Hotel California – how The Eagles defined innovation

Hotel California was a watershed album, not just because it was immensely popular or because the title track was controversial. Here we look at how this album was one of the most innovative ever released by a mainstream band.

I recall a few years back, an online friend whose opinion I usually respect and who has a fondness for nostalgia, referred to Hotel California as the least innovative album ever (I think he used stronger words).  This totally shocked me at the time.

Just recently the Eagles came to town with their latest show, and of course all the radio stations played Eagles music for several days and there were reviews of the concert on the airwaves for a couple days after (and in the newspapers, too). The reports were that Joe Walsh stole the show, and you’ll find out in a moment why that’s relevant to this blog post. I missed the show due to prior commitments, but…

You might still be able to catch the Eagles
as they visit your town:

After hearing so many of their songs played over the past few weeks, I thought it was high time I published a rebuttal to my respected (but incorrect) friend.  In fact, of all the albums I know recorded by mainstream bands, Hotel California is the most innovative, and here is why:

Very rarely does a mainstream, popular band have the guts to change its colors midstream.  But the Eagles did just that.  Take a look at their 1976 Greatest Hits album, which is essentially all their popular stuff before Hotel California, and you’ll see that it’s all country music: “Lyin’ Eyes”, “Best of My Love”, “Take it Easy”, “Desperado”, “Tequila Sunrise”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling”, etc.  Only “Witchy Woman” could be considered to be more rocky.

But along comes Hotel California, a rock album.  Featuring a new band member, Joe Walsh (“I live in hotels, tear up the walls.  I have accountants pay for it all.”) with his electric rock guitar.  One could compare Joe Walsh more with George Thoroughgood or Ted Nugent than with Willy Nelson or Alan Jackson.

So that alone makes Hotel California an incredibly innovative album.  Now let’s look at what’s on the album. Of the eight songs, five are neither sappy love songs nor heartbreak songs, unlike 90 percent of popular songs.


The title track was one of the most talked-about hits of all time.  It is a ghost story of sorts, where the weary traveler checks into an alluring hotel only to find that he cannot leave.  The song is an allegory of hedonism, of modern materialism – and anything but conventional.

But what really makes “Hotel California” stand out as a unique song is the music.  Not only does it follow the most unconventional structure of:

  • instrumental verse
  • verse
  • refrain
  • verse
  • refrain
  • verse
  • instrumental verse

…but the first instrumental verse is acoustic, representing the bands country roots, and the final instrumental verse is electric, representing where the band is heading.  So the transition from acoustic to electric guitars in the song “Hotel California” is a metaphor for the change from country to rock that the album Hotel California brings to the band.  Brilliant!

The other really interesting song on the album is “The Last Resort”, which is the one I could talk about all day.  Epic in both music and lyrics, it tells the story of how the west was “won”…and how it was lost – how we destroy the very things we call paradise.  The song turns that also into an allegory for the hereafter, how we long for Heaven while destroying our chances of getting there.  The song explores our destructive nature and our hypocritical nature, and is a thinly veiled environmental theme song. Here is what Glen Frey had to say about the song.

“I have to give all the credit for “The Last Resort” to (Don) Henley. It was the first time that Don, on his own, took it upon himself to write an epic story. We were very much at that time, concerned about the environment and doing anti-nuclear benefit (concerts). It seemed the perfect way to wrap up all of the different topics we had explored on the Hotel California album. Don found himself as a lyricist with that song, kind of outdid himself…We’re constantly screwing up paradise and that was the point of the song and that at some point there is going to be no more new frontiers. I mean we’re putting junk, er, garbage into space now. There’s enough crap floating around the planet that we can’t even use so it just seems to be our way. It’s unfortunate but that is sort of what happens”.

The Eagles in Ottawa“Life in the Fast Lane” is a hard-rock, Joe Walsh style song that caries on the theme of the pitfalls of materialism and hedonism.  That three songs on the album explore meaningful life issues, not just affairs of the heart, speaks volumes about the relevance and innovation of the album.

The other single, besides “Hotel California” and “Life in the Fast Lane”, was “New Kid in Town”, a dreamy tune that explores the passing fashions and whims of people in this materialistic world.  Popularity comes and popularity goes:

“You’re walking away and they’re talking behind you.

