Things That Bring Back Memories – “Hotel California” #MondayMemories 32

Things That Bring Back Memories

For this “Things That Bring Back Memories” post, I am going to pick something pertaining to the topic of “Music“.  There are so many songs that I can remember from years ago, and since music is a huge part of our family, the memories come streaming back when you hear a certain song.

Do you ever have that tune that comes on the radio, and you can just automatically remember where you were, who you were with and what you were doing?  It amazes me, how as I get older, I can’t remember things from last week – but have that certain song come on the radio on a “Flashback” day, and “BOOM”, I am back in the place I was when I heard it.  Don’t know if it’s the side effects of my brain surgery, which they said might affect certain memory, but I’m so glad that I can remember some things of the “good old days.”


So to get on with this “Things That Brings Back Memories” blog post for this week, I’m going to pick “Hotel California” by the Eagles, which was released in February, 1977.  This is one of those songs, that with the first few notes, you know exactly what will come from the speakers.  Great sound, great music and timeless!!  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here it is:

The song “Hotel California” is one that all of us from the 70’s/80’s grew up with.  It was played on the radio stations, everyone had the record…yeah, a record!!  If you don’t know what that is, ask your parents, or grandparents. 🙂

All in all, this is still one of the favorites.  I remember an old vacant hotel in Ontario, California that we called “Hotel California”.  It was one of those places to go with the friends and just hang out in.  Freaky and said to be haunted…back then, that was cool!

So, is there a song that brings back great memories for you? Leave a comment below, and let me know.


More Info on the Song:

“Hotel California” is the title track from the Eagles’ album of the same name and was released as a single in February 1977. It is one of the best known hotelsongs of the album-oriented rock era. Writing credits for the song are shared by Don Felder (music), Don Henley, and Glenn Frey (lyrics). The Eagles’ original recording of the song features Henley singing the lead vocals and concludes with an extended section of electric guitar interplay between Felder and Joe Walsh. The song has been given several interpretations by fans and critics alike, but the Eagles have described it as their “interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles”.  In the 2013 documentary History of the Eagles, Henley said that the song was about “a journey from innocence to experience…that’s all”.

“Hotel California” topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for one week in May 1977 and peaked at number 10 on the Easy Listening chart. Billboard ranked it number 19 on its 1977 Pop Singles year-end chart. Three months after its first release, the single was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), representing one million copies shipped. The Eagles also won the 1977 Grammy Award for Record of the Year for “Hotel California” at the 20th Grammy Awards in 1978.  In 2009, the song “Hotel California” was certified Platinum (Digital Sales Award) by the RIAA for sales of one million digital downloads.

The music for this song originated from a demo written and recorded by Don Felder and given to Don Henley and Glenn Frey to write lyrics for it. Once finished it was recorded in the key of E minor which turned out to be the wrong key for Don Henley to sing and was later re-recorded in the proper key for his voice which was B minor. The song is rated highly in many rock music lists and polls; Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 49 on hotelits list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.  It is also one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. The song’s guitar solo was voted the best solo of all time by readers of Guitarist magazine in 1998, and was ranked 8th on Guitar Magazine ’​s Top 100 Guitar Solos. The song was also included in the music video game Guitar Hero World Tour. It was most recently voted the #1 12-string guitar song by Guitar World magazine.

As one of the group’s most popular and well-known songs, “Hotel California” has been a concert staple for the band since its release. Performances of the song appear on the Eagles’ 1980 live album, simply called Live, and in an acoustic version on the 1994 Hell Freezes Over reunion concert CD and video release. The Hell Freezes Over version is performed using eight guitars and has a decidedly Spanish sound, with Don Felder’s flamenco-inspired arrangement and intro. During the band’s Farewell 1 Tour-Live from Melbourne, the song was performed in a manner closer to the original 1977 album version, but with a trumpet interlude in the beginning.

The lyrics weave a surrealistic tale in which a weary traveler checks into a luxury hotel. The hotel at first appears inviting and tempting, but it turns out to be a nightmarish place where “you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave”. The song is an allegory about hedonism, self-destruction, and greed in the music industry of the late 1970s.[10] Don Henley called it “our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles” and later reiterated: “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.”  In 2008, Don Felder described the origins of the lyrics: Don Henley and Glenn wrote most of the words. All of us kind of drove into L.A. at night. Nobody was from California, and if you drive into L.A. at night… you can just see this glow on the horizon of lights, and the images that start running through your head of Hollywood and all the dreams that you have, and so it was kind of about that… what we started writing the song about. Coming into L.A…. and from that ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ came out of it, and ‘Wasted Time’ and a bunch of other songs.


More Info on the Band:

The Eagles are an American rock band formed in Los Angeles in 1971 by Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. With five number-one singles, six Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, and six number one albums, the Eagles were one of the most successful hotelmusical acts of the 1970s. At the end of the 20th century, two of their albums, Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and Hotel California, were ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the United States according to the Recording Industry Association of America. Hotel California is ranked 37th in Rolling Stone ’​s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” and the band was ranked number 75 on the magazine’s 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

The Eagles are one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time, having sold more than 150 million records—100 million in the U.S. alone—including 42 million copies of Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) and 32 million copies of Hotel California. “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)” was the best selling album of the 20th century in the U.S.  They are the fifth-highest-selling music act and highest-selling American band in U.S. history. No American band sold more records than the Eagles during the 1970’s.

