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Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae, edited by whoiscloud, Teampeeta254, Matilda Is Rad

Hotel California song meanings
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  • +24
    General CommentI have a very interesting little story for all of you in regards to this song and it's meaning. About 15 years ago, I was taking an English class in University, and the and the professor of the class had an assignment for us. He handed out a sheet of paper face down to everyone. When we turned it over, we were told to write what we thought the song was about. He added, however, that the song was NOT about a cult so don't even write that. So, basically almost every member of the class then proceeded along the next route....the drugs/addiction metaphors. When we were done, he proceeded to tell us what the song, and the corresponding album were ACTUALLY about. It seems our prof had, at one time, lived in the California area and was very good friends with a certain drummer named Don Henley. Don explained the story behind the song to him, and said he was amused at the wide varieties of interpretations the song had developed over time. According to the source, The "Hotel California" is actually, L.A. itself. The song and album take you on a trip though the music industry in L.A. in the late sixties early seventies, when agents and studios controlled artists like puppets. Back in the late sixties, 1969 to be exact, there was a major onslaught of artists being signed left, right and center, and artisit at the time were often known to basically "sell their soul" to a record company executive in order to get a recording contract. Many times these artists were given little if anything for their music, and thus ended up basically a victom to their love of music. Just imagine the scene at the time, it's late 60's, you are on your way to L.A. to strike it big with dreams of glamour and fame...and you basically are prepared to sell your soul of you have to to attain it. I must admit, when I first heard this explaination, I was a little skeptical...but trust me....listen to the WHOLE album again, start to finish and keep this definition in mind when you do it. Every song ties together in one big story, finishing off with the Last Resort which gives you a clear summery of the whole album and idea. I don't deny that drugs and addiction have a lot to do with the lifestyle and results of the quest for fame. All I ask is to keep an open mind and think of "The Hotel California" as L.A., and you may be surprised.
    daffybon April 13, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General CommentI think the song is metaphorical, but something that can be made sense of. The Hotel California represents the California high-life...the promise of the fame and fortune of the 70s that brought people to the state...from an outsiders point of view, it is attractive and draws people (like a drug)...however, be careful..."you can check out anytime you want, but you can never leave"...once there, it is hard to escape. Henley didn't literally mean California...he meant the trappings of "ego" ....the mind state of being absorbed by pleasures and the "self"...as they can never bring true happiness.
    mikey14on July 03, 2013   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song certainly has drug influences and references, but i`m not so sure that it is "about" drug dependance. i see it more as being about the whole california culture of the 70's. extravagance, drugs, party till you die type thing. Henley, Walsh and the other band members were seeking something more simple, but the cultural demands at the time wouldn`t let them. thus the 'Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes-Benz' lines.
    ramtharon February 22, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOf course! How stupid of me! A book written by some anonymous yahoo is MUCH more accurate that the drummer from the ACTUAL BAND! What was I thinking?
    daffybon April 18, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commenti aslo agree that lyrics (especially from this song) are subject to many different interpetations. That's the beauty of lyrics and poetry in general. However, I heard the "meaning" of this song described once and i thought it was a great interpretation, so im resharing it. I heard it described as "a cynical view of paradise." When you think about it that way it could mean drugs, the entertainment business, or simply a supposed paradise because they all fit people's ideas of paradise. Its a vague interpretation but it allows you to decide what the song means to you, and that (in my opinion) is one of the reasons we listen to music in the first place.
    chorts29on April 24, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commenteveryone thinks this song is about drugs, or an institution of sorts, or, dare i say, the devil.

    allllllllll wrong.

    it's about when jesus went to california and started an underground fight club, you know, like the hit movie that was based on a book. anyways, when jesus started this fight club, he used a basement of a hotel, and he only fought girls who drove mercedes-benzs. he became a huge wino and smashed ladies faces in and told them they looked lovely afterwards. all these bitches finally got sick of it, and tried to destroy jesus with steely knives, but failed miserably. he would never let them leave, and continued bashing faces until the romans found out about this.... and the rest... as they say... is history.
    avengedsurviveon January 18, 2008   Link
  • +2
    TranslationOk, I'm gonna do a little bean spilling here, this song is not even about what Henly claims it is about, because the fact is, the archon beings that caused the inspiration for him to write it keep him blind so that he continues to serve them. I know that already sounds crazy but stay with me.

