"New Kid in Town"
ew Kid in Town" was the Eagles' first gold 45 as well as the initial release from their watershed Hotel California album. Entering the Billboard Hot 100 at number 48 on December 18, 1976, the single became the group's third chart-topper 10 weeks later.
"New Kid in Town" was the first single released from Hotel California, the Eagles' fifth album, which was released in Dec. 1976 and became their third consecutive #1 LP. It remained at the top of the album chart for eight weeks and took up residence on the Billboard Hot 200 for 107 weeks. It was certified gold on Dec. 13, 1976, and -- two days later -- certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Hotel California is the Eagles' finest work. Dave Marsh, in The New Rolling Stone Record Guide, wrote, "This is not to deny them their occasional moments of inspiration and insight (especially on Hotel California)," while Village Voice editor Robert Cristgau conceded "this is their most substantial if not their most enjoyable LP" in his Record Guide.
Why did the rock press often exude contempt for the band? Kit Rachlis explained in the Boston Phoenix. "I dislike the Eagles with the same adolescent fervor that I reserved for the BMOC in my prep school and for many of the same reasons: fear, politics, style, envy. If the Eagles weren't good at what they did -- if they weren't so successful that they've come to epitomize southern California rock -- they wouldn't be worth disliking so much. Which is part of their problem, because a band that arouses this much vitriol must be worth something."
Chief among the writers' complaints were the Eagles' allegedly misogynous belief "that the men have the power and the women don't," according to Rachlis, and the problems they were having coping with their own success. The band's defenders, notably Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times, welcomed the songsters' viewpoint, stating they were "one of the few who came to grips with the self-absorption of the '70s.... Using California as a metaphor for the nation, Henley and Frey wrote about the pursuit of the American dream, '70s style, using their own experiences ('New Kid in Town'), temptations ('One of These Nights') and disillusionments ('The Sad Cafe') of that pursuit. Hotel California examined their recurring theme with more precision, power and daring than ever."
The harsh words for the Eagles' work outside the coven weren't nearly as brutal as the ones within. "The one problem with the band is that we have such high standards for making records, writing lyrics and performing that after a while it begins to take their toll on everybody's nerves," Don Felder told Circus. "But it's our goal to do the best job possible and as we go along every little part and piece of the operation gets refined. Glenn (Frey) uses a great analogy of building a table. You don't just slap some wood together and pour on some varnish, it takes years to sand it and find the right hinges because you are building a masterpiece. You are trying to create something that will be a mark of its time."
- Fred Bronson, The Billboard Book of Number One Hits, Billboard, 1988.