What does Hotel California mean?

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Eagles: Hotel California Meaning

Song Released: 1977

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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...


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    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.


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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.


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    Apr 19th, 2007 4:18pm report

    I don't know what the hell it means. But I have loved the song for years.


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    Jul 14th, 7:00am report

    I interpret this song to be about hell. It's easy to see once you realize it. The music intro reveals a rattle coming from a rattlesnake. It's faint, but it's there. The snake representing the devil. A man on a dark desert hwy falls asleep at the wheel crashes, dies and end up at the gates of hell. "My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
    I had to stop for the night. I heard the mission bell, and I was thinking to myself this could be heaven or this could be hell"
    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

    Plenty of room at the Hotel California
    Any time of year (Any time of year)
    You can find it here" Hell is open 365/24/7
    She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys
    She calls friend Some dance to remember
    Some dance to forget ....Pretty boys are gay boys who according to the bible cannot enter heaven
    Her mind is Tiffany-twisted
    She got the Mercedes Benz
    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

    "Welcome to the Hotel California
    Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
    Such a lovely face
    They living it up at the Hotel California
    What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
    Bring your alibis" Why would you need an alibi? And she said: "We are all just prisoners here
    Of our own device" prisoners of our own device is a huge hint.
    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...The beast according to the bible is the antichrist. Only God can defeat him
    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!" Find the passage back? You can never leave??


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    Jul 9th, 7:27pm report

    I think it starts as him driving, enjoying his life to max (colitas) marijuana tails. DUI. And he sees a light he dies. Only remembers him being tired and arriving at a hotel. Were this lady is waving and waiting for him. (Death). She leads him in to purgatory. People laugh at him saying pretty face because they know he doesn’t know where he is. And later finds out he’s dead.


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    Apr 14th, 2020 4:35pm report

    Well as I remember it this song is actually about the Feds and their eavesdropping abilities.
    It was the height of the cocaine importation and smugglers


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    Feb 22nd, 2020 2:47pm report

    To me this is a song about PTSD and Vietnam. I left from California going to Vietnam. I wake up in the middle of the night reliving the experiences I had there. You can check out but you can never leave - you can leave Vietnam but it’ll never leave you! I cry every time I hear this song...


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    Dec 23rd, 2019 12:48pm report

    This song is so ambiguous. It could be about anything. I think it's talking about everything that everyone mentioned already. The music industry, a cult, drugs, sex, prostitution, hell, fame, relationships, a asylum etc.


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    Jul 8th, 2019 7:13pm report

    Frey and Henley were both interested in the tune after hearing the demo, and discussed the concept for the lyrics. In 2008, Felder described the writing of the lyrics:

    Don Henley and Glenn wrote most of the words. All of us kind of drove into L.A. at night. Nobody was from California, and if you drive into L.A. at night... you can just see this glow on the horizon of lights, and the images that start running through your head of Hollywood and all the dreams that you have, and so it was kind of about that... what we started writing the song about.
    - from wikipedia

    -Punk who has no opinion on this song. Wait for others who might have an opinion on this song!
    (Seems you only welcome those people who are also Anonymous like you)


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    Jul 8th, 2019 7:52am report

    I have been an Eagles super-fan for three decades now; I think Hotel California is one of the best songs of my lifetime and I have been on a journey to find out the meaning as intended by the authors (Henley, Frey and Felder). There are a lot of conflicting interpretations on the web, so I went to the horse’s mouth; Frey and Henley did an interview on 60 minutes. Frey and Henley also done one-on-one interviews – all in the 90’s.I have watched all these interviews and have compiled what I think the authors were after. The Eagles had great respect for Steely Dan’s lyrical creativity, so they set out to write a song that was lyrically progressive. Something like an episode of the Twilight Zone including fantasy, science fiction, suspense, horror, and psychological thriller, often concluding with a macabre or unexpected twist, and usually with a moral. Let’s start with what the song is NOT about: It is not about death and hell and Anton LaVey’s church of Satan, as many interpretations have surmised based on a nior interpretation of the lyrics and the photos on the album jacket.
    The simplest interpretation per Henley: it’s about a journey from innocence to experience. It’s not really about California; it’s about America,” Henley said. “It’s about the dark underbelly of the American dream. It’s about excess, it’s about narcissism. It’s about the music business. It’s about a lot of different…. It can have a million interpretations.” We achieved perfect ambiguity.

    There is a playful nod to the band Steely Dan in the song

    The line "They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast," is a playful jab to rock band Steely Dan. in the song. Steely Dan and the Eagles had a mutual admiration club in the 70s – as they referenced each other in songs (see following).

    Frey revealed in the liner notes of "The Very Best Of" that they alluded to the "Do it Again" rock band in "Hotel California" after Steely Dan made an Eagles reference in their song "Everything You Did."

    This song to me (Frey) has always been the inability to run away from yourself and our own personal demons that’s why I love it so” … we are all prisoners here, of our own device…”
    That’s my best shot. I welcome any other opinions.


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    Jun 5th, 2019 6:11am report

    This is about the excesses and facades of the glamour life centered in Southern California. The lights and then a lady draws him in. He sees the glamour but recognizes this could be his dream life or a nightmare. As he enters the nightlife scene he becomes increasingly aware that this is not heaven. The lady with the pretty boys is rich and maybe once famous but is now using money to attract where beauty once did. She’s dances to remember those days while others are dancing to forget these days. There is no wine as it has been replaced with drugs. The beast is the addition to the lifestyle which is drug fueled but is socially driven to other empty excesses. The voices keep saying you are having great time here. The drifter shows so outside but inside they all know this is in fact hell. He wants to rewind the tape to the innocent time before. He has the power to check out, but as the night man explains, no one there has the will.


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    Mar 21st, 2019 3:29pm report

    Now that all the pedophilia/sex trafficking/satanists are being exposed on QAnon .pub and QMap .pub sites as of the big drop on 3/20/2019, I think the song is talking about how Hollywood lures and traps them into the lifestyle, and I think the Hotel itself may be alluding to The Standard, where Ray (Rachel) Chandler is active as a front for procurement of children and young teens for the Elite, for ritual sexual abuse and torture to acquire Adrenochrome, secreted by the body when terror-induced. There is a movie out called "Adrenochrome." Truth is stranger than fiction. Hollywood's been showing us right under our noses in movies for years. I only suggest watching the trailer, if you can stomach it.


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    Mar 16th, 2019 3:44pm report

    According to the Straight Dope newsletter, there was a post on the Usenet by Thomas Dzubin of Vancouver, British Columbia, with one of the theories. It is that there was a Hotel California located in Baja California on the coastal highway between Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, near Santa Barbara.

    There was an explosion near the hotel in a fireworks factory three blocks from Hotel California. One of the workers that survived the fire spoke to Don Henley. Don asked the guy what he saw. The worker said: "Wurn Snell of Colitas...rising up through the air". Wurn Snell was a worker that died in the explosion and he was from Colitas, Greece.

    Maybe Dan and the band were thinking about this man that died and what would happen if they died in the hotel.


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    Jul 5th, 2018 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:

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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    Mar 8th, 2018 3:21am report

    Versailles. Ive been there.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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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


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    Jan 7th, 2018 1:54pm report

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

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


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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.

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