What does Hotel California mean?

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Eagles: Hotel California Meaning

Song Released: 1977


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Hotel California Lyrics

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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...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Mar 24th, 2006 3:21pm report


    This song is about the attactive qualities of worldly things but their ultimate end. the man drives along the highway (his life) and his head grows heavy and his sight grows dim, forcing him to stop for the night (he dies). he sees a pretty woman in the doorway of the hotel but cannot decide if he is in heaven or hell. When the woman invites him in he sees the other people in the hotel. these people are mocking him as he comes in (such a lovely face) and they realize he does not know where he is. He goes to a party in the courtyard and sees people dancing (to remember better times, to forget the present). he askes the captain to bring him his wine, but the captain claims that they have not had that spirit (hopefullness or eagerness) since 1969. when the man starts to realize where he is (hell) he tries desperately to get back to his car (life). the doorman tells him there is nothing to worry about, he can check out at any time, but he can never leave (referring to the fact that, once in hell, a person can realize their mistakes, and repent of their wrong doings, but by the time they realize this, they cannot leave hell.)


    Another interpretation I have found interesting is comparing the hotel with alcoholism/drug addiction (they stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't till the beast) and trying to overcome the addiction.



  2. 2TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Sep 23rd, 2006 9:22pm report


    I think the lyric mercedes bends was quite intentional. The subject of the song (in this case california, and all it represents in people's heads) is afflicted. She's "tiffany twisted" and has the "mercedes bends". "the bends" is a condition that divers get when they surface too quickly and the pressure drop allows dissolved gasses in their blood to become gasses again. Severe pain and often death then occur.

    "hotel california" is obsessed with material wealth and money. The idea of california is an idealistic draw for artists all over (what with free love and the sixties "age of aquarius and all that), but, as the song says "we haven't had that spirit here since 1969" ... The summer of love is long over, and is now replaced by the avarice, greed, and cynicism of the music industry.

    Once you're sucked into the west coast dream "you can check out" via drugs, or whatever "but you can never leave". Whatever youthful idealism you once had is forever gone and sucked up by the machine that is the music business.



  3. 3TOP RATED

    anonymous
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    Apr 25th, 2006 4:26pm report


    I think that this song simply refers to Hell, and a man's account of how he got there and what it was like.

    The song starts out by telling how he dies...car wreck, something like that.

    The woman who is so tempting is sin...thus she shows the way to Hell.

    Trapped souls and demons welcome the man in the chorus, describing how it seems like a good place from the outside...

    "Her mind is twisted" refers to the temptation of sin and the devil. (Remember Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley?) "She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys..." Those would be people destined for Hell but not there yet.

    Dancing in the courtyard refers to the lost souls remembering (or trying to forget) their time on earth and how they squandered their life by ending up in Hell. When the man calls for wine, he may be going through the same thing...the captain (the devil, a head demon, whatever) says that part of the punishment of Hell is that you can't forget. 1969 is a reference to the number 666, the sign of the beast, rather than the year.

    "Mirrors on the ceiling..." is a reference to sins committed here on earth. "We are all just prisoners here of our own device" refers to how humans get to Hell...by their own sins.

    At this point, the song get weird. The people in Hell prepare for the "feast", which means that they are going to try to overthrow him (Satan, the beast, their keeper, etc) but they can't kill the Beast...This is describing how the Beast must die not by human efforts but by God.

    At this point, seeing all this, the man wants to leave and go back to earth because he finally realizes where he is. However, friends, you can't leave hell. "We are programmed to receive" is indeed one of the coolest lines of this song. "You can check out any time you like" You can die anytime, but you can "never leave" Hell.

    This just makes sense! Way more than a mental hospital or a drug trip or describing the music business. It is the description of Hell from a dead man's point of view.



  4.  

    Pigglesnake
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    Jul 5th, 7:17pm report


    This song is all and only about pussy. (Vagina).

    Play on words--one smell of clitoris

    pink champagne on ice -- juicy

    mirrors on the ceiling in their masters chambers, gathered for the feast -- The bedroom where you mostly screw.

    Stab it with their steely knives --penis

    Just can't kill the beast -- fuck it all you want and it bounces right back.

    pretty face --pussy sight

    Relax said the night man, we are programmed... --- Everyone needs sex

    Once you lose your virginity you can never go back:



  5.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 8th, 2018 3:21am report


    Versailles. Ive been there.



