Hotel California

Written by the Eagles and released on their album Hotel California in December 1976. The band was formed in Los Angeles in 1971 and originally backed up Linda Ronstadt. They brought country and western and southern songs into the popular rock and roll mainstream, recording 8 albums before the band broke up in 1982. Don Henley reorganized the band 10 years later to record a 9th album Hell Freezes Over in 1992.Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 album of 1977 has equaled Michael Jackson's Thriller in U. S. sales (26 million) but Jackson still leads the all-time list with 51 million world-wide sales. The songs of the Eagles are well-known world-wide, including Iraqi POWs captured in the March 2003 war who said they want to go to the America described in the song "Hotel California." The Eagles never explained the lyrics of their song, but one theory argues that it refers to the Church of Satan that was located in a converted hotel on California street in Los Angeles. The Eagles manager, Larry Salter, admitted in the Waco Tribune-Herald of Feb. 28, 1982, that the Eagles were involved with the Church of Satan, and one of their songs is titled "Have A Good Day in Hell" and their last album was Hell Freezes Over. Another theory is that the song refers to drug addiction and "the warm smell of colitas" (marijuana). The old theory is that the song refers to the real Hotel California in Todos Santos on the "dark desert highway" in Baja California has been denied by Don Henley, band spokesman Larry Solters, and reporter Joe Cummings.

album cover
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 room 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!


revised 11/15/05 by Schoenherr | Songs