it is also issued as a DVD-A disc, featuring a new 5.1 surround mix remixed by Elliot Scheiner. It is also reissued as a 180 gram vinyl LP in 2009, replicating the original packaging including the inner sleeve and poster. “Hotel California” spends eight weeks (non-consecutive) at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 16x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, earning a Diamond Certification, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2008.