Don Felder - Don Henley - Glenn Frey

THE EAGLES                                                                   1977                                                                   Asylum Records #45386

The lead single from the album HOTEL CALIFORNIA. Chart: #1. Time: 6:30. Flip Side: "Pretty Maids All In A Row ". Released in U.S.A on February 22, 1977.

Album recorded at Criteria Studios, Miami, Florida and The Record Plant, Los Angeles, California, USA, March to October, 1976. Produced by Bill Szymczyk. Engineered by Bill Szymczyk, Allan Blazek, Ed Mashel and Bruce Hensal. Mixed by Bill Szymczyk in Miami.

The Eagles in their earlier years were forced to record music that was more softer then what they wanted. After three albums, they broke with their producer and took control of their destiny, adding Joe Walsh and, important to this track in particular, Don Felder. They wanted to rock. And rock they did. They created not only their most played track, but one of the greatest of the 1970's. While on the surface, it seemed to be about California, it was more about the excesses and self-indulgence of America as a whole. - Larry -



   Don Henley - lead vocals, drums, percussion
   Glenn Frey - vocals, guitar, keyboards
   Don Felder - vocals, guitar, slide guitar
   Joe Walsh - vocals, guitar, keyboards
   Randy Meisner - vocals, bass, guitarone

DON HENLEY - 2013 History of the Eagles

"It's a song about a journey from innocence to experience."


"That record explores the underbelly of success, the darker side of Paradise. Which was sort of what we were experiencing in Los Angeles at that time. So that just sort of became a metaphor for the whole world and for everything you know. And we just decided to make it Hotel California. So with a microcosm of everything else going on around us."

GLENN FREY - Cameron Crowe interview

"(Don and I wanted the song) "to open like an episode of the Twilight Zone. We take this guy and make him like a character in The Magus, where every time he walks through a door there’s a new version of reality. We wanted to write a song just like it was a movie.""

GLENN FREY - NBC's Bob Costas interview

(a cinematic montage) "just one shot to the next ... a picture of a guy on the highway, a picture of the hotel, the guy walks in, the door opens, strange people.We decided to create something strange, just to see if we could do it.""


"'Hotel California' was our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles. It was meant to be a metaphor for the United States, for the excesses this country has always been known for. It wasn't meant to be just about California or Beverly Hills. It was more or less taken that way, but we had broader intentions than that. When you love something, you have to point out the things that are going wrong."


"I had just leased this house out on the beach at Malibu--I guess it was around ‘74 or ‘75. I remember sitting in the living room, with the doors all wide open, on a spectacular July day. I had a bathing suit on and I was sitting on this couch, soaking wet, thinking the world is a wonderful place to be. I had this acoustic 12-string and I started tinkling around with it, and those “Hotel California” chords just kind of oozed out. Every once in a while it seems like the cosmos part and something great plops into your lap. I had a Teac four-track set up in one of the back bedrooms and I ran back there to put this idea down before I forgot it. I had one of those old rhythm ace things that Roland or somebody made. I remember it was set to play this cha cha beat, so I started it p, set the right tempo and played the 12-string on top of it. I didn’t do any more to it then because I was also working on “Victim of Love” at the same time. I had about six or eight song ideas I was working up. But a few days later I went back and listened to that 12-string thing with the cha cha beat, and it sounded pretty unique. So I came up with a bass line. A few days later I added some electric guitars. Everything was getting mixed down to mono, ping-ponging back and forth on this little four track. Finally I wound up with a cassette that had just about the entire arrangement that appears on the record, verbatim, with the exception of a few Joe Walsh licks on the end. All the harmony guitar stuff was there as was my solo on the end."

"When I gave Henley the cassette, it had eight or 10 different song ideas. He came back and said (imitating Henley), “I really love this one track on your tape. The one that sounds like a matador or you’re in Mexico.” We worked it all up and went into the studio and recorded it. "

"Even when we finished “Hotel California” I wasn’t convinced that it should be a single. I thought it was okay as an album piece because all those guitars were a lot of fun. But when Henley said, “I think it should be our single,” I said, “Are you kidding? The song is six minutes and change. They’re not going to play anything over three minutes-30 seconds on the radio. Here we’ve got something that’s twice their usual program length. It starts off quiet and it’s got this quiet breakdown in the middle...” I was very skeptical, but I just yielded to the wisdom of Guano, which is Henley’s nickname."


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 (background) Such a lovely face Plenty of room at the Hotel California Any time of year Any time of year (background) You can find it here You can find it here Her mind is Tiffany twisted She's got the Mercedes bends She's 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 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 (background) Such a lovely face They're livin' it up at the Hotel California What a nice surprise What a nice surprise (background) Bring your alibies 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 nightman We are programed to recieve You can check out any time you like But you can never leave