I doubt there are many songs that are more scrutinized than what may be the Eagles’ most recognizable classic, which was released 40 years ago this month.
The Eagles released Hotel California on December 8, 1976. And it seems as if the theories about what the heck the song was about began flying almost immediately.
And the theories are vast. Many of them sociopolitical and allegorical in nature, some from Don Henley himself, whose descriptions include “a journey from innocence to experience” to “a sociopolitical statement” and “more of a symbolic piece about America in general”.
The conjecture around these explanations has almost been more fun, with some thinking the titled hotel was about the Church of Satan, cannibalism and heroin addiction to (and this was the one I was convinced of for quite a while) a mental hospital.