Artist: Eagles

Hotel California ~ Eagles

The Eagles are an American rock band that was formed in Los Angeles, California during the early 1970s.

The band formed in 1971 when Linda Ronstadt’s then-manager, John Boylan, recruited Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner from their session musician jobs for Linda Ronstadt. They were short a drummer until Frey telephoned Don Henley, whom he had met at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles. After auditioning for Ronstadt, she approved and the band backed her up on a two month tour and provided the opportunity for their first album recording, on her 1970 album Silk Purse. After their tenure with Ronstadt and with her encouragement, they then decided to form their own band, signing in 1970 to Asylum Records, the new label started by David Geffen. Geffen and partner Elliot Roberts also initially managed the band. The new group chose the name the Eagles as a nod to The Byrds (Leadon had been in Dillard & Clark with former Byrds singer Gene Clark and in The Flying Burrito Brothers with former Byrds Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke).

Hotel California

Hotel California” is the title song from the Eagles’ album of the same name and was released as a single in early 1977. It is one of the best-known songs of the album-oriented rock era. Writing credits for the song are shared by Don Felder, Don Henley and Glenn Frey. The Eagles’ original recording of the song features Henley singing the lead vocals and concludes with an extended section of electric guitar interplay between Felder and Joe Walsh.

The song’s lyrics describe the title establishment as a luxury resort where “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.” On the surface, the song tells the tale of a weary traveler who becomes trapped in a nightmarish luxury hotel that at first appeared inviting and tempting. The song is generally understood to be an allegory about hedonism and self-destruction in the Southern California music industry of the late 1970s; Don Henley called it “our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles” and later reiterated “[i]t’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.” In 2008, Don Felder described the origins of the lyrics:

“Don Henley and Glenn wrote most of the words. All of us kind of drove into LA at night. Nobody was from California, and if you drive into LA at night… you can just see this glow on the horizon of lights, and the images that start running through your head of Hollywood and all the dreams that you have, and so it was kind of about that… what we started writing the song about. Coming into LA… and from that Life In The Fast Lane came out of it, and Wasted Time and a bunch of other songs.”

The abstract nature of the lyrics has led listeners to their own interpretations over the years, including some claims, spread by word of mouth and internet, of Satanic aspects. Other rumors suggested that the “Hotel California” was referring to a hotel run by cannibals, the Camarillo State Mental Hospital, or a metaphor for cancer. These claims have been consistently refuted by the band.

The term “colitas” in the first stanza of the song is a desert flower, also known as Antelope sage or Colita de Rata. Both Don Henley and Don Felder have repeatedly and publicly stated that Colitas are “heady desert flowers.” Others assert that “colitas” is a Spanish term for “little tails” or “little bottoms”, and a reference to the buds of the Cannabis plant.

In a 2009 interview, Plain Dealer music critic John Soeder asked Don Henley this about the lyrics:

On “Hotel California,” you sing: “So I called up the captain / ‘Please bring me my wine’ / He said, ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.’” I realize I’m probably not the first to bring this to your attention, but wine isn’t a spirit. Wine is fermented; spirits are distilled. Do you regret that lyric?

Henley responded,

“Thanks for the tutorial and, no, you’re not the first to bring this to my attention-and you’re not the first to completely misinterpret the lyric and miss the metaphor. Believe me, I’ve consumed enough alcoholic beverages in my time to know how they are made and what the proper nomenclature is. But that line in the song has little or nothing to do with alcoholic beverages. It’s a sociopolitical statement. My only regret would be having to explain it in detail to you, which would defeat the purpose of using literary devices in songwriting and lower the discussion to some silly and irrelevant argument about chemical processes.”

According to Glenn Frey’s liner notes for The Very Best of Eagles, the use of the word “steely” in the lyric (referring to knives) was a playful nod to band Steely Dan, who had included the lyric “Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening” in their song “Everything You Did.”

The following video is from the 2006 “Hell Freezes Over” tour.

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/eagles-hotel_california.flv[/flv]

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 face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year, you can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes Benz
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that 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 face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
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
The 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 checkout any time you like,
but you can never leave!

  • Audio from the 2006 album, Hell Freezes Over:

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Victim of Love ~ Eagles

The Eagles are an American rock band that was formed in Los Angeles, California during the early 1970s.

The band formed in 1971 when Linda Ronstadt’s then-manager, John Boylan, recruited Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner from their session musician jobs for Linda Ronstadt. They were short a drummer until Frey telephoned Don Henley, whom he had met at the Troubadour club in Los Angeles. After auditioning for Ronstadt, she approved and the band backed her up on a two month tour and provided the opportunity for their first album recording, on her 1970 album Silk Purse. After their tenure with Ronstadt and with her encouragement, they then decided to form their own band, signing in 1970 to Asylum Records, the new label started by David Geffen. Geffen and partner Elliot Roberts also initially managed the band. The new group chose the name the Eagles as a nod to The Byrds (Leadon had been in Dillard & Clark with former Byrds singer Gene Clark and in The Flying Burrito Brothers with former Byrds Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, and Michael Clarke).

Victim of Love

[flv]http://djallyn.org/media/Eagles-VictimofLove.flv[/flv]

What kind of love have you got?
You should be home, but you’re not
A room full of noise and dangerous boys
Still makes you thirsty and hot
I heard about you and that man
There’s just one thing I don’t understand
You say he’s a liar and he put out
Your fire
How come you still got his gun in your hand?
Victim of love , I see a broken heart
You got your stories to tell
Victim of love, it’s such an easy part
And you know how to play it so well

Some people never come clean
I think you know what I mean
You’re walkin’ the wire, pain and desire
Looking for love in between

Tell me your secrets, I’ll tell you mine
This ain’t no time to be cool
And tell all your girlfriends,
You ‘been around the world’ friends
That talk is for losers and fools

Victim of love, I see a broken heart
I could be wrong, but I’m no
Victim of love, we’re not so far apart
Show me, what kind of love have you got?

Victim of love, you’re just a victim of love
I could be wrong , but I’m not
Victim of love, now you’re a victim of love
What kind of love have you got?
What kind of love have you got?
What kind of love have you got?

Audio from the 1982 Greatest Hits Volume 2 album: (242)