I think it might have been the advertisement of the Eagles’ album on TV recently. Now I’m once more hooked onto the song “Hotel California“. I can’t remember the first time I heard this song. This song was released in late 1976 as the first song in the Eagles’ album “Hotel California” when I was still negative 7 years ago!

I must have heard it in a live performance somewhere. After all, it’s such a classic. And just to digress for a while, Jeff from Cats in E Cradle who sings at Indochine Wisma can do a perfect rendition of this hit. But then on second thought, he can do perfect renditions of any song I’ve ever heard him sing. He’s like a walking CD player. I like to go Indochine because he’s really THAT good, and my sis who heard him for the first time on TV last night immediately commented that he sang exactly like how a CD would have sounded. But please don’t go Indochine – it’s already damn packed and it’s hard for me to get seats sometimes haha.

It’s sad that they lost the competition but the winner By Definition was really good too. I love their 2nd performance “A Little Less Conversation” (Elvis Presley)! It rocked! But it’s true how the 2 bands are so different (old school versus new school) and hence it’s unfair to compare. I think both are great. But the show “Live the Dream” on the other hand was really damn lousy. Last night’s finale was the first time and of course last time I watched it and pretty much everything sucked except for the contestants (except the other solo contestant who lost in the end – can’t hold a tune).

Ok that was quite a digression, but anyway I was listening to the song “Hotel California” and looking at the lyrics just now, and for the first time, I realized how freaky the lyrics really are! I’ve never seriously listened to the song before and mostly what I could get in my head is “Welcome to the Hotel California. Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place). Such a lovely face“. I thought it’s a song about a holiday even though I do think it sounds darn sad.

The last paragraph is the most disturbing:

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!’

Wah damn freaky la. Especially the last 2 lines “You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave“. *shiver* Like the type of 黑店 we see in Chinese kungfu movies where the inn people would kill the customers and use their meat to make 人肉叉烧包!

Very curious about what the song really meant, cause it really doesn’t make much sense just looking at the lyrics on the surface, I did what I do best: go onto the internet and search lo. And extremely interestingly, it appears that many people all over the world have been as curious as me about the story behind this fantastic song and discussing about it since 1976! It is really an interesting read online. There are so many stories that people have come up with.

Commonly heard theories include:

  1. Sometime in the mid to late 1980’s, the word got out that Todos Santos, which is a fairly run down little hotel also named Hotel California, located in the Baja Peninsula, Mexico, was home to this famous song.
  2. The Hotel California is a mental hospital (Camarillo Mental Hospital).
  3. It’s about Satanism. The Church of Satan was established in San Francisco, California, on April 30 1966 by Anton Szandor LaVey, who was the Church’s High Priest until his death in 1997. The Church of Satan was also known notoriously as Hotel California. Many have managed to interpret the lyrics as referring to the practice of Satanism. Especially since the Eagles were well-known Satan worshippers. An old Christian church in California was abandoned in 1969 and taken over by the Church of Satan. It is this church that is referred to by the lyrics, “We haven’t had the spirit here since 1969,” and “This could be Heaven, this could be Hell.”
  4. Another widely believed theory is that Hotel California is a metaphor for cocaine addiction.
  5. It’s about the pitfalls of living in southern California in the 1970s.

Up till today, no one really knows what this song really refers to! Except for the Eagles of course. But I won’t be surprised if it has been what the Eagles have been insisting – that there is no true meaning to this song! They must have spent years rolling on the floor clutching their sides and roaring in laughter as others try to interpret the song lyrics when there is actually no story behind the song at all! All this time with money rolling in from the sales of the album. *chink chink*

If you believe the Eagles to be men of depth, then maybe the song could be about drug addiction or Satanism. Otherwise, I think they just made up all those crap cause they sound so oh-so-mysterious, put it into a song and didn’t expect it to be such a great hit at all!