What does Hotel California mean?

Search Login

Eagles: Hotel California Meaning

Song Released: 1977


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...

  1. 1TOP RATED

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    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
    click a star to vote
    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
    click a star to vote
    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.  

    kooljohn176
    click a star to vote
    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.



  5.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    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.



  6.  

    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.



  7.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    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.



  8.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    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.



  9.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 7th, 2015 8:47pm report


    Despite popular belief, the Eagles have confirmed that “Hotel California” actually has nothing to do with Satanism, psychiatric hospitals, or cocaine addictions. The hit song is actually an examination of the pitfalls of living within Southern California in the tumultuous 1970s.

    Written by Don Felder, Glenn Frey, and Don Henley of the Eagles, the “Hotel California” lyrics meaning is focused on the excess materialism of California, as well as across the nation in the 1970s. In an interview with the London Daily Mail in 2007, Don Henley disproved the wilder interpretations as merely figments of the overactive public imagination. Instead, the song was about the “uneasy balance between art and commerce.” The Grammy winner for Record of the Year in 1977, “Hotel California” was the band’s interpretation of the high life in California full of propaganda with the signature images of the stars on Hollywood Boulevard, beaches with scantily clad women, and shining lights seen for hundreds of miles.

    The song is aimed the characteristic greed and hedonism associated with Hollywood during the time period, including the excess of drugs, piles of money, and easy women that the Eagles admitted they themselves were drowning in. As evidence from the photographer for the album cover, he has stated that the picture was intended to represent the dramatic loss of innocence and rising growth of corruption.



  10.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Dec 13th, 2014 12:14pm report


    It's pretty simple. It's about the excesses of being a star and the horrors those lead to - you're in it, and you're trapped. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave, because now you're notorious and because you will never have your innocence back. Once that's gone, it's gone.

    It's about how stardom is not so glamorous once you get up close.



  11.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Nov 5th, 2014 11:47pm report


    I always thought this song was about this guy finding the hotel to rest, but then realises that there's something very wrong there. That there are sacrifices and bad stuff going on, when he tries to get out they won't let him. The part that always got me was, "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave." Which means you can't leave this place, but you will die. I'm a creepy person by nature though so, I could be wrong, Lol.



  12.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Oct 25th, 2014 10:20pm report


    This song is about a being in the right time long time ago having a great time but hard to remember and coming back happens all time when your high nobody cares of you and suddenly someone's do.



  13.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Sep 24th, 2014 9:13am report


    illuminati



  14.  

    Lisa69
    click a star to vote
    Aug 5th, 2014 8:28am report


    I think this song is about being in a cult is communal living place- popular in 60's and 70's.. They keep you awake all the time and drug you to program you. The master is the leader ( Charles Manson type).I think they used pretty girls to get people to join up.
    He obviously gets away and is telling his story though he's haunted by the experience



  15.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Aug 1st, 2014 8:52pm report


    Hotel California refers to Hotel Del Coronado.



  16.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 20th, 2014 6:18am report


    The age old question of what is binding us to our present condition. Same theme runs through other songs... We hold the key to releasing ourselves from whatever....status & fate... It
    s within ourselves, we have to find it. Just a change of location wont work. we are all prisoners... of our own desire? device? ... dont realize it. Hotel California is simply a metaphor.
    Another song.. dont remember name but Egles member.." .All Ready Gone?" we hold the key to release ourselves all along, but must first aknowledge that change must happen within ourselves.



  17.  

    anonymous
    click a star to vote
    Jun 19th, 2014 6:33pm report


    I think this is about an overdose. Experiencing in and out consciousness, perhaps life. Seeing the light and what the beyond be like. Not understanding the stage you are or where you headed.



  18.  

    Tyco
    click a star to vote
    Oct 22nd, 2013 10:11am report


    The Hotel California was the Church of Satan in Southern California. If you have the album from before the bar code was put on, Anton Levy be seen standing on the balcony with a cirle of symbols behind his head. Colitas is a Mexican marijuana bud. Wine is the symbol of the Holy Spirit. When a Satanic Church is activated, the first ritual is to "Blasphemy the Holy Spirit." This is considered to be the only unforgivable sin. This ritual was performed in 1969. Hence "We have not had that spirit here since 1969." Feasts are a pivotal celebration in Heaven and Hell. The rest of the song speaks for itself. Don Henley would of course lie about any of this after looking at things in retrospect.



‹ prev 123456789



More Eagles song meanings »


 


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]






Just Posted

Lightning Crashes anonymous
Daniel anonymous
Living in the Past anonymous
Kickstand anonymous
Blow at High Dough anonymous
Who Am I Living For? anonymous
Lost in the Echo anonymous
Milkshake anonymous
Blood anonymous
Blood anonymous
Please Tell Rosie anonymous
Let it Die anonymous
See You On The Other Side anonymous
The Pot anonymous
Fix Me anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

M.I.L.F.$
Fergie
Why You Always Hatin?
YG
No Future
Blink 182
Seein' Red
Dustin Lynch
Dancing On My Own
Calum Scott
Don't Be So Shy
Imany
80 Millionen
Max Giesinger
Alaska
Maggie Rogers