Fortunately for fans of classic rock, the Eagles are back on tour, and their tickets are back on sale! The band dominated the rock charts in the ’70s, and it’s hard to find classic rock fans who don’t appreciate their music and songwriting. As one of the most popular bands of their era, they gave a lot to the world of rock music.
The band formed in 1971, and quickly rose to the ranks of the top rock gods of the time. But of all their many hit singles, “Hotel California” persists in remaining their best known–and probably their best loved. The lyrics of the song have been the subject of speculation and interpretation in the many years since it first was released on the radio and when the Eagles started performing it at their shows. Some of those interpretations (about the decadence of Southern California in the ’70s) make sense. But there are some wild variations that make you wonder what their originators were smoking when they were listening to the song (to be fair, the Eagles could probably tell you exactly what they were smoking).
The lyrics that open the song set the stage for the most common interpretation:
“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 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’,” the lyrics go.
The “warm smell of colitas” is typically considered to be a reference to marijuana smoke, and drugs appear to be taking their effect as the narrator of the song experiences slowed thoughts and dim vision. The swirling fog of drug use that the band was heavily entrenched in by the ’70s is perfectly described as a questionable heaven or hell.
Certain lyrics later on seem to provoke the most confusion, though. “They gathered for the feast/They stab it with their steely knives/But they just can’t kill the beast” seems to refer to an insatiable gluttony for material pleasures. But for some, this has been considered a veiled reference to the Beast referred to in the Book of Revelations, leading them to think the song is in fact about Satanic worship.
Crazy but true. According to http://Snopes.com, there have been numerous email rumors over the years about the song, with many suggesting that the Hotel California was an old church bought by Satan worshippers, or even that it referred to the Camarillo State Mental Hospital, which some claim was given the nickname “Hotel California.”
Other rumors go much farther, suggesting that the figures that appear in the album’s back and inside cover are actually the spirits of the dead, accidentally photographed at a Satanic church. Another rumor suggests a man leaning on a mop was actually a corpse killed by church members–or the band themselves.
The band has continuously asserted the more logical interpretation of the song’s meaning, but that hasn’t stopped the speculation. No matter which interpretation you believe, make sure you see the band live by getting Eagles tickets now from http://www.stubhub.com/eagles-tickets.
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