|This is about materialism and excess.
California is used as the setting, but it could relate to anywhere
|Don Henley: "We were all middle-class kids
from the Midwest. Hotel California was our interpretation of the
high life in Los Angeles.
|This won the 1977 Grammy for Record Of The
Year. The band did not show up to accept the award, as Don Henley
did not believe in contests.
|Don Felder got the ball rolling on this. He
had the chord progressions and took it to Don Henley and Glen Frey.
They put the words down, then Joe Walsh wrote all the guitar parts
and arranged them for everyone. (thanks, Les - Dannevirke, New
|"Colitas," in the line "Warm smell of colitas,"
is often interpreted as a flower or a sexual reference. It is a
Spanish word translated to Henley by The Eagles Mexican-American
road manager meaning "Little Buds," and is a reference to marijuana.
|This was recorded at 3 different sessions
before The Eagles got the version they wanted. The biggest problem
was finding the right key for Henley's vocal.
|Glenn Frey compares this to an episode of
The Twilight Zone, where it jumps from one scene to the
next and doesn't necessarily make sense.
|The line "They stab it with their steely
knives but they just can't kill the beast" is a reference to Steely
Dan. They shared the same manager and had a friendly rivalry. The
year before, Steely Dan included the line "Turn up The Eagles, the
neighbors are listening" on the song "Everything You Did."
|Don Felder and Joe Walsh played together on
the guitar solos, creating the textured sound.
|The lyrics for this came with the album. Some
people thought the line "She's got the Mercedes Bends" was a
misspelling of "Mercedes Benz," and wrote Henley to complain. The
line was a play on words.
|Glenn Frey: "That record explores the under
belly of success, the darker side of Paradise. Which was sort of
what we were experiencing in Los Angeles at that time. So that just
sort of became a metaphor for the whole world and for everything you
know. And we just decided to make it Hotel California. So with a
microcosm of everything else going on around us." (thanks, Moomin -
|When The Eagles got back together in 1994,
they recorded a live version of this for an MTV special that was
included on their album Hell Freezes Over. The album was #1
in the US its first week.
|All 7 past and present members of The Eagles
performed this in 1998 when they were inducted into the Rock And
Roll Hall Of Fame.
|The hotel on the album cover is the Beverly
Hills Hotel, known as the Pink Palace. It is often frequented by
Hollywood stars. The photo was taken by photographers David
Alexander and John Kosh, who sat in a cherry-picker about 60 feet
above Sunset Boulevard to get the shot of the hotel at sunset from
above the trees. The rush-hour traffic made it a harrowing
|Although it is well known that Hotel
California is actually a metaphor, there are several strange
internet theories and urban legends about the "real" Hotel
California. Some include suggestions that it was an old church taken
over by devil worshippers, a psychiatric hospital, an inn run by
cannibals or Aleister Crowley's mansion in Scotland. (thanks, Adam -
|The music may have been inspired by the 1969
Jethro Tull song "We Used to Know," from their album Stand up.
The chord progressions are nearly identical, and the bands toured
together before The Eagles recorded it. (thanks, Dave - Cleveland,
|In Chicago at the time of this song's
popularity many people called Cook County jail "Hotel California"
because it is on California street. The name stuck and now people of
all ages and races refer to the jail by this nickname. (thanks,
jesse - chicago, IL)
|Don Felder: "I had just leased this house out
on the beach at Malibu, I guess it was around '74 or '75. I remember
sitting in the living room, with all the doors wide open on a
spectacular July day. I had this acoustic 12-string and I started
tinkling around with it, and those Hotel California chords just kind
of oozed out. Every once in a while it seems like the cosmos part
and something great just plops in your lap." (thanks, Stone -
|The music bears a resemblance to the Jethro
Tull song "We Used to Know." During a BBC radio interview, Ian
Anderson (Tull's frontman ) said laughingly that he was still
waiting for the royalties. Jethro Tull have toured with the Eagles.
(thanks, Lawrence - Royal Tunbridge Wells, England)
|According to a reader-submitted poll for
Guitar World magazine, the guitar solo for this song is ranked
#8 out of 100. (thanks, Romeo - Belo Horizonte, Brazil)