Behind the Lyrics of EAGLES’ “Hotel California”

This informative publication is for all the people who still, after all those years, believe that Eagles’ biggest hit single “Hotel California” (1977) is a song about a hotel…in California. In a recent conversation I had, I was once again reminded that even though the popularity of the track is immensely high – on a worldwide level, the lyrics continue to remain misinterpreted, even from people who claim they are fans. Of course, that is somehow understandable because the true meaning of the song is very well-disguised in clever words and genius metaphors. I grew up with Eagles and even as a kid with quite limited English language skills, I could somehow sense that there’s so much more behind that generic title. I will briefly talk about the lyrics and how to correctly interpret them. For those of you who already know, you can just sit back and listen to the song!

eagles-hc

“On just about every album we made, there was some kind of commentary on the music business, and on American culture in general. The hotel itself could be taken as a metaphor not only for the myth-making of Southern California, but for the myth-making that is the American Dream, because it is a fine line between the American Dream, and the American nightmare,” said Don Henley in a 2013 documentary.

Don Henley has actually given a lot of interpretations of this song, all of them somehow connected and adding to each other, following a similar theme. Let’s trace back some of the things, officially stated about this track.

– “A sociopolitical statement.”

– “It was really about the excesses of American culture and certain girls we knew. But it was also about the uneasy balance between art and commerce.”

– “It’s a song about the dark underbelly of the American Dream, and about excess in America which was something we knew about.”

– “It’s a song about a journey from innocence to experience.”

– “We were all middle-class kids from the Midwest. Hotel California was our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles.”

There have been many “wild interpretations” of the song, especially when it was first released back in 1977. Everyone was simply obsessed with finding out what was the deal with that hotel (some people even thought it was all about drugs).
Basically, what we have to understand is that every little word is a giant metaphor for losing sacred things in life like youth, humility, innocence and goodness and falling for corruption, immorality and selfishness. “Hotel California” is a cynical piece of art, telling us that the integrity of people and consequently the American dream are long gone and all we fight for nowadays is simply…money and fame. LA has always been seen as this beautiful, gorgeous place, full of opportunities, happy people and fulfilled desires. However, that may not be necessarily the case. The track tells us the exact opposite – LA is not a paradise and what happens underneath the lights is highly disturbing and definitely sinful.

~The way I see it…

To me this song was always about the greed and depravity of the music industry and the wicked businessmen who ruthlessly control everyone and everything in the scene. Not that things have changed much since the mid-70s – music is a business and will always been seen that way. Los Angeles was and still is the mecca of the music scene. We have to think about the time period too. By 1977, big companies were already investing millions of dollars and fighting for music domination. Music started to be seen as a serious money-making business when the Beatles conquered the world so it was natural for the corporate side of music to keep on expanding and finding ways to get more and more money. I think Eagles did a brilliant job with the lyrics, exposing how evil, shallow and wrong this whole industry was at that time. For instance the last line – You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave!– …tells me that the artist are working for a label and they have contractual obligations so they can’t have their freedom.

Furthermore, the chorus – Welcome to the Hotel California, Such a lovely place, Such a lovely face” is obviously a well-written sarcasm. Even Don Henley sings it with a little bit of bitterness, adding to the whole metaphoric experience of the track.“Plenty of room at the Hotel California” – there will always be a place for more and more, but there is a price…

Finally, I would like to finish by saying that it is indeed quite difficult to fully interpret and make sense of this song. To many people it’s about drugs or just simply committing to a world full of money, fame and sin. What I want to emphasize on, though, is that this song is NOT about a random hotel in California and this song has a METAPHORIC meaning, definitely open to interpretation. Any thoughts?

 

Lyric Video

Hotel California Lyrics

🎶 On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
“This could be Heaven or this could be Hell”
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say… Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine”
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! ” 🎵💕🎶

 


References:
“Hotel California” Songfacts, retrieved from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1121
“Hotel California”, retrieved from https://jdmitchelldesigns.wordpress.com/tag/hotel-california-was-our-interpretation-of-the-high-life-in-los-angeles/
“Hotel California” Official Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_California
“Hotel California” Lyrics, retrieved from http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eagles/hotelcalifornia.html

P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.

Cheers~

10 Classic Rock Records That Should Be Owned By Everyone

albums-you-must-own-collage

Innovation, brilliant musicianship and timeless impact are the three criteria based on which I chose the following list of 10 albums I believe should be owned by absolutely every person who values and understands music. There are indeed SO MANY groundbreaking albums that re-defined history but then again, we have those 10 which I think went far beyond re-defining – they simply turned things upside down. The echoes of their strong collision with the music world were so loud we could still hear them every day. Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac are among the artist the works of which I would like to draw your attention to. I am positively certain that my readers know and are already in possession of those record but in case you don’t own a copy, grab your things and rush to the nearest record store!

