I love to look up and see why lyrics are used for certain songs and one of my favorite songs is Hotel California, so it seemed fitting. And it was. It turns out that it’s really about materialism and excess, however I like this interpretation a little bit better…
"An alternative interpretation of the meaning of the lyrics is that the song is a description of the journey from Need to Love and Marriage to Divorce and ultimately to the impossibility of regaining the life and happiness of the pre-divorce state.
Initially the traveler is feeling the need of a relationship (“My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim, I had to stop for the night”). The traveler meets his love and gets married (“There she stood in the doorway. I heard the mission bell”). A marriage commitment opens up the possibility of happiness but also the traveler is aware and vulnerable to the possibility of intense unhappiness (“And I was thinking to myself, this could be heaven or this could be hell”)
Unfortunately the marriage dissolves and his love becomes obsessed with money (“Her mind is Tiffany-twisted”) where Tiffany” refers to the very expensive jewelry store, Tiffany & Co. With the divorce there is the division of property - she got the Mercedes Benz. After the breakup when he sees her with any guys she reassures him that the pretty, pretty boys” are just friends.” In this new world of being single the other singles he meets do their dance in the courtyard” of life. They generally fall into two groups: There are those who can’t stop talking about their Ex (“Some dance to remember”) and there are those who don’t what to say anything at all about their past marriage (“some dance to forget”).
Now in this world of being divorced he longs to return the pre-divorced state of happiness (“So I called up the captain, please bring me my wine”), but he finds that his happiness is now irrevocably in the past (“We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969”).
Deep into the post-divorce single’s scene with “mirrors on the ceiling, the pink champagne on ice” he is reminded that “we are all just prisoners here, of our own device.” He and others want this divorce nightmare to be over, yet - “they stab it with their steely knives, but they just can’t kill the beast.” Now frustrated, he panics and is “running for the door. I had to find the passage back to the place I was before” But he is brought up short when the night man informs him that “You can checkout any time you like (commit suicide), but you can never leave” (become pre-divorced).
There are two choruses in the song and each mention the “Hotel California.” Around the time the song was written, California was experiencing the highest divorce rate in the nation. Each chorus has lines that remember his past marriage (“Such a lovely place”) and his past lover (“Such a lovely face”). The first chorus indicates that there can always be more divorces (“Plenty of room at the Hotel California, any time of year, you can find it here”). The second chorus points out that as a part of divorce you will always “bring your alibis.” (thanks, David - Redwood City, CA)”
And how appropriate considering tomorrow is the one year anniversary of me relocating back to Indiana after my divorce. :-)