This is the title track from the 1977 album with lyrics written by Don Felder, Don Henley and Glenn Frey. It was a big hit for the band and won them a Grammy award for Record of the Year.
The lyrics and their meaning have been the subject of many a discussion over the years due to their abstract nature but Don Henley described it as, ``...basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America...'' and described it as, ``...our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles.''
The song tells the story of a traveller checking into a hotel which appears to be the ultimate in luxury with every need catered for. However, we're soon left questioning whether such an idyllic resort would actually be all it promises to be with lines such as, `You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.' The song's popularity has led to many Eagles fans putting their own spin on the lyrics and common interpretations include Hotel California being run by cannibals; being some kind of devil worship venue; or about a mental hospital.
Co-writer Don Felder gave his version of how the song came to be written by explaining that they'd driven into Los Angeles for the first time at night. ``None of us are from California...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...''
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 Then 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 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 1969" 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're living 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"