Guitar Tricks Insider February/March Digital Edition - Page 15

CLASSIC CORNER: BACKTRACK “The whole thing (harmony guitar ending) was supposed to be similar to Mexican trumpets. I grew up learning my phrasing and thinking melodically as a horn player” Back Track - The Eagles’ Don Felder on “Hotel California” Do you know Don Felder? Did you know that at the age of 15 this Gainesville, Florida boy started his first rock band, The Continentals, which included Stephen Stills? Did you know that he gave guitar lessons to a young Tom Petty? Did you know that he learned to play slide from Duane Allman? Did you know he moved to New York with a band called Flow, which were on Creed Taylor’s CTI jazz label? His label mates were Ron Carter, Hubert Laws, and Freddie Hubbard. Did you know that in January, 1974, he was asked to add slide to the tune “Good Day in Hell” from the third Eagles album, On the Border, and was invited to join the band the very next day? Of all the things you might not know about Don Felder (or do now); the one thing you’ll remember is that he wrote the music for “Hotel California.” FEB/MAR In this installment of Backtrack, we asked him to tell us his story about coming up with and developing one of the cornerstone songs in all of rock music. I write a lot of music tracks. Like, “Hotel California” was a total music track, finished top to bottom, with the exception of a solo here and there. Some of the lines weren’t quite finished but all that harmony stuff and a whole track was all written. I gave it to Henley on a reel of 16 other pieces of music that I had done. For some reason he latched onto that and came up with this idea lyrically and melodically. Don doesn’t write music. He writes lyrics and vocals. Usually he’s reliant on someone else to provide him with the musical foundation – the changes and colors and stuff. He is brilliant at taking a simple acoustic guitar figure and encouraging it, DIGITAL EDITION 15