Eagles - Hotel California - Melbourne 2005




Don Henley decided on the theme of "Hotel California", noting how The Beverly Hills Hotel had become a literal and symbolic focal point of their lives at that time. Henley said of their personal and professional experience in LA: "We were getting an extensive education, in life, in love, in business.


Beverly Hills was still a mythical place to us. In that sense it became something of a symbol, and the 'Hotel' the locus of all that LA had come to mean for us. In a sentence, I'd sum it up as the end of the innocence, round one."


Frey came up with a cinematic scenario of a person who, tired from driving a long distance in a desert, saw a place for a rest and pulled in for the night, but entered "a weird world peopled by freaky characters", and became "quickly spooked by the claustrophobic feeling of being caught in a disturbing web from which he may never escape."


In an interview with Cameron Crowe, Frey said that he and Henley wanted the song "to open like an episode of the Twilight Zone", and added: "We take this guy and make him like a character in The Magus, where every time he walks through a door there's a new version of reality. We wanted to write a song just like it was a movie."





Frey described the song in an interview with NBC's Bob Costas as a cinematic montage "just one shot to the next ... a picture of a guy on the highway, a picture of the hotel, the guy walks in, the door opens, strange people." Frey continued: "We decided to create something strange, just to see if we could do it." Henley then wrote most of the lyrics based on Frey's idea, and sought inspiration for the writing by driving out into the desert as well as from films and theater.


Part of the lyrics, such as "Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends / She got a lot of pretty pretty boys she calls friends", are based on Henley's break-up with his girlfriend Loree Rodkin. According to Frey's liner notes for The Very Best Of, the use of the word "steely" in the lyric, "They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast," was a playful nod to the band Steely Dan, who had included the lyric "Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening" in their song "Everything You Did".


Frey had also said that the writing of the song was inspired by the boldness of Steely Dan's lyrics and its willingness to go "out there", and thought that the song they wrote had "achieved perfect ambiguity."




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 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 place)

Such a lovely face

Plenty of room at the Hotel California

Any time of year (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 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 place)

Such a lovely face

They livin' it up at the Hotel California

What a nice surprise (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

They 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 check-out any time you like

But you can never leave!"