(P.S. I made this list based on my personal expertise and opinion. I realize that some of you may not agree, but I still think those 10 albums deserve to be on everyone’s record shelf)


The Beatles – Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

beatles s

I just had to kick things off with this groundbreaking masterpiece, because let’s face it – no other record can actually beatSgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” when it comes to influence, cutting-edge music and artistry. Beatles retired as a live band and focused entirely on writing new music and experimenting with latest techniques in the studio. In June 1967, the results were in. Beatles didn’t have to worry about playing this album live, so they could go in any direction they want – they had the absolute freedom to arrange and produce things the way they wanted them to be. On Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, each of the Beatles adopted a new imaginary persona, which made things so much more interesting. The album also marked the beginning of album-oriented rock. “Sgt. Pepper” is a concept album you just have to listen from start to finish in order to truly understand its beauty; the record is simply one 40-minute song, an entity, an exceptional musical monster. Not only that, but it was the psychedelic, highly experimental, ambiguous, quite surreal nature of the record that gave rise to art and progressive rock, as well. Let us not forget that “Sgt. Pepper” has one of the most original artworks which re-evaluated the importance of album covers for future releases. “A Day in the Life”, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “When I’m Sixty Four”, “Penny Lane” – songs that live forever.


Led Zeppelin – IV (1971)

led Zeppelin 4

With masterpieces like “Stairway to Heaven”, “Black Dog” and “Rock and Roll”, Led Zeppelin’s fourth album was destined for success. Surprisingly this album never actually topped the US charts, despite being in top 5 best-selling albums in the States of all time and being owned by pretty much every person who lived during the 70s. The organic and folky but quite atmospheric song “Stairway to Heaven” became the most requested song on a FM radio ever, breaking that 3 minute song barrier. It didn’t matter what the critics said about Zeppelin or this album – what mattered is that they made history.


David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

ziggy

The absolute peak of David Bowie’s career has to be the adventurous concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”. For this album, the white duke adopted the persona of a Martian who comes to Earth liberate human kind. The album, along with David Bowie himself became synonymous with art rock, praising individualism, mysticism, theatrical performances and fashion. David was so ahead of his time – he simply offered a glimpse to another world, where you can be whoever you want to be.


Pink Floyd – The Dark Side Of The Moon (1973)

dark-side-of-the-moon-album-cover-pink-floyd

“The Dark Side of the Moon” shook the grounds of progressive rock the moment it was released to the public. It was this album that forever shattered the notion that progressive rock couldn’t be enjoyed by everyone – Pink Floyd simply brought this style to the mainstream audience. “The Dark Side of the Moon” is not just your ordinary influential rock album of the 70s – it’s an absolute cultural landmark and a celebration of cutting edge techniques, keyboards, synthesizers, sounds effects and coherent musicianship. With its highly intellectual, avant-garde lyrics, the album explores themes such as time, money and the dark-sides of human nature. “The Dark Side of the Moon” spent 471 consecutive weeks on the Billboard album chart – an achievement no other album could ever surpass. Kudos to the brainchild of David Gilmour and Roger Waters!


Eagles – Hotel California (1976)

hotel-california-eagles

Eagles are probably one of the most beloved American bands of all time – Americans wouldn’t trade them even for the Beatles. In 1976, they just blew off the roof with the concept album “Hotel California” which eventually became one of the best-selling albums of all time and one of the most critically acclaimed records of all time. “New Kid in Town”, “Life in the Fast Lane”, “Hotel California” – all brilliant rockers with an everlasting impact! The title tracks contains one of the most memorable guitar solos; lyrics-wise, it deals with topics still relevant nowadays – self-destruction, corruption, drugs and the greed in the music industry.


The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (1966)

LP_OUT-P1_output.pdf

Whether you like Beach Boys or not, you gotta respect them for their legacy and especially for “Pet Sounds” – one of the most influential albums of all time, loved by critics and fans from all over the world. Brian Wilson’s goal was to create “the greatest rock album ever made” – a powerful rock tornado with absolutely no weak points or filler songs. I am not sure we can refer to “Pet Sounds” as the greatest rock album but it’s definitely in the top 10. Brian Wilson adopted so many interesting, cutting-edge techniques and approaches for this album – from unusual instruments to sounds of dogs barking and bicycle bells; from complex symphonic arrangements to sophisticated vocal harmonies. No wonder “Pet Sounds” changed history – it offered the ultimate musical experience. Not to mention that, just like “Sgt. Pepper”, “Pet Sounds” was equally responsible for the development of art and progressive rock.


Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)

fleetwood-mac-rumours

Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” is essential for so many reasons. If, for a moment, we put aside the fact that it’s one of the BEST SELLING albums of all time and won a Grammy award for album of the year, “Rumours” was the album that forever blurred the lines between pop and rock. On top of that, “Rumours” was recorded when all members of the band were divorcing or breaking up with each other. There was no way a good album would come out of it. However, against all odds, their brutal frankness somehow stroke a chord with the audience and the album achieved something they never even hoped for – immortality. Candid, open-minded, emotional – I guess it’s true that the greatest masterpieces come out of pain, sorrow and heartbreak. Every song on this album, though it’s about sadness and break-up, is worth listening to.


