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Old 07-12-2009, 07:33 PM   #1
Peekaboo
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Default Hotel California

I don't remember exactly how the song got brought up but during one of my breaks at work last night, a friend/coworker and I were arguing about the meaning of Hotel California. She claims that the song is about a mental institution. I've heard/read many theories on what the song is about but that was the first time I heard someone say that it is about a mential institute. I've even had somebody tell me that it's about vampires. I was thinking of as many quotes from Don and Glenn about the song as I could. Mostly what came to mind was what Don said in the 60 Minutes interview "It's basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America which is something we knew a lot about." We were still very much into our debate about the song when we had to get back to work. As soon as I get the chance I'm going to do some research and try to show her what the song is really.

If any of you have any suggestions or know of any links to point me in the right direction I would be very appreciative.
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Old 07-12-2009, 08:28 PM   #2
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Default Re: The meaning of Hotel California

Wikipedia pretty much refutes anything other than the definition you stated Jess and backs it up with cited quotes from band members.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_California_(song)
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Old 07-12-2009, 09:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: The meaning of Hotel California

I would tend to agree that Wikipedia's explanation is the most widely accepted interpretation today, particularly now that Don and Glenn have made numerous comments over the past years.

However, back in the day, the speculation as to the song's meaning and the interpretation of the lyrics was incredible. I don't think any possible stone was left unturned. Everyone from religious leaders to scholars to politicians were weighing in to add to the madness and hysteria of what the song was about. And to make matters worse, the band had very little to say at the time that would've helped set the record straight. Actually, it was a pretty good marketing strategy on their part methinks.
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Old 07-12-2009, 10:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: The meaning of Hotel California

Some quotes from Glenn about it:

"Don and I heard [Felder's demo] tape and said, 'Gosh, this is like Spanish reggae rock, this is really a bizarre mix of musical influences, this is great.' The music was entirely written by Felder, and Don and I wrote the chorus, and Don wrote most of the verses." ( 1988 )


"The song began as a demo tape, an instrumental by Don Felder. He'd been submitting tapes and song ideas to us since he'd joined the band, always instrumentals, since he didn't sing. But this particular demo, unlike many of the others, had room for singing. It immediately got our attention. The first working title, the name we gave it, was 'Mexican Reggae.'"


"For us, 'Hotel California' was definitely thinking and writing outside the box. We had never written any song like it before. Similar to 'Desperado,' we did not start out to make any sort of concept or theme album. But when we wrote 'Life In The Fast Lane' and started working on 'Hotel California' and 'New Kid In Town' with J.D., we knew we were heading down a long and twisted corridor and just stayed with it. Songs from the dark side -- the Eagles take a look at the seamy underbelly of L.A. -- the flip side of fame and failure, love and money. "'They stab it with their steely knives, but they just can't kill the beast' was a little Post-It back to Steely Dan. Apparently, Walter Becker's girlfriend loved the Eagles, and she played them all the time. I think it drove him nuts. So, the story goes that they were having a fight one day, and that was the genesis of the line, 'turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening' in 'Everything You Did,' from Steely Dan's The Royal Scam album. During the writing of 'Hotel California,' we decided to volley. We just wanted to allude to Steely Dan rather than mentioning them outright, so 'Dan' got changed to 'knives,' which is still, you know, a penile metaphor. Stabbing, thrusting, etc.

"Almost everybody in my business can write music, play guitar, play piano, create chord progressions, etc., but it's only when you add lyrics and melody and voices to these things that they take on an identity and become something beyond that sum of the individual parts. I remember that Henley and I were listening to the "Hotel California" demo tape together on an airplane, and we were talking about what we would write and how we wanted to be more cinematic. We wanted this song to open like an episode of The Twilight Zone -- just one shot after another. "I remember De Niro in The Last Tycoon. He's got this scene, and he's talking to some other people in his office. He speaks to them: "The door opens...the camera is on a person's feet...he walks across the room...we pan up to the table... he picks up a pack of matches that says 'The Such-And-Such Club' on it... strikes a match and lights a cigarette...puts it out... goes over to the window... opens the shade... looks out... the moon is there... what does it mean? Nothing. It's just the movies.'Hotel California' is like that. 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. This guy is driving across the desert. He's tired. He's smokin'. Comes up over a hill, sees some lights, pulls in. First thing he sees is a really strange guy at the front door, welcoming him: "Come on in." Walks in, and then it becomes Fellini-esque -- strange women, effeminate men, shadowy corridors, disembodied voices, debauchery, illusion... Weirdness. So we thought, 'Let's really take some chances. Let's try to write in a way that we've never written before.' Steely Dan inspired us because of their lyrical bravery and willingness to go 'out there.' So, for us, 'Hotel California' was about thinking and writing outside the box." (Very Best Liner Notes 2003)
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Old 07-13-2009, 12:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: The meaning of Hotel California

Ticky posted about this in the Good for a Laugh thread...post #445.

http://www.eaglesonlinecentral.com/f...?t=208&page=45
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:09 PM   #6
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Default Re: The meaning of Hotel California

Oh Lord: Read it again....still laughing:

The girl with kaleidoscope eyes! <LOL>LO>LO>brahahahahahaha
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: The meaning of Hotel California

I had forgotten about that!!! Who thinks of these things?
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Old 07-13-2009, 02:53 PM   #8
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Default Re: The meaning of Hotel California

Can't you just imagine Don and Glenn reading that?! And the thing is, only Don and Glenn know for sure! They can say anything they want and, really, never tell the truth!
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: The meaning of Hotel California

Drugs...it's all about drugs.

I know this because my brother told me that when I told him I was going to see them in concert (a few months ago) - I tried to tell him that wasn't true - but my brother will NEVER admit he's wrong and will fight tooth and nail to be right...so I just let him believe it...
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Old 07-13-2009, 08:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: The meaning of Hotel California

Quote:
Originally Posted by anne-o-gg View Post
Drugs...it's all about drugs.

I know this because my brother told me that when I told him I was going to see them in concert (a few months ago) - I tried to tell him that wasn't true - but my brother will NEVER admit he's wrong and will fight tooth and nail to be right...so I just let him believe it...
It's either that or try to tell him it's about the seamy underbelly of L.A. (Glenn and Don's own words!) I don't think I could even use the word 'underbelly' without giggling...
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