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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
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'
'There's 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's got the Mercedes Benz
She's got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, 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 living it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise! (what a nice surprise! )
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling, 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 programed to receive'
'You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave'

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  • s
    Samus27Sep 6, 2008 at 12:29 am

    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 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"[2] 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."[3]

    During a July 17, 2008 appearance on The Howard Stern Show on Sirius Satellite Radio, Don Felder described the origins of the lyrics:

    "Don Henley and Glen 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 and metaphoric nature of the song 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 a mental hospital, a real hotel run by cannibals, or a metaphor for cancer. These claims have been consistently refuted by the band.[4]

    The term "colitas" in the first stanza of the song is a desert flower, also known as Antelope sage or Colita de Rata [5]. Both Don Henley and Don Felder have repeatedly and publicly stated that Colitas are "heady desert flowers."[citation needed] Others assert that "colitas" is a Spanish term for "little tails." This is a reference to the buds of the Cannabis plant.[6]

    Seriously people, get it right, do your research. The EAGLES of all bands wouldn't right a song about satanism.

    Colitas is not pot, at least not their reference in the song. And Pot doesn't make you trip, unless it's laced with something.
  • f
    FriendlyGirl78Sep 28, 2008 at 5:42 pm
    I'm sorry but I think you guys are wrong. I think the song is about drugs in the beginning I had a feeling he was talkin about drugs and he was gettin high and got into a car crash and died and he said "this could be heaven or this could be hell" and that's exactly what that meant he didn't know if he was in heaven or hell because he wasn't the best person he may have been good but he made some mistakes and then they're basically just talkin about all the vices we have like with the woman it was sex "we are all just prisoners here or our own device " but we don't have to be because we have Jesus to save us please listen people I'm sorry I just don't believe that crap about this song being satanic. I love this song and it's not like that guys NO it doesn't say anything about Jesus in the song but I just had to say that ! and I think the thing about the alibis is because they are talking about murder and sin and stuff and one more thing I just wanted to let you know that what would be a place where you could check out but never leave? anywhere where you're dead: cemetary,morgure,funeral home,and also hell I think they are talkin about hell But they do call the song Hotel California ! but maybe they were sayin that to Live in California is like living in Hell and all the drugs and stuff maybe the weren't on drugs maybe the ALMOST got caught up in it but they caught themselves you never know what someone was feeling when they wrote that you can see that I'm a writer. so I know trust me! Well God Bless Guys!
  • r
    RobskyApr 15, 2009 at 1:43 am
    ...this song must remind every listener, it is what we do that leads us to somewhere... once we choose our final destination, we can never leave be careful,..we are just prisoners here of our own device!!!
  • e
    EAGOct 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm
    I looked up colitas and while it isn't pot, it does refer to a portion of the marijuana plant. I've always thought this song was about drugs. Either dying from an overdose or going to a rehab clinic.
  • ChrisFishA-CrossRiff
    ChrisFishA-CrossRiffMay 20, 2008 at 5:55 pm
    There are too many "meanings" to this song. Don Henley said it was about how the music industry was at the time. It was directed toward all the artists and the music.

    Some people think it deals with Satanism. I can see where the allusions come from, but there's no hard evidence to support it. I believe most of the members of the band dabbled in the occult and sects of spirituality like Hindu, Scientology, Witchcraft, etc...

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