Home Psychology of Singing

Is hotel California too hard as a first song to learn?

I am able to sing the first note of the song and match the f#4 pitch.

However it sounds very heady.

On the other hand Don Henley sounds like he is using his chest voice to sing it.

Do you think I should choose a different song to start my singing journey?

What was the first song you learnt to sing properly when you first started singing?

Thanks in advance :-)


  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346
    Absolutely. Don Henley sings the song in chest voice. The chorus will be much too hard for a beginner. Even seasoned singers can crumble on this song. You're going to need to build massive support to sing Don Henley tunes. Boys of Summer is likewise extremely hard to sing the chorus without the proper training and time put into learning to belt in the upper mid-chest voice.

    Choose something that's in your comfort zone and work your way up to harder songs.

    Take your singing journey one step at a time.

    Even Take it Easy is too hard for most new singers, on "We may lose, and we may win".

    Try Tequila Sunrise, or Peaceful Easy Feeling if you like the Eagles. Most of the songs Don Henley sang were too high for less-experienced singers. He's one of my favorites. It took me a long time to be able to do his songs without exceeding my capabilities.

  • josterlaujosterlau Member Posts: 7
    Hi Bob

    Thanks very helpful. I know the Eagles are great musicians but had no idea Don Henley was that good of a singer.

    I am now curious. How many years of practice did it take you to be able to sing Don Henley songs? What was your practice regiment like, I mean hours/day?

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,346
    Different people will take different lengths of time to get to the money notes. Not only do you need to be able to hit those notes, but you need a few notes above that in your range so that you aren't always singing at your utmost limits. That's very difficult to sustain.

    It can take a good two or three years of at least an hour a day, five to six days per week, and that is focused practice, not just driving around in your car singing along to a CD. It requires focusing on what you need to work on, recording yourself and listening to the playback to see what you need to work on. No amount of practicing will get you there without the correct techniques in the first place.

    Don Henley may have been lucky enough to have been born with a great range. The rest of us have to work to build a range like that.
  • streeterstreeter Pro Posts: 679
    Don Henley was a monster who made a lot of tunes sound easy.
    A lot of the stuff he sings is directly on the bridge making his repertoire very difficult for most...
  • josterlaujosterlau Member Posts: 7
    edited March 2016
    I see what you mean bob, makes sense. I will write hotel California off my list and instead work on tequila sunrise. Thanks again for the advice much appreciated
    Hi guys, any other songs that you advise for newbies to sing?
  • streeterstreeter Pro Posts: 679
    Let Her Cry
    Under The Bridge
    Layla Unplugged
    Every Rose Has it's thorn
    Wish you were here.

    My first song with an actual call register note was 'drive' by incubus.

    Thanks! I started with Rebell yell and I don't have the confidence and knowledge to sing the high parts. Altough not that high, it is to much for someone that does not know what is doing :) I will try one of the songs you proposed and see how it goes. My goal is to sing in pitch with good support
  • streeterstreeter Pro Posts: 679
    Yeah, Rebel Yell takes a fair amount of technique to not only sing correctly but safely.
  • josterlaujosterlau Member Posts: 7
    Now I am totally confused.

    Rob Halford sounds really hard to sing but to my ears Billy Idol's Rebel Yell does not sound like it's too hard to sing, my reasoning is that his singing appears to be speech like, the notes sings are not that high and his voice does not sound that powerful compared to someone like Bruce Dickinson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yregvl7Jvxw

    Can you please tell me how you are able to identify a singer's abilities? I would love to be able to tell when a singer is good, I am a beginner and don't really understand it.
  • josterlaujosterlau Member Posts: 7
    @blondiewales Thanks for the reply, it totally makes sense!
  • matt53matt53 Pro Posts: 189
    edited May 2016
    Yes Bob is right. I am no beginner at singing and in fact I tackle alot of difficult tunes with my band including Led Zep and White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane.
    Yet even at the level I am at, I still find Hotel California to be a difficult piece to sing.
    To put it in perspective, I can hit all the individual notes in there no problem but what makes it difficult is the fact that Don is just belting in that F#4/G4 bridge area with such smoothness and perfectly on pitch.
    I find it requires a large degree of finesse and vocal stamina to get through the verses without pitchiness. So many consonants to avoid choking on. Then you have that jump up to the A in the chorus which can kill you if you don't pare down all that weight you were belting with in the verse.
    But that's not even what's difficult about this song.

    Yeah just about anyone can belt out or shout out to the verses if they're singing along to the song, but Don sings it so sweetly and so perfectly on pitch that it makes it a REALLY tough song to sing the way he did.
    And if you've heard the song as much as I have, you'll almost feel as though you're expected to sing it as well as he did if you're gonna try it at all.
    Don't feel bad about it though.
    Don Henley and the Eagles spent over a YEAR doing the vocals for the Hotel California record and it almost bankrupted their record company.
    So what you hear is the best take out of possibly dozens (hundreds?) that Don Henley did.
    However, I bet that if you keep developing your voice and work at the song you can have it in your back pocket too.
    I suspect the reason that I don't sing it as well as I should is because I simply don't practice it. I can't sing or even play the song in my home because my family thinks there are demonic messages in it.
    However, talking about it has made me want to start practicing it again (when no one's home that is).
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