One of the most popular songs ever composed; made; performed, of all time ( it is the 49th most popular song in the world ) the Eagles Band made this song synonymous with the hedonistic lifestyle of California in the 1970’s.  It spoke of drugs; drinks; scantily clad girls and selling your soul. It meant teenage rebellion; going over to the dark side and just doing whatever the hell they wanted. As you can imagine it was like going on a forbidden holiday for teenagers during that time.  I should know, I was one then!


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, that she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]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!’

People have said it is about the dark side of America; about the excesses of everyday life that will lead us down the road to ruin. But it was definitely in the Billboard Hot 100 and if you were featured there – YOU HAD MADE IT BIG!!   Hot 100 was linked to the infamous Billboard Magazine which tracked all of the airplays during the current week. From being played on the radio; chart releases; DJ and Juke boxes ( for those of you who remember them!) and so this became the Bible for the Music Industry. Felder Frey and Henley were “ The Eagles!” and although they went on to make more hits, none have held their own as much as this one!

Band Members lived life of excesses and hoped to feature on the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine. Even Doctor Hook and his Medicine Band wrote a song about featuring on this magazine.

One theory is that it was based around a mental asylum, but this was never proved and in fact there has never been a Hotel California, surprisingly, in California. So another reason to add to the mystery of this fictional “ hotel”  The Camarillo Mental Asylum was supposed to have been the idea for the song.

Closed over 30 years ago, it still has an air of mystery about it, even though its use today is less hypnotic.   

“CHECKING OUT ANYTIME, BUT YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE” so open to interpretation but one of these is that you can take off or check out into oblivion with drink or drugs, but you wont ever leave the building. ”  So although you are off in another opiate induced world, in reality you are still in your hospital bed being monitored by men in white coats.

It could mean checking out on life permanently, ie such as taking your own life or just checking out and laying low while you walk on the darker side of life. Its never clear and this is what has made this song so popularIt means that you can make your own interpretation on it and whatever it means to you – is absolutely fine by them.

This was at a time when everyone wanted the American Dream. The youth of America  had returned from Vietnam, war weary, angry and cross and looking for answers. Young men had died painful deaths miles from home and family. Alone and frightened. Their bodes never to be returned to their homeland. Other young men had signed up and returned disfigured and disillusioned. It became an escape to the very dark side or the underbelly of America for a whole generation and prompted the Anti War Rallies and Protests right across the country and involved many famous figures.

So you may think you are checking into a smart and luxurious hotel after a hard journey looking for a clean bed and good food. Think again. It will tempt you and draw you but then it will keep you.

There was a lot of excess in America and none more so than in California. The hippy area, Flower Power was starting to wane and people were becoming more sophisticated. Add to that the terrible effect of the Vietnam War Involvement and what have you got. A reason to escape…

For some this meant taking illegal drugs. Young kids wanted more and enjoying Rock and Roll with hidden meanings seemed to be part of the answer for them. Whatever the “ real reason” and I don’t think the Band Member even really know, or really care, what I do know is that they just would want you to keep enjoying the music.

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