They will never forget you ’til somebody new comes along.”

And so the theme continues.

But feel free to see for yourself.  There is no music like live music, and the Eagles were not shy to improvise at their recent show.  In “Life’s been Good”, Joe Walsh sings “They send me emails”…and of course emails did not exist when he first wrote the song.







Chantalyne sings at the Preston Street Farmer’s Market [video]

Chantalyne “practiced” a few songs at the new Preston Farmer’s Market.  She was one of five students of vocal coach Annabelle Séguin to perform on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

Chantalyne sang seven songs:

  • Time to say goodbye (which had previously earned her the title of Vars Idol)
  • Holding out for a hero (duet)
  • Blown away (below)
  • The cup song (the five girls together)
  • Don’t cry out loud (below)
  • Jar of hearts (duet)
  • Hallelujah

There was no rehearsal for this show; it was just a practice in public, and a chance for some of the girls to jam together, too.  Thanks to Annabelle for setting this up and to the Preston Farmer’s Market for hosting us.

Here are two of the songs Chantalyne sang..

Lyrics for Blown Away, by Carrie Underwood

Dry lightning cracks across the skies
Those storm clouds gather in her eyes
Her daddy was a mean old mister
Mama was an angel in the ground
The weather man called for a twister
She prayed blow it down

There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma
To wash the sins out of that house
There’s not enough wind in Oklahoma
To rip the nails out of the past

Shatter every window ’til it’s all blown away,
Every brick, every board, every slamming door blown away
‘Til there’s nothing left standing, nothing left of yesterday
Every tear-soaked whiskey memory blown away,
Blown away

She heard those sirens screaming out
Her daddy laid there passed out on the couch
She locked herself in the cellar
Listened to the screaming of the wind
Some people call it taking shelter
She called it sweet revenge

Shatter every window ’til it’s all blown away,
Every brick, every board, every slamming door blown away
‘Til there’s nothing left standing, nothing left of yesterday
Every tear-soaked whiskey memory blown away,
Blown away

There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma
To wash the sins out of that house
There’s not enough wind in Oklahoma
To rip the nails out of the past

Shatter every window ’til it’s all blown away (blown away)
Every brick, every board, every slamming door blown away (blown away)
‘Til there’s nothing left standing, nothing left of yesterday (blown away)
Every tear-soaked whiskey memory blown away,

Blown away, blown away, blown away, blown away, blown away

Chantalyne singing at the Preston Street Farmer's Market
Lyrics for Don’t Cry Out Loud, by Melissa Manchester

Baby cried the day the circus came to town
’cause she didn’t want parades just passin’ by her
So she painted on a smile and took up with some clown
While she danced without a net upon the wire
I know a lot about ‘er ’cause, you see
Baby is an awful lot like me

Don’t cry out loud
Just keep it inside, learn how to hide your feelings
Fly high and proud
And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all

Baby saw that when they pulled that big top down
They left behind her dreams among the litter
The different kind of love she thought she’d found
There was nothin’ left but sawdust and some glitter
But baby can’t be broken ’cause you see
She had the finest teacher-that was me-I told ‘er

Don’t cry out loud
Just keep it inside and learn how to hide your feelings
Fly high and proud
And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all

Don’t cry out loud
Just keep it inside and learn how to hide your feelings
Fly high and proud
And if you should fall, remember you almost made it

Don’t cry out loud
Just keep it inside and learn how to hide your feelings
Fly high and proud
And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all

Lifestyle Carnival – Happy Relaunch Edition

Welcome to the 50th edition of the Lifestyle Carnival.  This is the Happy Relaunch Edition, because it coincides with the relaunch of this blog.  We have moved it from the sub-domain to the main domain for extra exposure.  In the weeks ahead, the entire look of the blog will be upgraded, too.

Happy Blog Posts


Melody @ Vacilando writes fun – Although we have created this fun and weird existence, living abroad and traveling on our 35′ sailboat, sometimes, believe it or not, we have to remind ourselves to have FUN.

