Don Henley’s regret over his “Big Mistake” in Hotel California

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The iconic song ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles is more than just a catchy tune. With its widespread popularity, it’s no wonder that there are countless interpretations and inquiries about the song’s lyrics. For instance, in a 2009 conversation with a Cleveland reporter, a particular lyric caught attention: ‘So I called up the captain / ‘Please bring me my wine’ / He said, ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969.

The question posed to Don Henley revolved around the use of the word ‘spirit’ in reference to wine, given that wine undergoes fermentation rather than distillation. Responding to the implication that he might’ve erred in his terminology, Henley remarked:

“I appreciate the insight, and you’re not the first to point this out. But, understanding the lyric is about seeing beyond the literal. I assure you, my history with alcoholic drinks gives me enough knowledge about their creation. The main essence of the song isn’t about drinks but more about a social commentary.”

Henley also expressed some frustration over the need to elaborate on his artistic choices, commenting, “The real sorrow is having to break down the meaning, which detracts from the beauty of literature in music and pushes the conversation to needless debates about chemistry.”

In another twist, claims arose about potential lyric theft. Ian Anderson, the lead of Jethro Tull, observed similarities in the chord sequences of ‘Hotel California’ and their song ‘We Used To Know.’ Clearing the air, Anderson mentioned:

“It’s not about copying. Chord sequences are often repeated in the music industry. They can be in varied time signatures or keys, but finding a unique chord progression is a challenge.”

For a deeper dive, you can explore Don Henley’s insightful 2009 Cleveland chat and compare ‘Hotel California’ and ‘We Used to Know’ through the provided links.

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