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Hotel California touches on many themes, including loss of innocence, addiction to drugs, death, the dangers of fame,
shallow relationships, divorce and loss of love, and the "American Dream." This song was first recored in 1976, which was the 200th
birthday of the United States.
The singer of the song, Don Henley, said:
“...the country is 200 years old, so we figured
since we are the Eagles and the Eagle is our national symbol, that we should make a statement using California
as a microcosm of the whole United States... We've been okay so far,
for 200 years, but we're gonna have to change if we're
gonna continue to be around".
In other words, the Hotel California, with all of its problems, represents the United States, with all of its problems!
An interesting idiomatic expression that students of English can learn from this "you can check out any time you like". This English
expression can be used in a hotel of course, but it can also mean "to die" or "to kill yourself", as if you are "checking out"
of the Earth. Many people say that this part of the song means that you can die, or even kill yourself, but you can never escape from
a bad marriage!
If you want to try to understand more about the song, go to
Song Facts to read all about it.