Hotel California


“The song has been misinterpreted by just about everyone – from every critic to a lot of Christian fundamentalists who have labeled it satanic. I can only laugh and shake my head. It is not about life in CA per se, but about excess. I meant it to be more a symbolic piece about America in general, which is a land of excess. 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 its a song about loss of innocence.”Don Henley (135)
“I just loved the imagery of that song. We liked the way Steely Dan would say anything. They referred to the Eagles in “Everything You Did” so we decided to send them a message back. That’s why we used the words “they stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast”.”Glenn Frey (135)
“We were all middle class kids from the MidWest. “Hotel California” was our interpretation of the high life in LA.”Don Henley (136)
“It’s a story about the journey from innocence to experience.”Don Henley (137)
“This was our reaction to what was happening to us at the time.”Glenn Frey (137)
“The album was a sort of concept album and there was always a commentary somewhere about our view of the music business. The Hotel was a metaphor for the myth making of Southern California and the American dream. There’s a fine line between the dream and a nightmare.”Don Henley (137)
“Well, actually, nobody in the band except for Bernie Leadon and later Timothy Schmit were from California. Everybody was from a different state. Walsh was from Kansas, Henley was from Texas, Glenn was from Detroit, I was from Florida. And we all drove into Los Angeles on what used to be Route 66. As you’re driving in Los Angeles at night, you can see the glow of the energy and the lights of Hollywood and Los Angeles for 100 miles out in the desert. And on the horizon, as you’re driving in, all of these images start coming into your mind of the propaganda and advertisement you’ve experienced about California. In other words, the movie stars, the stars on Hollywood Boulevard, the beaches, bikinis, palm trees, all those images that you see and that people think of when they think of California start running through your mind. You’re anticipating that. That’s all you know of California. And the colitas is a plant that grows in the desert that blooms at night, and it has this kind of pungent, almost funky smell. Don Henley came up with a lot of the lyrics for that song, and he came up with colitas. When we try to write lyrics, we try to write lyrics that touch multiple senses, things you can see, smell, taste, hear. “I heard the mission bell,” you know, or “the warm smell of colitas,” talking about being able to relate something through your sense of smell. Just those sort of things. So that’s kind of where “colitas” came from. It’s a plant that grows in the desert and blooms at night.”Don Felder (130)
“It [the song – Ed] was anti-excess cocaine.”Glenn Frey (556)
“Actually, I was a little disappointed with how the record was taken, because I meant it in a much broader sense than a commentary about California. I was looking at American culture, and when I called that one song “Hotel California”, I was simply using California as a microcosm for the rest of America and for the self-indulgence of our entire culture. It was, to a certain extent, about California, about the excesses out here. But in many instances, as California goes, so goes the nation. Things simply happen out here or in New York first  whether it’s with drugs or fashion or artistic movements or economic trends  and then work their way toward the middle of America. And that’s what I was trying to get at.”Don Henley (571)

Take It To The Limit


“This is a song about getting old. How you keep trying until you’ve done everything you expected to do, achieved everything you wanted, yet you have to keep going for one more day, keep punching away…”Randy Meisner (137)

Hole In The World


“This was our visceral reaction to 9/11.”Don Henley (137)

Long Road Out Of Eden


“Story of the war in Iraq.”Glenn Frey (137)

Take It Easy


“I was in the middle of making my first album, and it was taking so long the engineer needed time off. So I went on this car trip in a beat-up ’53 Willys wagon. I got to Utah by way of Wilmslow, Arizona, then my car died. I was picked up by these people I’d been partying with in Utah, these ex-Army MPs. I started writing “Take It Easy” in the back of their van. I got back to town and Glenn Frey came to see me in the studio. I sang this song for him. It wasn’t done but he wanted it for the Eagles. He added a verse and a chorus. I had “standing on the corner in Wilmslow, Arizona.” But I didn’t even know what a flatbed Ford was. You need a guy like Glenn. The girl “slowing down to take a look at me” – that’s pure Glenn Frey.”Jackson Browne (483)

Life In The Fast Lane


“And “Life In The Fast Lane,” by God if they didn’t turn that into exactly what we were trying to warn them about. Everybody’s got cocaine now, no matter how shitty it is. I could hardly listen to that song when we were recording it because I was getting high a lot at that time and the song made me ill. We were trying to paint a picture that cocaine wasn’t that great. It turns you on. It messed up my back muscles, it messed up my nerves, it messed up my stomach and it makes you paranoid.”Don Henley (556)

On The Border


“That song was a thinly, perhaps I should say thickly, disguised political piece about Nixon and all the trouble he was in. But we weren’t old and mature enough to make any sense out of it then, I think.”Don Henley (571)

The Last Resort


“The gist of the song was that when we find something good, we destroy it by our presence – by the very fact that man is the only animal on earth that is capable of destroying his environment.”Don Henley (571)

In The City


“I did junior high school in Queens and high school in New Jersey. But I lived in Santa Barbara for about four or five years and I met a guy there named Barry De Vorzon. He was working on this movie called The Warriors, and he explained to me that it was about gangs in New York. Would I do a song for it? Sure. He and I came up with the words after reading the screenplay.That movie still has a cult following. Shaquille O’Neal once told me it was his favorite film ever. But when it first came out it didn’t really get any  recognition, and the song was just on the album. But Don and Glenn thought it could be a brilliant Eagles song, too. They said, “Well, look, let’s redo it and give it the recognition it deserves.” So we did [for the 1979 Eagles album The Long Run].”Joe Walsh (767)

Witchy Woman


“The female character in the song is a composite. I had been reading a book about the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s troubled wife, Zelda, who, in her thirties and forties, drifted in and out of psychiatric hospitals suffering from schizophrenia (or more likely, bipolar disorder), while her husband’s health and career spiraled downward, due to his abuse of alcohol. Another inspiration for the song was the roommate of a girl I was seeing in the early 1970s. All things occult were popular in those days. Ouija boards, séances, palm reading, etc. A lot of the girls were into what was called “white witchcraft,” that is, they were practitioners of folk magic for benevolent purposes, as distinguished from malevolent witchcraft or black magic. I think some of them practiced a little of both. I thought it was charming and seductive, but I never took any of it seriously. For the most part, it was just a phase people were passing through, part of the overall youth movement and the quest for spirituality, which included a re-enchantment with the “old ways.” It was harmless fun. Another inspiration for that song may have been the shamanistic aspects of the Carlos Castaneda books we were intrigued with at the time. In the late Sixties and early Seventies, the Peruvian-born Castaneda became a popular American author while earning his Ph.D. at UCLA.”Don Henley (768)