Derek & The Dominos – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

LAYLA

I don’t even know where to begin with when it comes to this album. Often considered as Eric Clapton’s greatest career achievement, the double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”, can’t stop captivating the audience with its emotional intensity and groundbreaking guitar work. Eric Clapton was simply giving it his all on this record. The inspiration 7-minute epic ballad title-song, “Layla”, has to be one of the highlights of the 70s and the ultimate staple of what a love song should sound like. The album is so much more than that though – “Bell Bottom Blues”, “I Am Yours”, “Anyday” – any song of the record offers comforting blues, solid rock&roll, raw guitars and a great mood.


Black Sabbath – Paranoid (1970)

black-sabbath-paranoid

After careful consideration, I decided to wrap things up with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”. When it comes to the origins of heavy metal, things might be a little bit blurred. The foundations of the genre were laid in time, with the contribution of so many bands, styles, approaches, etc. However, to me personally one of the first records that presented a clear-cut vision of what heavy metal should sound like was “Paranoid”. There’s no surprise that many critics refer to this album as “the birthplace of heavy metal”. The simplistic approach to music, heavy guitar hooks, gloomy lyrics, exploring dark subjects and of course – the loud and quite sharp vocal delivery of Ozzy, defined the sound and image of heavy metal.

How many of these records you guys own?


References:
P.S. I don’t own any audio or visual material used in this publication. All the rights and credits go to the owners and/publishers.
The publication expresses my personal opinion and in no way is trying to make a generalized statement. Please be kind and considerate when you read and/or comment.
Cheers~

[PLAYLIST] My Good Morning Classic Rock Mixtape

Good Morning, everyone!

tumblr_n4ucrsJtso1rslcoko1_500

I don’t know which side of the world you live in, but for me it’s time to rise and shine and marry the day! Like many other rock fans out there, I can’t really imagine waking up and start preparing for the day, without listening to some rock ‘n’ roll tunes as a background. However, mornings can be pretty tough – we are still too sleepy, still very tired and it takes time for the coffee to start working…So, to some people, including myself, solid hard rock sounds and crazy guitars might not be the best option for your morning…especially if it’s the beginning of the week. Thus, a few years ago, I made the so called “morning playlist” or “morning mixtape”, featuring classic rock tunes which I think are perfect for the early start of your day. I love collecting songs and making playlists, so I decided to share with you guys, some of the songs you can find on this morning playlist of mine (My personal playlist is too long, so I decided to share just 20 songs from it). They are indeed more soft and melodic than the usual songs I post on the blog, because I just can’t handle the crazy riffs at 6 am in the morning (haha). I hope you guys will enjoy the mixtape I prepared for you and might get some ideas for your own “morning playlist”. It’s a personal selection, combining classic rock songs with no common grounds, except being suitable for your busy and tiring mornings ( of course, based on my opinion only). Let’s play!


 

Eagles – I Can’t Tell You Why ( 1979 )

 

Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight ( 1977 )

 

Led Zeppelin – Stairway to Heaven ( 1971 )

 

Whitesnake – Don’t Fade Away ( 1997 )

 

Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Lucky Man

 

The Alan Parsons Project – Some Other Time ( 1977 )

 

Skid Row – I Remember You ( 1989 )

 

Fleetwood Mac – Over My Head ( 1975 )

 

Pink Floyd – Learning to Fly ( 1987 )

 

Eagles – Tequila Sunrise ( 1973 )

 

Def Leppard – Unbelievable ( 2002 )

 

Dire Staits – Lady Writer ( 1979 )

 

Foreigner – Waiting For a Girl Like You
( 1981 )

 

Chicago – You’re the Inspiration ( 1984 )

 

Bad English – Time Stood Still ( 1991 )

 

John Lennon – Woman ( 1981 )

 

Queen – Somebody to Love ( 1976 )

 

Survivor – You Know Who You Are ( 1993 )

 

Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure
( 1982 )

 

The Police – Every Breath You Take ( 1983 )

 


 

[PLAYLIST] This Week in Classic Rock Songs

 

Hello, everyone! Happy new week! I do hope it’s a good one for all of us!

Once again, it’s Monday, which means it’s time for my weekly “mixtape”. As usual, I’ve collected 10 rock classics to help you kick off the new week with a blast! I’ve picked up rock tunes from various artists and eras (even from back in the 60s) and came up with this lovely rock playlist for your Monday mood! Just wanted to remind you that there’s no particular order or category – It’s a personal selection, based on my favorite classic rock songs from my music library. It’s basically a bunch of cool rock songs, performed by various awesome artists I love with all my heart! I hope you guys enjoy it and get reminded of some cool songs from the past! Rock on!

giphy


 

 

Animals – House of the Rising Sun ( 1964 )

 

Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve Been Loving You  ( 1970 )

 

David Bowie – Rebel Rebel ( 1974 )

 

Eagles – Life In The Fast Lane ( 1976 )

 

Foreigner – Woman in Black ( 1981 )

 

Rainbow – I Surrender ( 1981 )

 

Europe – Carrie ( 1986 )

 

Roxette – Listen To Your Heart ( 1988 )

 

Aerosmith – Love In An Elevator ( 1989 )

 

Van Halen – Can’t Stop Loving You ( 1995 )