Song: “Hotel California” by the Eagles
Reached #1: May 7, 1977 (their fourth, 1 week)
When Don Felder first wrote the music for “Hotel California”, before it had lyrics, it had the working title of “Mexican Reggae”. Maybe that’s memorialized by the use of a Mexican slang term for cannabis in the first verse (that’s the “calitas” in “warm smell of calitas”).
And maybe I’m just reading into the lyrics. Why not? That’s been happening for 35 years, after all. While the Eagles have said that “Hotel California” is an allegory for life in the record industry in Los Angeles – and that clearly makes sense, as that’s a business where some can never leave – there have been so many alternate interpretations that it’s impossible to catalog them all.
Mostly, of course, you have the drug-based interpretations. You have the Satanic interpretations. You have the ones that think the Hotel is a mental hospital. But… I don’t know, if the band is telling you what the song is about, isn’t there a pretty good chance they know what they’re talking about?
While the Hotel California album was, perhaps, the high point of the band’s run, it may also have been the beginning of the end – the band broke up three years after the album was released, a breakup so bad that the 1994 reunion tour was called “Hell Freezes Over” because it was always thought that was when they’d reunite. It wasn’t a surprise that they broke up, though – there wasn’t a room capable of holding the egos (or talent) of the band by 1980.
As far as I can tell, nobody’s tried to do a film based on the song’s lyrics. I am surprised by that. It seems like a very literal version could be a rather spooky horror film…
Tomorrow, an artist who made waves by coming out of the closet – even though nobody really believed he was in it.
Other songs that reached #1 on May 7:
1966 – “Monday, Monday” by the Mamas and the Papas (their first, 3 weeks)
1988 – “Wishing Well” by Terence Trent D’Arby (his first, 1 week)
2005 – “Hollaback Girl” by Gwen Stefani (her first solo, 4 weeks)