Greg @ Club Thrifty writes Planning Ahead: The Advantages of Life Planning – OK, so we may take planning ahead to a whole new section of Crazy Town. Still, planning ahead can benefit your life in many ways. Find out how inside!

Steve @ Grocery Alerts writes Guide to Cross Border Shopping for Canadians – Many Canadians cross border shop in the United States. This guide shares tips on how much you can bring back, what you can bring and useful websites.

Jason Hull @ Hull Financial Planning writes Do FBAR and FATCA Affect You if You Plan on Becoming an Expatriate? – If you plan on becoming a backpacking vagabond living in the steppes of Tajikistan, you’ll still need money to live on. Will the long arm of the IRS touch you? Here’s how to stay in their good graces if you want to be an expat.


Robert @ Kids Ain’t Cheap writes Choosing Daycare: Finding the Perfect Fit – Choosing a childcare provider is one of the hardest and most thought through decisions parents make. No one would argue that the ideal candidate for proving childcare are the parents, but in today’s world, it is more common that both parents return to work after their child is born.

Stephan Ledain @ writes The Nice People – A parable of self-discovery on the topic of faith.

Miss T. @ Prairie Eco Thrifter writes Spring Cleaning Tasks to Get a Head Start On – I actually enjoy the thought of spring cleaning. There is something about the thought of being organized and starting a season off on the right (clean) foot that is satisfying. However, I find that when I start spring cleaning, I am usually surprised by how much work it is.


Jules Wilson @ Fat Guy,Skinny Wallet writes My New Sony NWZ-W262 Walkman From Klout! – The Sony NWZ-W262 Walkman wireless MP3 player recently came into my possession, and so far I love it! You can read my first impressions & see a video of the unboxing

Tushar @ Finance TUBE writes Are smart TV’s worth it? – Consumer technology evolves at such a rapid rate these days that your tech is probably out-dated by the time you’ve managed to save up for it. Advertising sometimes manages to convince you to save up for gear neither need nor want.


CAPI @ Creating a Passive Income writes Fact or Fiction: 5 Passive Income Myths – Looking into starting a passive income? Before you try, it’s important to know the facts and falsehoods. Here are 5 passive income myths and tips.

Michael @ Financial Ramblings writes Dirty Money and Spending Behavior – Looking for new ways to save money? Consider asking for new bills the next time you withdraw money at the bank. While it’s well-accepted that currency denomination influences spending, there’s now evidence that the appearance of your money may be even more important.

Dividend Growth Investor @ Dividend Growth Investor writes Five Things to Look For in a Real Estate Investment Trust – There are five factors I analyze at a REIT, before putting my money to work in the sector. I used three REIT’s I own in this exercise in order to illustrate my strategy in action.

Bryan @ writes Best Paying Jobs For Women – Gender inequality is still an issue in America, but there are still certain careers that minimize the compensation gap and offer men and women relatively the same advancement. Healthcare continues to dominate the list of best paying industries for women, but what other jobs offer the highest pay?

MMD @ My Money Design writes Reader Debate – Would You Borrow Money to Invest in Stocks? – If real estate investors use other people’s cash to finance their investments, would it be wise for stock investors to borrow money to invest in stocks?

Arnel Ariate @ Money Soldiers writes 3 of the Best Budgeting Tips for Contractors – These are things that you need to do in order to stretch your cash in any job. Budgeting is an essential part of any financial plan and preparing a budget is essential to your contracting business.

Marvin @ Brick By Brick Investing writes Ridiculous Young Entitled Generation – My personal rant about a highschool senior who fills entitled to an Ivy League education.

Peter @ Bible Money Matters writes Work-Life Balance: More Time and Less Money – I started making more time for my son, but that pushed some work later into the night. It isn’t bad on some days. But between my full-time job and my side hustle, I can certainly see my side income slipping. Finally, I just decided that there were certain things I wanted to do, and that I wasn’t going to let the idea of making money overtake my family life.

Lynn @ Wallet Blog writes Home Warranties: Worth the Price? – A home warranty/home protection plan is a service contract that protects many of the appliances or systems (heating, plumbing, air conditioning) in your house in case they fail. They can serve as a security blanket of sorts to homeowners, particularly if you’re purchasing a home that is older or hasn’t had much in the way of upkeep over the past number of years.

