Songsplaining: Decoding the Eagles’ Signature Song, Hotel California

It’s no mystery that rock stars during the 1970s weren’t kind to hotel rooms (to put it nicely). Take it from on-and-off-again Eagles’ guitarist Joe Walsh, who described the situation frankly: “I live in hotels, tear out the walls. I have accountants pay for it all.” To give you an example, Walsh recalled a single night at Chicago’s Astor Towers when he and Blues Brothers star John Belushi accumulated a $28,000 damage bill.


The Eagles, l to r: Bernie Leadon, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Don Felder, ca. the early 1970s. Photo By Everett/Shutterstock

Misuse of the hospitality industry was basically part of the whole rock star legend. Let’s envision Led Zeppelin’s drummer John Bonham roaring down the halls of L.A.’s Continental Hyatt on a Harley Davidson, and The Who’s drummer Keith Moon driving his Lincoln Continental into the swimming pool of Flint Michigan’s Holiday Inn.

But the Eagles? The laid-back band who urged America to “Take It Easy”? They weren’t really a part of that legend. No, they made their own history…