Woman came about because, one sunny afternoon in Bermuda, it suddenly hit me. I saw what women do for us. Not just what my Yoko does for me, although I was thinking in those personal terms. Any truth is universal. If we’d made our album in the third person and called it Freda and Ada or Tommy and had dressed up in clown suits with lipstick and created characters other than us, maybe a Ziggy Stardust, would it be more acceptable? It’s not our style of art; our life is our art… Anyway, in Bermuda, what suddenly dawned on me was everything I was taking for granted. Women really are the other half of the sky, as I whisper at the beginning of the song. And it just sort of hit me like a flood, and it came out like that. The song reminds me of a Beatles track, but I wasn’t trying to make it sound like that. I did it as I did Girl many years ago. So this is the grown-up version of Girl.
-John Lennon, 1980
1977 Hotel California Was Number One
The Eagles — ‘Hotel California’ was the first album to feature guitarist Joe Walsh, whose playing and songwriting influence brought the band from its more country-leaning efforts towards a more mainstream rock audience.
Designer of some of the most well-known album cover images in history, John Kosh has always appreciated a challenge. When the Eagles’ manager and record label called him looking for an image to convey the new Eagles work he jumped at it.
“I had been designing album covers and promotional material in London for The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Beatles – Abbey Road as well as John Lennon and his – War Is Over campaign.”
The Eagles during ‘Hotel California’ introduced guitarist Joe Walsh to the fold. Walsh brought a heavier rock sound to an album, which won a Grammy in 1977 for Record of the Year. The Eagles were huge, enjoying hit after hit, and the California rock scene was burgeoning. I got to hear an early rendition of their song Hotel California destined to be the first cut on, and the title of, their next album. It was an obvious hit.
“For the album cover, Don wanted me to find and portray the Hotel California — a hotel which would best exemplify a classic California hotel, and to portray it with a slightly sinister edge. Photographer David Alexander and I set out to scout suitable locations. We photographed three hotels (including some with a rather ‘seedily genteel’ character) that fit the brief, and large prints were made for approval. By now I was dealing mostly with Henley — the rest of the band would saunter in as we progressed and mutter their approvals — and he preferred more sumptuous images. The shot of The Beverly Hills Hotel against the golden sunset was deemed the favorite.To get the perfect picture, David and I had perched nervously atop a 60-foot cherry picker dangling over Sunset Boulevard in the rush hour, shooting blindly into the sun. Both of us brought our Nikons up in the basket, and we took turns shooting, ducking and reloading. We used high-speed Ektachrome film as the light began to fade. This film gave us the remarkable graininess of the final shot.”
“Beautiful dye-transfer prints of the chosen frame were made by the great Ted Staidel. I designed and drew out the master Hotel California logo, which was to become the theme of the package and the promotional materials. The script was almost impossible to bend in real neon, and, so, after many experiments, Bob Hickson was commissioned to airbrush the neon effect on the logo — which he did wonderfully — and it was pasted over the Beverly Hills Hotel sign on Ted’s print. The whole piece was then re-photographed, re-printed on the same stock as the original image and retouched to match the grain and hide the surgery.”
“Next we organized the gatefold spread — a photo of the band surrounded by friends in the hotel lobby. This was shot inside a cleverly re-decorated flophouse, called The Lido, in Hollywood by David Alexander. Nobody knows what the sinister figure lurking in the balcony window is doing, or who he is. I assume he must have been a benign spirit as ‘Hotel California’ went platinum immediately.”
“It is interesting to note that I got tangled in the same heated debate with Asylum Records over the using of the band’s name on the cover that I had years earlier with EMI in London. I thought it unnecessary to use the words, The Beatles on ‘Abbey Road,’ considering the album was so eagerly anticipated and they were the biggest band in the world at the time. Such was the case with ‘Hotel California.’ By 1976 the Eagles were the biggest band in the world and eventually only the title, ‘Hotel California’ appeared on the original cover of the album. Subsequently, as the sales of ‘Hotel California’ went through the roof, lawyers for The Beverly Hills Hotel threatened me with a ‘cease and desist’ action — until it was gently pointed out by my attorney that the hotel’s requests for bookings had tripled since the release of the album.”
What an amazing album with a gorgeous cover. There is music history in the making.
John was a romantic at heart and the chemistry between he and Yoko was sparked from above. She was his muse, his heart, his soul and from that love was born so many beautiful songs. Perhaps his way of sharing love with the world.
When I met Yoko and fell in love… I was just experiencing that thing knowing that ‘My God!’ this is different from anything before this is something other you know, this is well, I don’t know what it is, but this is fine. This is ‘Thank you, thank you, you know.’ It’s more than a hit record. It’s more than gold,. It’s more than everything it’s more than. This is something indescribable!’ – John Lennon, 1980
1976, Paul and Linda McCartney spent the evening with John Lennon at his New York Dakota apartment and watched Saturday Night Live on TV. Producer of the show Lorne Michaels made an offer on air asking The Beatles to turn up and play three songs live. Lennon and McCartney thought about taking a cab to the studio, but decided they were too tired. This was the last time Lennon and McCartney were together.