  6.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 7th, 2018 3:49pm report


    I always thought that the song was about "Halloween," because It's a bit spooky! Every time I hear this song, I get the goose bumps at the same time that it fills me with unprecedented joy. Everyone makes one's own interpretation of the song and that's the genius of the lyrics and that is precisely how a piece of art should be: open to every person's interpretation, meaning giving a different impression to different individuals.But in the end when all is said and done, I believe that the final words on the interpretation and the meaning of the song should be attributed to the writers of the lyrics because no one knows better than them what they really meant by it. Period.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  7.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 7th, 2018 1:54pm report


    I thought it was about Thailand's Jail. There goes my bubble



  8.  

    Theneverendingloveofamother
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    Dec 7th, 2017 12:15pm report


    There really is a Hotel called Hotel California, where slot of band members and entertainers from all walks of life, use to party at. The song I believe is based on that Hotel and all the partying and drugs and addictions that took place there. They refer different parts of the song as the addictions that took place there. Like they stab it with their steally knives but that just can't kill the beast is the addiction to the needle and what drug is in it. You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave, believe refers to, that you can check out meaning overdose or suicide, but you can never leave, meaning whatever addiction they have at this Hotel. The girl with the pretty face is basically the seduction of the drugs. Or maybe the females that draw the men into the hotel or drugs. There is more.... But in a nutshell, I believe it is based on a real place that had alot of partying and over indulgement have drugs which caused alot of addictions, overdoses, and or suicides, for those who did not know how to escape from all the choas that drugs had caused in their lives.



  9.  

    anonymous
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    Oct 14th, 2017 10:12pm report


    It`s about Jesus/Tiffany & Co Martin & Co nazareth. and the beast. The spirit with water to wine.

    Search and you will find.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  10.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 23rd, 2017 3:17pm report


    The song is about hell. The man is high driving in the desert and dies in a car accident, he sees the light where good people go after death, but when he gets there, he`s confused about where he is. The woman at the door was a hooker inviting him to sin ( sins of the flesh )but he hears voices in the caverns and caves of hell and they are happy that he is there too. They went to the master`s chamber to stab the dead baby to death. The baby is already dead, that`s why they can`t kill it. It was a sacrificial baby. he can`t get wine because wine symbolizes Jesus but he can get pink champagne, which is the blood of the demons. He knows now this is not where he wants to be but the guard tells him he can check out but he can never leave. once you`re dead and you haven`t made penance for your sins, you will go to hell. "programed to receive" is they can only get hell bound people and they will never leave. The dead baby most likely was a wealthy, materialistic man`s baby who sold his soul to the devil for fame and fortune.



  11.  

    anonymous
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    Mar 12th, 2017 3:31am report


    To stir the imagination period.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  12.  

    anonymous
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    Feb 18th, 2017 2:00am report


    I think the song is about (Mind you, I'm not the one to think this), a man who's going through a living Hell while having voices in his head, saying that Hell's such a lovely place!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


  13.  

    AOtero
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    Aug 18th, 2016 8:47pm report


    I think this is one of the BEST SONGS EVER WRITTEN. The lyrics tend to suggest several meanings but for me it's all about addiction. "Colitas" is a slang Mexican name for marihuana. The fact that this traveler end up going into a hotel where a lady stand in the front-door and "his head grew heavy and sight dim" and where there was a feast "of pretty boys she called friends" where luxury and vanity were suggested and ending up "in a lovely place" all dancing with mirrors on the ceiling and Pink Champagne on ice (drug). 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...

    Most important is that part where the night man says "Relax, We are programed to receive. You can check out any time you like
    But you can never leave...



