Reviews for Hotel California Lyrics

Performed by Eagles

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Shed Some Truth... | Reviewer: VanBarbee | 3/29/08

Hotel California, like Stairway, Bohemian, and so many other legendary songs, is one of those that has been a philosophical conundrum ever since we first heard the lyrics. I recall from my studies that Hotel California was written about the impossible dream of perfection (such as the dream of a better life in the west) and how cryptic it could be if you even came close to finding it.

The reference to colitas is indeed odd and possibly refering to drugs, but let us recall that it is simply a recreational drug, and nothing to be focused on too intently, regardless of legality. Shimmering and dim lights are simply time passing and the driver growing tired.

As for steely knives, it is just a witty lyric, and not any kind of nod at Steely Dan. Knives are made of steel in most cases...therefore steel-y is understandable, if not incredibly obvious.

Being able to check out at any time, but never being able to leave, well isn't that the case with a lot of things in life? Bad habbits, tempting offers, simply the things in life we wish we could stop, but never truly can.

And yes, it is about the music industry. Hence California (music central).

Still however, a truly amazing song, regardless of it's lyrics.

Stab them with their "Steely" knives but they just can't kill the best... | Reviewer: Lisa Johnson | 1/28/08

I read somewhere that the "Stab them with their Steely knives..." was a reference to Steely Dan. It seems one of the band member's girlfriends (may have been Don, I don't remember which) was fooling around with or had left him for, one of the members of Steely Dan. Thus, metaphorically stabbing the afflicted "Eagle" with his "Steely" knife, but couldn't kill him. Get it?

666 | Reviewer: dmn | 1/25/08

you all are so pethetic, you don't understand the meaning and you probably never will, because it's somethimg you don't want to believe, the truth, everytime you listen to it, you are falling deep, and deep, every time you sing it, play it, ther's no escape, why do you think that "hotel california" had so much success, it's not something easy to be famous, you should listen more carefully, and realiza how simple the meaning is, so simple, and obvious, not about whore house, neither drugs, and probably read the bble a few times could help, check how many and which bands have alredy been there and probably see......999

this is the true meaning behind | Reviewer: yojce | 1/9/08


On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air

I've heard a number of explanations for colitas with the only suggestion of any merit being marijuana. What better reference for the artist before plunging into that unhappiness? A high feeling, peaceful, free, wind in their hair...
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

Who doesn't see shimmerling lights when they are on drugs? But, that shimmering light is the materialism which shimmers like the rich, lusterious, draw that it is while the singer clearly becomes intoxicated by it.
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'

"She", the materialism, is standing between his free life and the world of possessions and greed. He "HEARD" a bell in the past tence, that context is important to imply that he was past heaven, past the mission bell, and on his way to the hell on earth.
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

"She" shows him the way through the door, materialism draws him in where the intoxicating high lingers, "Such a lovely place," "Such a lovely face," its almost eerie. The great play on words here is that he's told by the voices down the corrider, the people already there, that he is in California; the place of the gold rush, beaches, and movies (lovely place) and movie of Hollywood and plastic surgery (lovely faces).
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes Benz

"Materialism's" mind is twisted by Tiffany's and Mercedes: Tiffany's for expensive jewelry, Mercedes for the expensive cars. People's perspectives get distorted by these things, which explains another fun play on works with "Benz" or bends and twisted.
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends

Who doesn't believe pretty boys are a status symbol for our female Materialism?
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

This is where interpretations mingle. Materialism and her boys are dancing to remember and forget. Remember the past, easy-going, happy lifestyle, and (foreshadowing to the end of the song!) to forget because, "you can never leave"
Another twist is how people pursue possessions to remember or forget, with that being the dance. Remembering their childhood or earlier in their life when they had more money or more toys OR pursuing possessions to forget about other painful issues in their life.
So I called up the Captain,
'Please bring me my wine'
He said, 'We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine'

So, we've learned that the dance is how we remember the previous life or forget the depression. Wine is good way to warm up those dancing shoes. The Captain's response is interesting, they haven't had that wine since 1969, since the summer of love, the summer of freedom from possessions. They haven't had the ability to give you that wine since... Woodstock.
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...


Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said 'We are all just prisoners here, of our own device'

The voices are always haunting you (see, I said it was eerie), always driving you to accomplish, acheive, and BUY more.
Ceiling Mirrors are a great reference for our adult audience while Pink champagne is certainly another symbol of luxury. The last line gives up hope and hopelessness in that we are trapped of our own will. In pursuit of wealth we created our lifestyle.
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

In a social setting, what is a frequent topic of conversation? Vacation? How you need a break? How you look forward to the weekend? When we gather for a feast, we stab at this beast, the primal desire within us to go back to freedom, away from these trappings. People want to kill that part of themselves which longs for peaceful, liberated days, because our lives are otherwise stressful, but you can't and won't ever rid yourself of that.
Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before

Clearly, the plight to get back to that lifestyle instead of discussing, stabbing away at it. The only way to get back to the place of before is to go back to that simple lifestyle.
'Relax,' said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like,
but you can never leave!

The night man, the guard, (Marketing?) tells us to relax, this is what we're all about, it is normal to desire things. We are brought up and conditioned by society to be receptive to messages about status and wealth.
Of course, we can "check out", go on vacation, head to the mountains and get away for a while but, we will never pull ourselves from greed.

The real meaning | Reviewer: Jay | 12/10/07

The real meaning of Hotel California is that it's about the entertainment indutry in general and the music industry specificaly. Artist at the time were lured in the industry with the promise of fortune and fame. Once in, they found that it's not what they thought it would be. They found themselves trapped but wanting to get out. However, "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

hey im boubaker | Reviewer: aboubaker | 11/19/07

hi i lik so much this team the eagles and i like to listen of it and if i listen for it i found my rest ok big kisss for this team and best wishes of i love hotel california byeee gd luck ....

Hotel California: A Metaphor for Life | Reviewer: Robin Wright | 11/15/07

Hotel California has several layers of meaning, from the literal, to the subtext. First, consider the historical context - 1975; thus with resonances from mid/late 1960's, Ken Keasy, Cuckoo's Nest, Electric Cool Aid Acid Test; flower power, Tim Leary, drugs, rock, protest, release from opression and tyranny - both racist and sexist.
One could read the lyrics as being something of a metaphor for an individual (anyone's) life journey - 'dark desert highway...'; an awakening, growing alternative consciousness associated with pot ..'sweet smell of colitas.. (Spanish for tails- refers to potent tips of the marajuana plant.
'Ahead in the distance..' - ahead of me as I am now to where I may soon be(?).
'Shimmering light' - quasi religio reference to those who in crisis often seek protection from some kind of organised religion?

'There she stood...' Who is 'she'? Virgin, whoe, saint? Depends on your point of view. Thus - 'it could be heaven or it could be hell'.

'Voices in the corridor' -- The corridor in 'my' mind? Hearing voices? Maybe resonant of the Freudian concept of 'super ego' - them out there who define the world for us?

Here I submit that all of us have a potential 'Hotel California' since it refers by analogy to our psyche, our consciousness, our self view, perceptions of reality(ies). We live inside our hotel,its walls built with our defence mechanisms. The rooms stand for the compartments of our lives, or the way we may often compartmentalise our life: thus child, friend, adult, worker, colleague,lover.....

Hotel California can be heaven ( if you're lucky, or hell if you're not.
There's always room and you can always find it 'here'.

Her mind Tiffany twisted - acid? Bad experiences? A damaged soul who has the Mercedes Benz - for which you might read 'bends'which is what deep sea divers get when they surface too quickly. It's interesting to note that when Henley actually sings that line he gives a grimace and grunt of almost contempt, disgust, mockery. "Ugh"

Friends, pretty boys, dancing, forgetting, remembering - maybe refers to remembering the good past times, forgetting the bad. Maybe, drugs, drink and dance go together here?

Who is the Captain, of what? The ship of fate? My wine? Days of wine and roses from the flowerful fun days of thre sixties, hence 1969 - the end of the decade? Nostalgia aint what it used to be?

Mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice - a glitzty whore house?
Hotel Sodom and Gomorra? Is that what the industrial poltico complex turns our lives into? Drugging us with gambling, game shows, 'reality' TV, consumerism, wall to wall sport, while somewhere else hundreds, thousands of kids are starving to death?

'We are all prisoners here, trapped by our own device' Thus we are all trapped in our own Hotel California - vitims/prisoners of our own circumstances, life chances, fate ... what you will.

The Master's chambers - church? Satanic, or other; Devil or Dealer? profane, sacred?

'Stab it with their knives' Injection with the needle?

But stab it as you will - you can't kill the beast, the habit...?

'Last thing I remember was running for the door..' Before I passed out?
Trying to go back - maybe to the womb? Could well be , with 'the passage' referring to the uteris.

'And perhaps the most frightening, and telling of all the lines in the song:

"Relax" said the night man "We are programmed to receive- you can check out any time but you can never leave"
For me that's the crux of the whole piece: We are all 'programmed to receive all the shit parents, priests, pedagogues, institutions of the state throw at us; we are caught up in a web of pernicious ideologies which fill our brains with dubious consciousness. Because ideologies work on and through the unconscious, we are unconscious of just how we became to be conscious of our perceptions of the world and people. They seem 'normal', 'natural' and 'real', when in truth they may be woven through pervasive and mendacious ideologies.

Yes, we can 'check out any time - maybe through alcohol, drugs - just for a while. But we cannot leave our hotel california because we may not even be aware that we are trapped inside it, a willing compliant 'guest'. When we wake up, re-surface, come round, sober up, the pain will still be there together with the need to try and deaden it through whatever floats the boat.

' can never leave' says the night man. A pessimistic view and ending.
I am more optimistic. But if you are trapped in the hotel through your own devices, then leaving can be very tough. As Plato once said:
'The key to all kowledge is to kow thyself and remain unafraid'.

Of course, not all Hotel Californias may be bad? Who kows? Who's to say?

Maybe one day we shall meet in the lobby, and even dance?

I offer this anaysis as a personal, subjective view. And personally, I think it's a truly great song, a classic.

Thank you Don Henley for surely providing me with some great food for thought in the hotel. I really enjoyed the dinner.

Robin Wright

Is it difficult for you? | Reviewer: JAGA potato | 10/30/07

I'm a high school student in Japan. I don't know English well enough to understand what this song really means.
Is it difficult for you usually speaking English to understand this song?

the truth | Reviewer: Anonymous | 10/21/07

well this song is really based on the hotel california where perople would stay and suddenly dissapear basically an urban legend thats why he says you can check out but you can never leave

whorehouse | Reviewer: brandon L | 10/17/07

i think its obviously about a whore house.

you have the mention of "mirrors on the ceiling"

"some dance in the courtyard, some dance to remember, some dance to forget" dance meaning to have sex.

the girl drives a mercedes, hangs around guys she calls friends.

the girl says she's a prisoner there, but of her own device.

i think its pretty obvious. i can understand the drug thing but it doesnt explain the reason why there are two characters a male and a female.

meaning | Reviewer: adam ray | 10/2/07

this is probably way off, but a friend told me this song is about a whore house, not drugs, not the music industry, it actually makes a lot of sense

request | Reviewer: nicki | 8/4/07

it's good that we have lyrics but we want free song download.

p.s great song and thanks for the lyrics!!!!!!

Hotel California | Reviewer: Ajay Moore | 7/20/07

This song was written about the struggle with hedonism and self-destruction in the Southern California music deep do you think these guys really go?

Meaning | Reviewer: Brandi | 7/12/07

This is a beautiful song and I think it means whatever you want it to mean. Nobody that would actually know has ever really divulged the meaning so people can only speculate. But its such a great song, who cares?

HoTeL CaLiForNia | Reviewer: Moay Zi Heng | 7/12/07

I LiKe thIs SoNG AnYWaY...... I Will Be The LeAd GuitarisT for This Song... xD...
I will name the top 5 of my favourite Song and Musical Instruments:
1. Hotel California: Classical Guitar
2. Desperado: Drum
3. 1/3 No Junjou Na Kanjou: Electric Guitar and Vocalist
4. Starlight: Drum
5. It Ends Tonight: Drum

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