Вахтанг Дигомский / YouTube
As a musician, it can be really difficult to gauge the success of your work in terms of the impact it’s had on the world. If you’re lucky, it’s not long after you share your craft with the world that you receive some kind of confirmation that what you created matters; in the case of former Eagle Don Felder, “Hotel California” was a livewire from the moment it fell into his lap – but it wouldn’t be until 2013 that he realized the tremendous impact it had on the world.
The realization hit him like a Mack truck when in 2013 Felder was tapped to perform at the United Nations in New York City in front of an audience of over 600 strong from different countries around the world. Many of them didn’t speak English and relied on translator earphones, leaving Felder a little nervous as to whether or not they would understand “Hotel California” but to his surprise, they didn’t just understand the song – they knew it by heart and before long, everyone was singing along.
“I’m playing for this audience, and I hope they could understand the lyrics and the song,” revealed Felder in an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock.
“So when I get to “Hotel California,” everybody in the crowd is singing along, they knew every lyric to this song: ‘Wow, guys in parts of the world who don’t even speak English know this song.’ It was an awakening for me about the global impact that the song has had over the years. Forty years later, it’s still going along.”
Felder may be surprised, but we’re not! With over 5 million digital downloads, a Grammy Award, and a guitar coda that was voted the greatest guitar solo of all time, it only makes sense that “Hotel California” and its legacy spanned far beyond our own backyard. Taking it one step further, like other great rock classics of its time – “Stairway to Heaven,” “She Loves You” – “Hotel California” proves that rock and roll music is still the great unifier it’s always been.