Meaning of "Hotel California"?

I did a quick search here to see if this had been answered but didn’t find anything.

What in the world are they talking about in “Hotel California” ? Rehab? Hell?


i dont think anyone knows. you are talking about the eagles right? i havent been able to figure that out. there doesnt seem to be one concept. they talk about love and lust, death of evil, revival, torcher, hell, and other dark stuff of the sort. i dont understand it but i could guess that it covers alot of concepts at once. trippy…:cool:

In a couple hundred years will people handle rock lyrics as we deal with Nostrodamus?

“Pink champagne on ice” in this verse means South African blood diamonds. and so on.

Heres an article from snopes which explains the meaning of the lyrics in general:

Moved to Cafe Society.

I’ve often said that “Hotel California” is the opposite of “American Pie.”

That is, I can figure out exactly what each verse of “American Pie” means, but have no idea what it’s about as a whole. On the other hand, I don’t understand a single verse of “Hotel California,” but somehow I understand perfectly what the song as a whole is saying.

I think the Snopes analysis of the song is exactly right- it’s about the seductive and destructive nature of wealth in California in the Seventies. It’s about the attractiveness of booze, drugs and free love, and how hard they can be to give up, even after you’ve realized how bad they can be.

Or if you prefer the short, simple, funny explanation, Joe Walsh explained the entire “Hotel California” album thus:

“It’s about how everyone in Southern California is really from Cleveland.”

Isn’t it “Mirrors on the ceiling, depict champagne on ice?”
ETA: Yes. Yes it is.

Ooo, and some trivia: The “steely knives” quote was a nod to “Steely Dan” whom the Eagles liked and respected at the time.

The song is most definitely a reference to the CA lifestyle which the boys were beginning to experience, but weren’t sure they embraced. Nothing more: nothing less.

from a recent thread on the topic

the liner notes I quote in post #36 say the Steely knives was a bounce back to the line ‘turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening’ from The Royal Scam album.

Don: We were enamored with hotels. Hotels were a big part of our lives. The Beverly Hills Hotel had become something of a focal point, literally and symbolically. I’ve always been interested in architecture and the language of architecture, and, at that time, I was particularly keen on the mission style of early California. I thought there was a certain mystery and romance about it. Then, there are all the great movies and plays in which hotels figure prominently, not only as a structure, but as a dramatic device. Films such as Grand hotel, The Night Porter, Psycho motels count too. There are plays like Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite, andCalifornia Suite, which Glenn and I went to see while writing the song. We saw it as homework, or research.

I’ll put down $50 on, “No, no it’s not.”

I saw some manson allusions there.
You can check out any time you like
we haven’t had that spirit here since 1969
running for the door
pretty boys she called friends

I’ll match your $50.
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

Obligatory linkto the Jethro Tull song they [del]stole[/del] homaged the chord progression from.

I’ll have to see if I can find my copy of “Why Knock Rock”, a book about the e-eevils of rock music. I believe their idea about that particular line was that the Satanic church of Anton LaVey was founded in '69 and the spirit is the Holy Spirit. Also, if you look closely at the cover of the Hotel California album, Mr. LaVey is visible in one of the hotel windows.

I don’t know if any of that is accurate at all (this book, aside from being amusing bullshit, has other factual errors).

Urban myth, according to snopes. The person in the window was a lady hired for the photoshoot.

The CoS was actually created April 30, 1966. But the story is that they obtained the actual building in 1969- I doubt that’s true, however.

See, all these facts just take the fun right out of it. :slight_smile: