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Boomer Anthems: Hotel California

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 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 bends
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 place)
Such a lovely face.
They livin’ 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!’

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • jwm May 23, 2019, 11:18 AM

    Every time I want to crank up the volume a little I’m reminded of a hand-lettered sign I saw taped to the jukebox in a bar in San Diego:


  • Matt Burchett May 23, 2019, 5:32 PM

    Don Felder is a natural musical genius and “Hotel California” is a once-per-generation tune that after 40+ years still satisfies completely. With all due and great respect to Mr. Henley’s evocative and mysterious lyrics, his words in HC could not have achieved this sustainable orbit without the booster rocket of Mr. Felder’s inspiration and sublime musicality. And — I submit — The Eagles would not have achieved quite that pinnacle of success for which they’re warmly and eternally remembered by me.

    Full disclosure: I’m piss drunk as I’m typing and may regret pushing “Submit” in the morning, but then I can always play this song and blame the Spirit of 1969. It was a very good year … uh, and it kinda sucked too, but don’t they all?

    BTW, Don Henley ranks ultra-high among the greatest lyricists of the late 20th Century. He flat amazes me with his observational craft and the gemlike succinctness behind every word he’s ever put to music, even as I marvel that reality seems somehow to have left his formidable intellect unaffected between protracted adolescence and presumed adulthood. Remarkable.

  • Anderson May 23, 2019, 6:25 PM

    A History Of The Eagles is a must-see documentary.

  • H May 24, 2019, 4:02 AM

    Burchett: “in vino veritas” so preach it, brother.

    I would only add that if Henley and Frey hadn’t been such assholes, the band might REALLY have amounted to something. Sacking Felder was not the only dumb thing those two assholes did.

  • Larry Geiger May 24, 2019, 5:16 AM

    Oh good grief. Usually skip to the next song when it comes up in a playlist. Tedious. Not as bad as Dylan, but still brain numbing tedious.

  • Larry Geiger May 24, 2019, 5:22 AM

    Also, I don’t get this Boomer Anthem thing. It’s from 1976. Shouldn’t a “Boomer Anthem” be from the sixties or something? Maybe it’s the Post Boomer Baby Depression Demographic.

  • JiminAlaska May 24, 2019, 9:15 AM

    “So I called up the Captain, ‘Please bring me my wine’He said, ‘we haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty-nine’. ”

    In the mid sixties, Palmer, Alaska. If you’d been through Any-Small-Town in the mid west, you’d know Palmer and your way around town; Grain silo and feed store right beside the train depot, Dairy Queen 4 blocks down at the edge of town, hotel right across the street from the depot.

    Side door of the hotel, a sign simply saying Bar, plus a hanging, swinging in the wind, metal sign saying Grain Belt Beer.

    So, back in the mid sixties, I walk in the side door that says Bar, sit down at the bar, 2-3 other people there, exchanged a few howdys, howdos and ask for a bottle of Grain Belt. Bartender says we don’t have that brand, why’d you think we do? Told him the sign swinging outside the door. He noted that haven’t served it for over 20 years, maybe otta think about taking the sign down.

    Comes back to mind and brings a smile every time I hear that line from Hotel California.

  • pbird May 24, 2019, 3:00 PM

    Some of us, ahem, might be a little old and boring. (L.G.)

  • Gordon Scott May 25, 2019, 7:36 AM

    As Joe Walsh said, about the Felder vs Frey dispute, “It’s Don (Henley) and Glen’s band, man.”

    This, because Walsh himself had a successful solo career. He didn’t need to throw his weight around in the Eagles. But Felder said a snarky thing to a politician’s wife, and Frey never forgave him. And geez, Frey should be embarassed for caring about Alan freaking Cranston.

    How nice that they all survived the 70s and 80s and went on to make more good music.

  • Al Martin May 27, 2019, 8:41 AM

    I’m a “Boomer” I suppose, 76 tomorrow. I like music of that era and contemporary music that I can find on Radio Paradise and YouTube. That said, I have to say that I have absolutely detested that song from the first day I heard it. How it has been granted the status of “Anthem” is unimaginable. It is really bad, IMHO.