Eagles - Hotel California


Hotel California

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
"This could be Heaven or this could be Hell"
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say...
Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year, you can find it here
Her mind is Tiffany twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys, that she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget
So I called up the Captain:
"Please bring me my wine!" He said:
"We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine"
And still those voices are calling from far away
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say...
Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
They livin' it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise, bring your alibis
Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said
"We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"
And in the Masters' Chambers
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives
But they just can't kill the beast
Last thing I remember
I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
"Relax" said the night man
"We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave!"
Adicionado por ConvidadoConvidado em Domingo, 06/09/2009 - 05:57
Última edição feita por FaryFary em Sábado, 14/09/2019 - 14:21
Obrigado!recebeu 9 agradecimento(s)


Eagles: Maiores 3
Por favor, ajuda a traduzir "Hotel California"
MalivoneMalivone    Quarta-feira, 01/06/2016 - 15:52

Hello Miley Lovato,

"Mercedes Benz" seems to be "Mercedes bends" in the original lyrics (booklet accompanying the album), which completely changes the translation...

Thanks and bye, Regular smile


magicmuldermagicmulder    Quinta-feira, 10/11/2016 - 11:18

A couple of hints for translators (not going into a full interpretation as there are too many):

* "She's got the Mercedes *bends*"
"To have the bends" means "to feel a rush", or more figuratively, "to be crazy for". It's an expression from divers' slang, describing the rush experienced from coming back up to sea level too quickly. This rush can be quite deadly as it often makes the diver believe he can breathe underwater and makes him throw his scuba gear away. As such, it's a perfect analogy to drug addiction.

* "I heard the mission bell"
The woman is another metaphor for seduction, hedonism, addiction, sin, or whatever one believes the main theme of the song to be. So hearing the bell is a metaphor for hearing the call of seduction. See the common metaphor of "hearing bells" for "falling in love".

* "Such a lovely face"
That is a comment made by one of the voices regarding the protagonist. Think of a predator saying "Now you look tasty, honey" to his potential prey. It can also be understood as a comment on the protagonist's innocence ("he's new to this, yet untouched by the consequences of his choice").

* "We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine"
Contrary to what some may believe, "that spirit" does not refer to "my wine" in the line before. It's rather a comment on the protagonist's spirit. It can either refer to his soul or, more obviously, to his fresh enthusiasm - "we haven't seen someone as genuinely happily looking for excitement as you in years".

* "bring your alibis"
Replace "alibis" with "excuses", think of "better have your excuses ready when you enter here". People indulging in hedonism, or their personal addiction, need to make up excuses to the people around them ("I can stop at any time", "it's just because I'm feeling stressed at the moment" etc.).

* "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device"
They are not imprisoned against their will but because they chose to be there, or because their actions led them there.

* "But they just can't kill the beast"
The "beast" is an old expression for the devil, or, more abstract, everybody's personal demons. They are trying to fight them but it's no use.

* "We are programmed to receive"
Whatever you think the song is about (see above), it's easy to start but hard, or maybe impossible, to stop. This is echoed by the following lines which mean "you can never really quit". Think of alcoholism - even a dry alcoholic is never really cured, it only takes one sip and the addiction is back.

MichaelNaMichaelNa    Quinta-feira, 10/11/2016 - 19:28

Regular smile ... and what makes you so certain regarding "Such a lovely face"?
How do you know that that is not the protagonist, again, "thinking to himself": "Such a lovely place, Such a lovely face"? Regular smile

magicmuldermagicmulder    Sexta-feira, 11/11/2016 - 11:10

From context, I gather the entire chorus is what the voices down the corridor are saying, and that it is them addressing the protagonist ("you could hear them say: ...").