  14.  

    kooljohn176
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    Jan 27th, 2016 1:36am report


    The EAGLES band with GLENN FREY [R.I.P] gave us some great music from ''one of these nights'' songs and on to ''Hotel California''that became one of their most popular songs played out over the airwaves about our entertainements with curiosity, caution and anxiety to find our enjoyable pleasures in life with one onother during the more innocent and confusing times of the 60's and 70's more in California that welcomed many beautiful people there to the parties. Throughout time this song has been keeping us on our toes with the feeling you're going through a maze where on every turn there is a new door to open, going through to experience each surprise of beliefs, thoughts and visions. With one step at a time like you've landed to live out in a ''twilight zone'' episode feeling trapped in ''the matrix'' of things by the modern times that feels like reality, but you know it's not so real, while trying to get out of your circumstances that became pleasurably addictive to follow those symbol dreams to the end, being in the maze or the matrix that you have been ''programmed to recieve'' that feels overwhelming to the senses. All the while you wanna ''find the passage back'' to escape like in some familiar way Jobe did in ''The Lawnmower Man'' who found his way out where he was granted accses through the backdoor in getting out of the matrix maze computer he was programmed in that may have been just a virtual reality dream to get out alive before all hell breaks loose in his mind. So by coming to reality also ''you can check-out any time you like'' out of Hotel California ''but you can never leave'' Anotherwords the ending of this song reminds me in the quote ''never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway'' or what Jim Morrison said ''no one gets out alive'' from leaving this world.



  15.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 23rd, 2016 1:15pm report


    Just a question: I remember seeing a vinyl album cover for Hotel California with a plain one- or two-story building painted institutional green on the cover. That building took up the entire width of the cover. There were no towers or fancy architectural details, just a flat-fronted building. There was no sign on it; it just looked like an old government building. I was told this was a picture of the Camarillo State Mental Hospital, the kind of place where you could "check out" (die), but "never leave" (be discharged). I can't find that photo anywhere. Was this an earlier or later cover, was this on a completely different album by who knows who, or have I lost my mind? Someone could have put this on the album cover for some unknown reason without the knowledge of the band. I'm sure that is not that unusual. Lots of musicians lose creative control of aspects of their work. Please help me if you know where I can find the photograph I am talking about.



  16.  

    kooljohn176
    click a star to vote
    Jan 23rd, 2016 1:37pm report


    The EAGLES band with GLENN FREY{R.I.P} gave us some great music from ''One of these nights' songs and on to ''HOTEL CALIFORNIA'' that became one of their most popular songs played out over the air waves about our entertainments with curiosity, caution and anxiety to find our enjoyable pleasures in life with one another during the more innocent and confusing times of the 60's and 70's, more in California that welcomed many beautiful people there to the parties. Throughout time this song has been keeping us on our toes with the feeling you're going through a maze where on every turn there is a new door to open, going through to experience each surprise of beliefs, thoughts and visions. With one step at a time like you've landed to live out in a ''twilight zone'' episode feeling trapped in ''the matrix'' of things by the modern times that feels like reality, but your subconscious mind knows it's not so real while trying to get out of your circumstances that became pleasurably addictive to follow those symbol dreams to the end, being in the maze, or the matrix that you have been ''programmed to recieve'' that feels overwhelming to the senses. All the while you wanna ''find the passage back'' to escape like in some familiar way Jobe did in ''The Lawnmower Man'' who found his way out where he was eventually granted accses through the backdoor in getting out of the matrix maze computer he was programmed in that may have been just a virtual reality dream to get out alive before all hell breaks loose in his mind. So by ''coming to reality'' also ''You can check-out any time you like'' out of Hotel California. ''But you can never leave''. Anotherwords the ending of this song reminded me of the quote ''Never to take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway'' or what Jim Morrison said ''no one gets out alive'' from leaving this World.



  17.  

    anonymous
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    Jan 20th, 2016 1:34am report


    It's the California State University in Camarillo California. Ragan closed this former mental institution while he was governor.



  18.  

    anonymous
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    Sep 18th, 2015 9:37pm report


    Word for word, this song refers to drug addition. The hook it creates at the beginning, when it all seems glamorous and fabulous, then your are lost in this world you can try to leave but will always remain trapped. Not having wine in 1969 signifies the change in vice from alcohol to drugs. Stabbing with steeling knife and not killing the beast...signifies the razors they used to cut and line cocaine, even though they were stabbing the beast it was not killing it.
    Some dance to remember, some dance to forget...needless to say, dancing is taking a hit and it signifies the usual causes of why people turn to drugs. Some to remember someone they lost or forget pains they've experienced.
    It almost describes the reasons why someone might arrive to a world of addition and how difficult it is to leave.



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