Nick @ A Young Pro writes Recent Graduate Budget Infographic – I discuss the merits of an infographic aimed at helping recent graduates learn the basics of money management.

John S @ Frugal Rules writes Taking the Plunge: What the Hell Have I Done? – You learn a lot about yourself when pressed up against a wall. I found myself in this situation last summer after starting our business. By persevering through it I was able to grow and seeing the value of not giving up on oneself

Marie at FamilyMoneyValues @ Family Money Values writes WOMEN NEED MORE ECONOMIC POWER – Lack of economic power has forced women into lives of sexual slavery. Lack of economic power has caused women to stay in abusive relationships.Lack of economic power has caused women to lack access to educational opportunities.

Justin @ The Frugal Path writes Find Your Financial path – Sometimes the hardest step is the very first one that you must take. This can be especially true with personal finances.

Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank @ Monster Piggy Bank writes Time is Money – What are you Sacrificing for Money? – What are you sacrificing for money? Is it Time? Or perhaps physical or mental health? It is a question that I think many people don’t bother to ask themselves, as they don’t feel that they are sacrificing anything.

Jacob @ Cash Cow Couple writes Why You Probably Can’t Afford a Dog – Unless you’ve stashed a mound of cash in the doggy fund, you should probably take a good hard look at the total cost of owning a new dog.

Mr.CBB @ Canadian Budget Binder writes Life, Money and Retirement-Skype Doesn’t Reach Heaven – Sometimes we need to ask ourselves why we work so hard for all the money we make and whether we are spending our time wisely. Pouring your life into one basket risks leaving behind potential memories that you might not be able to go back and get. Take time to evaluate your life, your priorities and your future.

Edward Antrobus @ Edward Antrobus writes Could You Live on Minimum Wage? – 4.4 million Americans live on minimum wage. SPENT is a game designed to show the tough choices made everyday by the working poor.


Lazy Man @ Lazy Man and Money writes Thank You. I See You. – To the amazement of my fellow bloggers, I try to respond to every comment I get. It makes me sad when I see someone leave a comment saying, that they’ve been reading for years, but never left a comment. We can’t share a moment, if I can’t see you. If you have a question for me reach out and contact me… let’s connect.

Carolyn Henderson @ This Woman Writes writes Bruce Willis Knitting – Anyone who thinks that knitting is a sedentary, boring hobby doesn’t go about it the way I do.

CheapSKate @ ConsumerFu writes 25 Ways to Upcycle – At ConsumerFu we love turning trash into treasure. Don’ t miss this compilation of some of our favorite finds on Twitter.

Little House @ Little House in the Valley writes Making the Most of Your Small Garden Spaces – The good news is that with a few simple updates, you can create a beautiful garden, in spaces both big and small. Here’s a look at how.


eemusings @ NZ Muse writes Boyfriend in the kitchen: Beef and mushroom noodles

Tamar @ writes No Mayo And Deviled Eggs – Like all our other favorite recipes, it is important to be able to substitute unhealthy ingredients with healthier ones. With summer around the corner, many of us are trying to shape up and trim down for bikini season. Here is a Deviled Eggs recipe that replaces mayo with healthier alternatives.

Alexis @ FITnancials writes Stuffed Bell Peppers Recipe – Hello everyone! I am here to share with you one of my new favorite recipes. My boyfriend and I were recently talking about how we don’t really eat too healthy when we are together, so we decided to start making healthy dishes at home instead of eating out. Our first dish together was Stuffed Bell Peppers. This recipe was so delicious!

We hope you enjoyed this edition of the Lifestyle Carnival.  If you have a blog post to share you can submit it to the next edition using this handy carnival submission form.

Time to say goodbye

For Wordless Wednesday, let me share with you a video of Chantalyne singing “Time to say goodbye” last weekend.  This performance earned her the title of Vars Idol 2013 (a father’s right to brag a little).


(Somehow the embed seems to have stopped working. The video on YouTube is at

End of the world – (Wordless Wednesday)

December 21 is the end of the world, so say many. And what an excellent day to end it all on. In order to celebrate this achievement of reaching our final goal…

Happy Little Clouds.