The Eagles released their self-titled debut album in 1972, which spawned three top 40 singles: “Take It Easy”, “Witchy Woman”, and “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. Their next album, Desperado (1973), was less successful than the first, only reaching number 41 on the charts; neither of its singles reached the top 40. However, the album contained two of the band’s most popular tracks: “Desperado” and “Tequila Sunrise”. They released On the Border in 1974, adding guitarist Don Felder midway through the recording of the album. The album generated two top 40 singles: “Already Gone” and their first number one, “Best of My Love”.

It was not until 1975’s One of These Nights that the Eagles became arguably America’s biggest band. The album included three top 10 singles: “One of These Nights”, “Lyin’ Eyes”, and “Take It to the Limit”, the first hitting the top of the charts. They continued that success and hit their commercial peak in late 1976 with the release of Hotel California, which would go on to sell more than 16 million copies in the U.S. alone and more than 32 million copies worldwide. The album yielded two number-one singles, “New Kid in Town” and “Hotel California”. They released their last studio album for nearly 28 years in 1979 with The Long Run, which spawned three top 10 singles: “Heartache Tonight”, “The Long Run”, and “I Can’t Tell You Why”, the lead single being another chart-topping hit.

The Eagles disbanded in July 1980 but reunited in 1994 for the album Hell Freezes Over, a mix of live and new studio tracks. They have toured intermittently since then and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2007, the Eagles released Long Road Out of Eden, their first full studio album in 28 years and their sixth number one album. The next year they launched the Long Road Out of Eden Tour in support of the album. In 2013, they began the extended History of the Eagles Tour in conjunction with the band’s documentary release, History of the Eagles.


Some Other Interesting Facts:

  • On November 25, 2007 Henley appeared on the TV news show 60 Minutes, where he was told, “everyone wants to know what this song means.” Henley replied: “I know, it’s so boring. It’s a song about the dark underbelly of the American Dream, and about excess in America which was something we knew about.”
  • This was recorded at three different sessions before the Eagles got the version they wanted. The biggest problem was finding the right key for Henley’s vocal.
  • The line “They stab it with their steely knives but they just can’t kill the beast” is a reference to Steely Dan. The bands shared the same manager (Irving Azoff) and had a friendly rivalry. The year before, Steely Dan included the line “Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening” on their song “Everything You Did.” 
  • All seven past and present members of the Eagles performed this in 1998 when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
  • The hotel on the album cover is the Beverly Hills Hotel, known as the Pink Palace. It is often frequented by Hollywood stars. The photo was taken by photographers David Alexander and John Kosh, who sat in a cherry-picker about 60 feet above Sunset Boulevard to get the shot of the hotel at sunset from above the trees. The rush-hour traffic made it a harrowing experience.
  • The Eagles have never done an endorsement deal or let their music be used for commercial use.

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Thanks for stopping by today.  Please be sure to leave a comment, if this song meant something to you, too.  Or to just let me know what you think of the story in this post! Thanks and have a great day!!  TigerStrypes claims no credit for any images used on this post, unless otherwise noted. Images in this post are copyright to their respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please email us with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed. Thanks and have a great day!!

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Shell Feis
9 years ago

Hotel California is one of those songs for me, too- the ones that instantly bring back memories. I’m a 90’s kid, but I live in Vegas so when my hubby & I were first dating as teenagers we went to California a lot & always played this song on the way! Every time I hear it I always think of those road trips.

Robin Gagnon
9 years ago

I’ve always loved that song. It creates such a strong atmosphere even after hearing it hundreds of times.

9 years ago

I love the way music inspires memories & the emotions that go along with! Wish I would have seen the Eagles in concert…

9 years ago

Some of this was before my time but I remember how much my mother loved the Eagles. Great memories!

Liz Mays
9 years ago

I remember hearing that song play in my brother’s room all the time. What a great flashback memory you gave me of a terrific song.

9 years ago

This was seriously one of my favorite songs when I was a teenage and it really takes me back! You post reminded me why I loved it so much and also it was interesting to hear some of the back story!

Carlee C
9 years ago

I love the sound of the Eagles. Don Henley’s voice is so amazing and I loved him in his solo career as well. Now I have those awesome songs in my head again.

dana vento
9 years ago

The think about thinking back, is it makes you want to step back. I often think about great days past. Thanks so much for this:)

9 years ago

Music has always been something that brings back a lot of memories for me. I have always enjoyed reminiscing with songs over the years.

9 years ago

Man, I still know every word to that song. It’s amazing how memories can rush back when you hear certain songs.

9 years ago

Thanks for the insight about The Eagles! I had heard of them, but honestly have never really thought twice about their songs as I listen to newer songs / groups. My parents sure use to love their music though.

Linda Kinsman
9 years ago

Love this song! It really is one of the top classics. I think it’s so appealing because the lyrics paint such a vivid picture of the scenes throught the song. Being from California, I can almost smell the Clematus rising up through the air. 🙂

9 years ago

Such a classic! I can’t believe it was recorded three times!

Elizabeth @ Being MVP
9 years ago

What an interesting read about the song! I think Hubs is more familiar with this era 😉

Sara P. (@SensiblySara)

I love the Eagles and ‘Hotel California’ is SUCH a good song! I didn’t realize the song was recorded 3 times!

9 years ago

Though this is a little before my time I know the songs you mentioned all too well! Thanks for memory lane. 😉

Xenia @ Thanks, Mail Carrier

Ahh, this song is such a classic, I love it! And how cool that you had a “Hotel California” to actually hang out in!