Friday, February 26, 2016

Hotel California -- Location

I lived in the Los Angeles area for 11.5 years (1975-1986), where I also moved a dozen times within the area for various reasons, including a 5-year marriage and subsequent divorce. I particularly liked the village of Topanga, in the hills between the San Fernando Valley and the ocean, above Malibu, and lived in 3 different locations in those hills.

The first place in Topanga was a nice A-frame on a hill. The guy who rented it to me told me that the building up at the top of the hill, less than a hundred yards away, on the corner of the dirt road to the rental house, was the original Hotel California, presently occupied by other musicians.

This was no surprise to me since Topanga was home to many musicians & artists & writers & performers & various other misfits. Plus, the building looked like one of the old Spanish Missions that exist in various places in California. I would occasionally sit outside on my upper balcony, with a cup of tea in the morning, and meditate while viewing the splendid structure at the top of my hill -- such a lovely place -- such a lovely place.

Topanga and the A-frame were one of the favorite places I have called home over the years, having lived now at over 50 addresses in 12 states. But a computer contract on the other side of the Valley caused me to move on after only about 6 months.

Yes, indeed, I once lived just down the hill from the original Hotel California, immortalized in the song "Hotel California" by The Eagles.

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
"This could be Heaven or this could be Hell"
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here
(lyrics -- Hotel California)

The Eagles (Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Don Felder) are one of the world's best selling bands of all time, having sold more than 150 million records.

Formed in Los Angeles in 1971, The Eagles have had 5 Number-One singles, 6 Number-One albums and have received 6 Grammy Awards -- two of their albums (Greatest Hits & Hotel California) were ranked among the 20 best-selling albums in the USA, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

Hotel California was one of their greatest songs.

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
"Please bring me my wine"
He said, "We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine"
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis
(lyrics -- Hotel California)

Since I have been writing many non-fiction books containing various scattered topics, I decided to finally write a piece about the original Hotel California -- so I recently did some research Unfortunately, my research brought me back to earth about the location of Hotel California.

Apparently, Don Henley and Glenn Frey wrote most of the words. None of the band members were from California and as they drove into the Los Angeles area at night, they could see the glow of lights on the horizon.

Hotel California is "our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles… 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." Don Henley

There is no Hotel California -- it's an abstract vision of the hedonism of Southern California and the self-destruction of the music industry in the late 1970s.

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"
And in the master's chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can't kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax, " said the night man,
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave!
(lyrics -- Hotel California)

Glenn Frey used of the word "steely" in the lyric (referring to knives) as a playful acknowledgement to the band Steely Dan, who had included "Turn up the Eagles, the neighbors are listening" in their song "Everything You Did."

Glen Frey of the Eagles passed on to the Grand Hotel in the Sky, at age 67, on January 18, 2016.

Tthanks for the music -- Rest in Peace.

Hotel California -- you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

I very much liked southern California. Even though I checked out after 11-plus years many moons ago, I can never really leave because I still have fond memories and many friends lingering there.

Quote for the Day -- "Hey, I didn't make a big deal out of Hotel California -- the 18 million people that bought it did." Glenn Frey

Bret Burquest is the author of 11 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where you can leave anytime you like.

No comments: