As a young Christian in the early 1980's I was quickly introduced to the Christian interpretation of Hotel California (written and performed by the Eagles in 1977). The album won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in '77.
Hotel California has haunting lyrics and an even more haunting musical score (at least it does for me). The question back then - and, for some - now is this: Does the Hotel California refer to the church of Satan, as many Christians through the years have claimed?
The Eagles' Glenn Frey said this about the lyrics:
"That record explores the under belly of success, the darker side of Paradise. Which was sort of what we were experiencing in Los Angeles at that time. So that just sort of became a metaphor for the whole world and for everything you know. And we just decided to make it Hotel California. So with a microcosm of everything else going on around us." (song facts)
The song, according to the Eagles, was about the drugs, alcohol, and fast life that embodies much of the music industry in California. The group, originally from the Midwest, was thrown into a culture that literally sucked them into something much darker than they knew existed.
As to "the other side of the story", I could find very little about the stories of which I'd heard back in the '80s. Wickepedia says this:
"In the 1980s, some Christian evangelists alleged that "Hotel California" referred to a San Francisco hotel purchased by Anton LaVey and converted into the Church of Satan. Other rumors suggested that the Hotel California was the Camarillo State Mental Hospital. These claims have been consistently denied by the band."
There are some words in the song that might imply that the evangelists are correct. Some parallels:
The Satanic Bible was written in 1969. The Church of Satan is in California. The Beast in the song could easily mean the Beast in The Book of Revelation (The Holy Bible). Once you've sold your soul to the devil, can you ever get it back for God? (i.e. "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.")
And then there is the fact that The Eagles themselves have stated that the words and music almost wrote themselves.....that's the same response that J. K. Rowling has made regarding her creation, Harry Potter.
My feelings about this song and any demonic influences? I just don't know for sure, but I will say that the song haunts me for quite while after I hear it. I don't particularly feel good about it. For the record, however, I do feel that the Eagles are an amazingly talented group.
If you want, you can view the performance of the Eagles (from the 1970's), performing their famous song below. Let me know what you think.