Who remembers Bob Ross? Me too.

Who remembers Bob Ross singing? Yeah, I didn’t think so. But here he is singing those happy little clouds he paints. It is just such an uplifting video that I had to share it with you.

This Blog Post Is Fun!

Don’t you love that title? Sure you do. And do you know why? Because it’s fun. And no matter how dour a person might be, everybody loves fun.

You might be involved in a local community group, such as a neighborhood association, a charity group or a service club. If you are, you might also be familiar with the challenge of fundraising. But what about “fun”raising? Would your group not benefit from a little more fun?

Your bowling team might already have fun, but your service club might be missing that element.

Fun builds a community and lets people relate to each other beyond just the parameters of the group’s stated goals. Yes, even the most serious of causes can benefit from a little fun.

Why not hold a fun-raising night some time soon?

READ ALSO: Make a Silly Face

Proud to Be a Grinch [humour alert]

It was my first meeting of “GA”. This is not AA (Alchoholics Anonymous). It is not even AAA (American Automobile Association). It is GA…Grinches Anonymous. This is roughly how the meeting went.

“Please stand up and introduce yourself,” I was urged by the wall-of-brick bouncer blocking the doorway.

“Uh, OK…” I paused to remember how I had seen them say this on TV at AA meetings. “My name is The Happy Guy, and I am a Grinch.”

The room fell silent. People looked at one another uncertain how to react. Finally, a little old lady spoke up, “Isn’t that somewhat of a conflict of interest, sonny?”

It’s true. The Grinch is not generally seen as the most jovial of fellows. And I am called The Happy Guy. Even my website says that: But I had to face the unhappy truth. I am a Grinch.

Oh sure, I don’t have lots of cute furry, green skin like famous Grinches can afford. And I can’t seem to twist my face into that famous diabolical grin, no matter how hard I try. Not even when I use a plunger, a blow torch and a porcupine – but that’s another story.

“Tell us, please, what makes you a Grinch,” the moderator suggested.

“I just seem to spoil everybody’s Christmas. They ask me what I want for Christmas…and…and…and I draw a blank. I can’t think of anything.”

The room fell silent. Again. People looked at one another uncertain how to react. Again. Finally, Little Old Lady spoke up (again), “You mean I can have your Christmas presents, sonny?”

I know it is probably hard to believe, but when somebody asks me what I want for Christmas, I just can’t think of anything. It’s like asking me to list the international hopscotch tournaments won by the American Samoa team.

At the moment I am being asked, I just don’t want anything. I always seem to have enough. In fact, I always seem to have more than I need. I have over a hundred music CDs, but when was the last time I played most of them. I’ve given away more books than I’ve read, and I’ve read more than I have.

We have a special machine just to make waffles. And one just to make popcorn. Both of them make prize-winning dust bunnies. And we have a machine just to make bread, which we at least use to make pizza dough. We have glasses and bowls that I would never recognize and some clothes in which I would not want to be recognized.

“Why does that make you a Grinch?” the moderator asked.

“I make it difficult for them to give. What I really want is less, not more. What I really need is for somebody to come and take things away.”

The room fell silent. Again. People looked at one another uncertain how to react. Again. Finally, Little Old Lady passed me a notepad, “Mind jotting down your address for me, sonny?”

What would a Grinch want for Christmas?

My wife suggested socks. Got’m.

Shirts? Got’m.

Nail clippers? Got’m.

Pyjamas? Got’m.

Pens? Got’m.

Bookmarks? Gloves? Paper? Flashlights?

Got’m. Got’m. Got’m. Got’m.

Batteries? There’s an idea. Put me down for batteries. You never know when I might get hungry.

Cologne? Here are the bottles from the last two years. One of them is open. No, wait…that’s just a scratch on the lid.

Isn’t there anything I want?

“Why not ask if they have any ideas you could consider?” the moderator suggested.

“You mean, like hiring them as a consultant on how to give things to me?” I asked.

The room fell silent. Again. People looked at one another uncertain how to react. Again. Finally, Little Old Lady spoke, “Just refer them to me. I want lots of things.”

