The Eagles’ Arranger Shares Don Henley’s Request For ‘Hotel California Tour’

The Eagles’ arranger Jim Ed Norman recently joined an interview with Ultimate Classic Rock and revealed how Don Henley requested him to join the ‘Hotel California Tour.’

The Eagles released their fifth studio album, ‘Hotel California,’ in 1976. The album was a significant leap for the band from their earlier work as it topped the US music charts in a short time. The record also marked a stylistic shift in the band’s style toward mainstream rock. ‘Hotel California’ has become the Eagles’ highest-selling studio album and one of the greatest albums of all time.

The Eagles launched the ‘Hotel California Tour‘ in 2019 to honor the legacy of their groundbreaking album. It ran through March 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the music industry. The band continued touring again in August. They have been currently hitting the road in the United States. The tour is scheduled to end on May 25 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The band’s arranger, Jim Ed Norman, has also joined the band during the tour since Don Henley wanted to play the album in its entirety. He has been conducting the 70-piece orchestra and choir. During the recent interview, Norman revealed that including him and the orchestra in the current tour was Don Henley’s request. He thought the role he and the orchestra played on the record was essential to playing the entire album.

Jim Ed Norman speaking on Don Henley’s request for ‘Hotel California Tour’:

“It was really Don – because Don and Glenn, quite frankly, gave me my first shot. There were many conversations I had with people about how I’m an arranger and want to be an arranger, and I want to be involved in this portion of the business. It wasn’t until Don and Glenn gave me that shot on ‘Desperado‘ that it finally happened. So ‘Desperado’ became the first thing that I ever did. That imprimatur, if you will, made it possible.

All of those people who I had been trying to convince to let me do some arranging, they were calling saying, ‘Oh, Jim Ed, we didn’t know you were an arranger.’ It was just that stamp of approval. Don called and said, ‘We’re going to mount a ‘Hotel California Tour.’ We’re going to perform the album in its entirety.’ Because of the role the orchestra played on that record, they wanted to feature that element as part of the tour.

You can listen to the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ below.