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This article is about the song. Side A of the U. Since its release, “Hotel California” has been covered by a number of artists and has become a part of international popular culture. Eagles disliked the idea and it never came to fruition. Don Felder composed the melody for “Hotel California. Glenn Frey provided the outline of “Hotel California. Don Henley wrote the lyrics to “Hotel California” with Frey.
Leadon advised him to make tapes of songs he wrote for the band so that other band members like Henley, whose forte is in writing lyrics, might work with him on finishing the songs they like. The demos he made were always instrumental, and on every album project he would submit 15 or 16 ideas. Frey and Henley were both interested in the tune after hearing the demo, and discussed the concept for the lyrics. Don Henley and Glenn wrote most of the words. All of us kind of drove into L. Nobody was from California, and if you drive into L.
Hollywood and all the dreams that you have, and so it was kind of about that what we started writing the song about. Henley said of their personal and professional experience in LA: “We were getting an extensive education, in life, in love, in business. In that sense it became something of a symbol, and the ‘Hotel’ the locus of all that LA had come to mean for us. In a sentence, I’d sum it up as the end of the innocence, round one. Frey came up with a cinematic scenario of a person who, tired from driving a long distance in a desert, saw a place for a rest and pulled in for the night, but entered “a weird world peopled by freaky characters”, and became “quickly spooked by the claustrophobic feeling of being caught in a disturbing web from which he may never escape.
We wanted to write a song just like it was a movie. Frey continued: “We decided to create something strange, just to see if we could do it. Henley then wrote most of the lyrics based on Frey’s idea, and sought inspiration for the writing by driving out into the desert as well as from films and theater. They first recorded a riff, but when it came to recording the vocal, it was found to be in too high a key for Henley’s voice, so Felder progressively lowered the key from E minor, eventually settling on B minor. The second recording however was judged too fast.
In Miami, the band fine-tuned the instrumentation and the lyrics and recorded numerous takes. Five or six best ones were selected, and the best parts were then spliced together to create the released version. Felder, which took the two of them sitting together working for around three days to achieve the necessary precision. Walsh and Felder initially started improvising but Henley insisted that the recording should follow the music as first recorded in Felder’s demo. Henley decided that the song should be a single, although Felder had doubts and the record company was reluctant to release it because, at over six minutes, its duration far exceeded that of the songs generally played by radio stations. The band took a stand and refused the label’s request to shorten the song. 19 on its 1977 Pop Singles year-end chart.
500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. At the induction of the Eagles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, all seven former and present members of the band reunited to perform “Hotel California”. Henley said that the song was meant to be “more of a symbolic piece about America in general”, and added: “Lyrically, the song deals with traditional or classical themes of conflict: darkness and light, good and evil, youth and age, the spiritual versus the secular. I guess you could say it’s a song about loss of innocence. It’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.