Thursday, May 15, 2014

Song Meaning, Background, Analysis: Hotel California by Eagles

ARTIST: Eagles | ALBUM: Hotel California | RELEASED: 1977
Song Meaning, Background, Analysis: Hotel California by Eagles
This is the first Eagle song I'm doing, so hopefully I won't failed at this terribly. I came across "Hotel California" a long time ago, but never really had a chance to analyze it. I was a little busy with Metallica songs. In fact this the song that introduced me to the Eagles, and I fell in love with the song as well as the band. Pretty weird for a Metallica fan, huh?

As the title suggests, the song is about living in a luxuries hotel in the state of California, US. The more I read into the lyrics, it suggests to me that the song doesn't really revolve around an actual hotel, but rather it hotel is the metaphoric vehicle that Eagles are using to make a larger point about the excessive lifestyle of the Americans. As the principle song writer, Don Henley said, "[song is] about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about."

Analysis of Lyrics:

First verse sets the scene of California, and introduces the 'main character' of the song. Since it's written from first person's perspective, we'll assume it's Don. So the plot starts as Don checks himself into a hotel while on the road travelling with the band.

this could be heaven or this could be hell - this metaphorically describes the thoughts of Don as goes into the hotel. But what this really means is that the American dreams is double edged sward, heaven and hell are used to describe the contrast of that fact. I could write an essay based on just that fact, and I`m not going to, but simply put, it means those with money have the power, and those who don`t are literally voiceless.

Plenty of rooms at the hotel California - this again emphasizes the excessive lifestyle, and American dream in general of the rich.

please bring me my wine - As per Wikipedia, Don Henley explained this line to a music critic stating, "[this] line in the song has little or nothing to do with alcoholic beverages. It's a sociopolitical statement. My only regret would be having to explain it in detail to you, which would defeat the purpose of using literary devices in songwriting and lower the discussion to some silly and irrelevant argument about chemical processes."

 You can checkout any time you like, But you can never leave - this means once you get hooked up on a greedy lifestyle, you can quit it for only so long. You`d always want to get back in the saddle, and go back to old ways of living life!

My analysis is not perfect. If you know more about the song, please feel free to make a comment below.


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 face
Plenty of rooms at the hotel California
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

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 face
They livin' it up at the hotel California
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
The 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 checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave!

1 comment:

  1. Interested in a very detailed explanation of the song Hotel California? No, I don’t think it about Satanism, but would you be surprised to find out that that its storyline is very similar to Bible passages about the “Woman of Folly” scattered in the first 9 chapters of Proverbs in the Bible? If interested, follow this link.

    You may not agree with all that I say, but you won’t be disappointed if you read all the way through!

    The Unveiler
    PS: Comments welcome at


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