Your interpretation has its merits, too; it *could* be the protagonist addressing his audience:

"Look what I found: Hotel California
I think it's a nice place
I think the woman who invited me in is pretty
The hotel can accomodate many guests
And if you want to come, too, you can do so whenever you like"

However, given the dark tone of the song, it makes more sense that the protagonist is reporting the gloomy stuff the voices said and isn't trying to praise the hotel to the audience (because he doesn't do it anywhere else in the song).

magicmuldermagicmulder    Sexta-feira, 11/11/2016 - 11:20

* "We haven't had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine"

Let's delve into interpretation a bit more. I've already given one ("we haven't had that genuinely pleasant enthusiasm here for years because everybody else is so dark and gloomy").

If you understand "spirit" to mean "soul", it can be a comment on the protagonist himself and previous visits to the hotel (= previous addictions), as in "we haven't seen you around here for years".

If you absolutely want to have "that spirit" refer to "my wine" (as even some native speakers do), it can be understood as a comment on the nature of the protagonist's addiction. Regardless whether you see the song as a metaphor for addiction or for the music business (as some claim), the line could refer to it being unusual to have wine as one's favourite drug when everybody else has been doing worse things (weed, cocaine) for years. In that context, it can be understood as "People have preferred worse drugs for years now".

The brilliance of the lyrics is that all these different meanings can actually be gleaned from the text. (Try that with "If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it". ;))

MichaelNaMichaelNa    Sexta-feira, 11/11/2016 - 19:48

The good thing about a piece of poetry is the fact that it lends hitself to many interpretations and "Hotel California" is definitely one that does that.
Many times, when writers were asked about a certain interpretation of their work, they replied that they had no idea, but I am sure that they were elated at the new found cleverness.
When I do a translation, I tend to take things at face value first and strive to incorporate the original ideas that may have multiple interpretations and let the reader read into them and decide for himself.

Regarding your additional musings:
1. You stated that the choruses are made up entirely of what the "voices" were saying but, pray tell, why in the second chorus we have "They are livin' it up" instead of "We're livin' it up"?
Because of that I still maintain that the "Such a lovely place, such a lovely face" is what the protagonist was thinking to himself while he was being ushered inside the hotel and not as an aside to the audience.
2. The reply that the captain gave was in direct response to the protagonist's request to have "his" wine delivered as if it was in his suitcase. As a Californian, the captain replied that "spirit" had gone out of style since 1969, the year when weed, LSD etc had gained widespread popularity with the hip generation. Regular smile

magicmuldermagicmulder    Segunda-feira, 14/11/2016 - 16:03

ad 1.
You are correct. However, the first chorus is preceded by "I thought I heard them say" whereas the second one you refer to isn't.
In general, the line already casts doubts upon whether the voices actually say anything like the words in the chorus or if it's just the protagonist's imagination.
This is really a matter of interpretation, there will be no definitive answer.

ad 2.
Yes, figuratively, it can mean "please serve me what I find most pleasure in" or "please give me my usual fix". It is indeed an important distinction (with regard to the overall interpretation) - the hotel isn't a place that seduces you with new addictions ("bring me a bottle of your best wine"), it simply offers what you're already addicted to. (Another important distinction I missed, thanks for pointing me in that direction.)
Still I believe the line has a couple more layers to it, as I wrote.

MichaelNaMichaelNa    Quarta-feira, 17/04/2019 - 15:09

Even though I love the acoustic version I'm questioning changing the video when, for lyrical purpose, the studio version should be the definitive one.

Hansi K_LauerHansi K_Lauer    Quarta-feira, 17/04/2019 - 15:30

The European Union is like Hotel California:
> "We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like
But you can never leave!"
Tongue smile

magicmuldermagicmulder    Quarta-feira, 17/04/2019 - 15:00

And the UK is like:

Our voters said "let's do Brexit"
But we got buyer's remorse
Now we're trying to wreck it
Want to go back to before

But still those voices are calling from the EU
"You know you're damned if you don't, we know you're damned if you do!"

"Welcome to Catch 22, we warned ya
Such a stupid move
Either way you lose
Plenty of stupid decisions coming from ya
You know you've been framed
Won't you please remain?"

Teeth smile