Okay, I gotta be honest. I really like the Eagles – I mean I REALLY like The Eagles – but I also really dislike this song. In fact, of all songs, Hotel California would rate as one of those I dislike the most.
In fact, as a treatment for insomnia, this song is superior to most sleeping pills on the market! But, other people love it, some even suggesting it is the best song of all time, and that’s what makes music so much fun.
The Eagles formed in Los Angeles in 1971 and have been phenomenally successful.
The band has had;
- Five #1 singles
- Six #1 albums
- Six Grammy awards
- Five American Music Awards.
Two of The Eagles’ albums rank among the twenty best-selling albums of all time – Greatest Hits (1971–1975) (42 million sold) and Hotel California. The album Hotel California comes in at #37 in Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and The Eagles come in at #75 in the Rolling Stone magazine’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
In total they’ve sold over 120 million albums worldwide and are the highest selling American band of all time.
All that’s not too bad for a band that started life as Linda Ronstadt’s backing band! Although, admittedly, they only played one gig with her – obviously destined for greater things.
In 1998 The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On that night all seven past and present members of the band turned out and performed Hotel California.
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- Hotel California is from the Eagles’ album of the same name.
- The single Hotel California was released in February 1977 and was written by Eagles members Don Felder, Don Henley and Glenn Frey.
- Hotel California reached #1 on the US singles chart in May 1977.
- It sold over 1,000,000 copies and won the 1977 Record of the Year Grammy. The Eagles did not show up to collect their award because Don Henley believed music shouldn’t be reduced to a contest.
- In 2009, Hotel California had sold over 1,000,000 digital downloads.
- The lyrics have led to many strange interpretations. Some Christian evangelists suggested Hotel California referred to a San Francisco hotel purchased by Anton LaVey (founder of the Church of Satan) and converted into a place of Satanic worship. Others suggested that Hotel California was a State Mental Hospital. Don Henley said it was simply,
“Our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles. It’s basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, something we knew a lot about.”
- The use of the word “steely” in the words of Hotel California (“They stab it with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast”) was a passing reference to Steely Dan, who had used the words, “Turn up the Eagles, the neighbours are listening” in their song Everything You Did.
- Hotel California lyrics.