“Hotel California” The Eagles
Probably the most recognisable opening few chords of any pop song. It also features some classic lines like “You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave” and was released as a single in February 1977. 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 is seven minutes long which made it very popular with DJs on radio stations as it gave them plenty of time to go to the toilet and back before the track ended.
This song was requested by Miriam McCormick. Although Miriam admits that she has never been to California this song still evokes strong emotions. She says “Once heard one of the Eagles trying to explain what it’s about. I don’t think they knew themselves …. He concluded by saying it could best be described as being “a song about going from innocence to experience“.
I spent a great part of my working life staying in hotels and although they were all comfortable, they weren’t home. You very quickly grow tired of eating alone or getting trapped in a conversation with a bunch of business men discussing their golf handicaps.
On one occasion, I had stayed in the same hotel chain three nights in a row but in different cities. Each room was identical in every respect. On the last night waiting for sleep I became very confused about where I was and I wrote the name of the town I was staying in on a post-it note and stuck it on the alarm clock. Work had left me stressed out and tired. I often spent my weekends in bed plagued by migraine headaches. The pain sometimes so powerful it would make me vomit.
When I got home and told my wife Lynda about the post-it note she said that it was time to pack the job in and find another way of making a living.
Twelve months later at the age of 53, I was a student starting a Master’s Degree in Poetry and Creative Writing at Newcastle University. I think Lynda supporting me in a new career probably saved my life, I certainly have never been happier and more content then I have been standing in a school hall with 30 kids all fired up and performing their own poetry on a stage in front of the whole school.
Within a couple of years of leaving work my migraines stopped and the psoriasis that covered my legs cleared up. I have not been bothered by either since.
Wet Behind the Ears
I have thrown myself off a cliff
Plunging not flying
Stomach nerves knotted
A snake oil salesman
Who has slipped his skin
Demobbed from the rat race
On a tour of duty in Academe
Wet behind my student ears
Striding through the September rain
The hotel bedroom door slams shut
©Jeff Price October 2018