Hotel California solo could have been lost forever

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Don Felder says Hotel California's acclaimed guitar solo very nearly didn't happen.

The former guitarist with The Eagles recorded a demo of the song a full year before the band recorded the album – also called Hotel California – in 1977.

When he turned up for recording sessions, he began playing a different solo, only for drummer Don Henley to call a halt to proceedings and insist he play exactly the same thing he had done on the demo.

The song is often voted as having the best guitar solo of all time.

Felder tells Rock Cellar: “On the demo I changed guitars and played one lick and kind of duelled with myself between a Strat and a Les Paul. When we went into the studio to record the solo, Joe Walsh and I set up and to play the ending on the record. I started and played a lick and Don Henley went ‘stop, that’s not right.’ And I said ‘what do you mean it’s not right, we’re just gonna make these solos up.’

“He said ‘no no no, you have to play them exactly like what’s on your demo.’ So we were in Miami and the demo cassette was at my house in Malibu. I had to call my housekeeper and have her go get a cassette machine, find the demo cassette in the studio and play it to us in the studio over the phone. We recorded it onto another cassette machine in the studio. Then I had to go out, sit in the studio and re-learn what I’d already played a year before that.”

Felder is currently part of the Soundtrack Of Summer tour which also features Styx and Foreigner.