    The Eagles were a highly occult band, they didn't set out to be that way, they're not as "hard core" as black sabbath or something like that but just as sugar can take many forms and come in many varieties, so do these occult songs, coming in such flavors as Alan Parsons Project and Al Stewart.

    The Eagles began their hit making with the song "Peacful Easy Feeling" then the song "Witchy Woman" (11:11). Now, Henly and the band wrote the music the first day and then the lyrics came under "inspiration" that night to him. If you read the lyrics to that song, all the rest of the songs fall into place concerning this issue. The fact is, they were a tool of the dark side, they worked to promote the message.

    In Hotel California, if you break down the song by verse, you get the picture clearly, for no word or inflection is in there by chance, even if the meaning is hidden from the one doing the writing. We have a person, in this case, Henly tells the story from a first person perspective, not because this happened to him but because it is meant for the listener to internalize the song, to see themselves as this person.

    He's driving in the dark (what does darkness represent?) in the desert (again, read your Bibles) when suddenly, his head gets heavy and his sight grows dim...but AFTER he sees a "shimering light" (which is the silver light, spoken of in the song "Love Walks In" by Sammy Hagar, another servant of witchcraft).

    The he goes on to talk of a doorway, now dump the idea that he is in some hotel, he isn't...what hotel does this happen in? Then he hears a "mission bell" as all reason is taken from him and he doesn't know up from down, right from wrong stating "this COULD be heaven (no, you'll know heaven...its awesome...this IS no doubt about that.) or this could be what it really is...the door to hell.

    Then he goes on to describe the whore of babylon, his reference to "dancing" is sex, some dance to remember, some to forget, this is with her "pretty boys". Then as he stays with her, he begins to become restless, realizing that he's in the wrong place, asking for wine (a reference to the blood of Jesus) and they tell him, you gave that up, pal.

    Next thing he remembers, he is RUNNING for the DOOR, he wants OUT! But the door is hidden, this place does not have an OUT door, the nightman say's to him, "relax, we are programmed to RECIEVE". There is a refernce to the Beast...the devil, that they can't kill...because, with their sins, they have created the means to keep them entrapped.

    All you have to do is read the lyrics of any song and THINK a bit. What is this really about? It's about Henly saying the position of his soul and where it is...he is also send it out there for others in service to the whore and witches to get them to join him...as he too, is now "programmed to recieve".

    Henly cannot see this point of view because like a man in a room, he cannot view the house he is in and be in the room at the same time. he is KEPT in that place so that he WONT see and since he has no belief in GOD, he will never be able to see.
    iamrayon February 22, 2013   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI know what this song is about, not a cult it's about drugs.

    "Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way " That's not a candle she's lighting up.

    "Some dance to remember, some dance to forget" Some people do them do remember good memories, some people do them to forget bad memories.

    'We are all just prisoners here, of our own device" That is basically what drug users are

    "The stab it with their steely knives But they just can't kill the beast" The beast being the addiction/

    "You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave!" You can always say you aren't addicted or that you can quit anytime you want, but you'll always end up going back to them.

    Pretty basic clear maening, there are other metaphors in there to decipher but that's tha basics.
    Dethon February 03, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI must agree as well with phishman about the whole "subject to individual interpretation" thing. What ultimately matters is what it means to you SurferM or you daffyb or me Felicity. I mean, why else would they use metaphor and then NOT write a book about it themselves? Why leave the book writing and explanations up to other people & "friends"? Maybe they don't even care; it was a song that sold millions of records after all. And the mystery (woooo!!) was part of that success. Kinda like Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks with her black lacy shawls and references to witchcraft. When I was a young and impressionable teenager, I just was so woo-ed by that music. BTW, if you want to read a book written by the artist himself, read Mick Fleetwood's book. Anyway, for me personally, I have always liked how the Eagles painted pictures of that whole LA/California scene with lyrics and music; that's how I see their work anyway. When you go there and hang out, it seems to resonate, and it very interesting to me how they have captured that.
    FELICITYon April 24, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti agree with deth about the meaning i think is about drugs..... this song is amazing .. im only 15 and i love it its very very cool..... i thinks its kinda erie too... the lyrics are great xxxxxxx
    Mixiblobon May 04, 2002   Link

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