VIEW THIS VIDEO: I’ve got enough

Why would anybody want more stuff to clean, more stuff to break, more stuff to fix, more stuff to store, more stuff to keep track of, more stuff to trip over? I don’t even know where to put last week’s dirty dishes.

If people keep buying gifts when you already are storing more things than you could ever use, sooner or later your house is bound to explode, the way a balloon bursts when you over-fill it. I wondered if my insurance covered that.

“Couldn’t you humor them? Just a little bit?” the moderator asked.

“Actually, I know one thing I want…a chalet in Switzerland and a map of the best hiking trails in the vicinity.”

The room fell silent. Again. People looked at one another uncertain how to react. Again. Finally, Little Old Lady jumped up and declared, “My bags are packed. When do we leave, sonny?”

I don’t think I’ll ask for a GA membership renewal in my stocking this year. But that is probably what I’ll get.

I Am A Good Luck Charm

I’ll bet you think this is a motivational post where I tell you that each of us is a good luck charm if we just have the right attitude.

Well, it’s not.  This is about how I, David Leonhardt, am a good luck charm, and how a recent experiment involving the entire population of Canada scientifically proves it.

The experiment was called the “Federal Election”.  Of the five parties in contention, three are in rapture this morning and two have been decimated due to one simple trait that the three winning’ party leaders share and the two losing party leaders do not.

Did they all brush their teeth yesterday morning?  No, that’s not it.

Do they all have tattoos on their left ear lobes.  That’s not it either.

Are they all three Capricorns.  Nope.

I know all three.  Personally.  Sort of.

Steven Harper.

Congratulations to Steven Harper, he is now a full Prime Minister.  The people of Canada have elevated him to majority status…and all because he and I used to work on either side of the same wall.  Yes, I could tap messages in Morse Code on the wall to communicate with him.  I could…but I didn’t.  We did chat in the hallway.  We did do lunch sometimes.  We did meet later on when he was the Reform Party and I was a CAA lobbyist.

And seeing this, the people of Canada have given him a majority in the House of Commons.  (No, he was never a “warm” person, but he was always friendly, intelligent and idealistic.)

Jack Layton

Congratulations to Jack Layton, the new Leader of the Opposition.  The previous record for NDP seats was 43; the people of Canada chose to give the NDP a stunning boost to over 100 seats yesterday.  Not only that, but the party had never held a seat in Quebec until four years ago; today they command 59 seats of the province’s 75 seats.  Wow!

How did Jack Layton accomplish this historic feat?  By knowing me, of course.  Oh, he might not remember me, but I was the guy he nearly ran down with his bicycle when I made a false start at crossing the street without looking carefully and kept his nose stuck up in the air with that this-is-my-space-you-doofus-who-doesn’t-look-where-he-is-going look.  Yeah, not quite the guy you see on TV. You don’t have to be nice to me for the good luck charm to work, you just have to know me.

Elizabeth May

Congratulations to Elizabeth May, the Green Party’s first ever Member of Parliament.  How did the Green Party manage this historic breakthrough? You guess it – by knowing me.  Back when I was a CAA lobbyist and she was the head of the Sierra Club of Canada, we found ourselves working briefly together to have MMT removed from gasoline in Canada (That’s methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl for all you tongue twister fans).  She was not very familiar with the chemical, and I was able to explain her a few things.

If Elizabeth May appears energetic, rough-cut, friendly and authentic on TV, that’s because she is exactly as she appears in real life.  (Imagine that – a politician who actually is whom she appears to be!)

Michael Ignatieff

My condolences to Iggy.  Michael Ignatieff led his Liberal Party (formerly referred to as Canada’s “natural governing party” by many) to a historic and stunning defeat, just 35 seats – its worst showing ever.  Why?  Because Iggy didn’t take the time to know me.

Gilles Duceppe

And my condolences to Gilles Duceppe, who’s separatist Bloc Quebecois cleaned up in Quebec for six straight election, but last night was reduced to a four-seat rump.  And all because he did not know me.  Well, at least nobody will miss them.

As you see, this experiment was carried out with a fairly large sample size, and the results are conclusive: I am a good luck charm.  To know me might not be to love me, but to know me is to be a winner.