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On a Dark Desert Highway

I guess I am attracted to loooong songs. My favorite song from 1977 is “Hotel California” by The Eagles. It is six minutes and 30 seconds long.
This was the first song that I learned all of the words to. This was not an easy task back in the day. We did not have the internet to look up the lyrics. I had to use my Panasonic tape recorder to record it off of the radio. I had to listen, stop, and rewind over and over, and still got some of them wrong.



One of the lyrics that I had messed up was “smell of colitas”. According to songfacts.com many people have wondered about those lyrics. I looked this up a long time ago and found it is a desert plant. Some believe it is a reference to marijuana.
Many wonder what the meaning of the song is. There are a lot of ideas from various people as to what the song is referring. They include: Satan worship, death, prison, marriage, cancer, addiction, and a mental hospital. I found an interpretation that interested me. It was a comparison to Proverbs 7:6-27 –At the window of my house I looked down through the lattice.
7 I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who had no sense.
8 He was going down the street near her corner,
walking along in the direction of her house
9 at twilight, as the day was fading,
as the dark of night set in.
10 Then out came a woman to meet him,
dressed like a prostitute and with crafty intent.
11 (She is unruly and defiant,
her feet never stay at home;
12 now in the street, now in the squares,
at every corner she lurks.)
13 She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said:
14 “Today I fulfilled my vows,
and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.
15 So I came out to meet you;
I looked for you and have found you!
16 I have covered my bed
with colored linens from Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed
with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.
18 Come, let’s drink deeply of love till morning;
let’s enjoy ourselves with love!
19 My husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey.
20 He took his purse filled with money
and will not be home till full moon.”
21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
she seduced him with her smooth talk.
22 All at once he followed her
like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer[a] stepping into a noose[b]
23 till an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
little knowing it will cost him his life.
24 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
pay attention to what I say.
25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways
or stray into her paths.
26 Many are the victims she has brought down;
her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is a highway to the grave,
leading down to the chambers of death..
Don Henley put it this way: “We were all middle-class kids from the Midwest. Hotel California was our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles.” Glenn Frey: “That record explores the under belly of success, the darker side of Paradise, which was sort of what we were experiencing in Los Angeles at that time. So that just sort of became a metaphor for the whole world and for everything you know. And we just decided to make it Hotel California.” I found
This song won the 1977 Grammy for Record Of The Year. The band did not show up to accept the award, as Don Henley did not believe in contests. Timothy B. Schmit had just joined the band, and he says they watched the ceremony on TV while they were rehearsing.

The hotel on the album cover is the Beverly Hills Hotel, known as the Pink Palace. It is often frequented by Hollywood stars.


Besides the length some other things that make “Hotel California” unique are: The introduction is a minute long, you can’t really dance to it, It stops in the middle when the drums stop: “mirrors on the ceiling,” section, and it has a two minute guitar solo at the end.
Picture credits:


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