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YouTube’d memories: Hotel California

When I answered the “favorite song” question in the Photobucket meme (see #9), I actually chose my number two song. I think it is called “the familiarity effect” in cognitive psychology – I listen to the CD compilation of my favorite Beatles songs occasionally, while I don’t even have a CD compilation of my favorite “assorted” songs. So, it’s been several years since I last heard Hotel California.

But it is undoubtedly my most-favorite English language song. I first heard it as a “bonus track” tacked onto the end of the cassette tape that introduced me to the Beatles (which must have been in ’85 or ’86), and both the guitar intro and the long riffs at the end sounded absolutely awesome.

The song felt as if it was some sort of anthem to a person with a then-limited English vocabulary. A friend of mine turned up some nonsense that the term “Hotel California” referred to the American prison for political dissidents, which echoed the very popular шансон genre, and made the song sound even more appealing to all of us closet rebels… I eventually learned the words, and while it was impossible for me to interpret much beyond the clear indictment of decadence, it did not diminish my affection for the song.

I bought an Eagles CD years later but wasn’t much impressed with anything else they produced. In fact, I can only name one other song by the band off the top of my head. But I was pleased to learn that Hotel California is widely considered one of the best songs of all time.



  1. jason

    Just out of curiosity, which Eagles CD did you buy? Was it a greatest-hits package or the actual Hotel California album?

    As you may have learned already, the band’s sound changed quite a bit over the years and you may have simply dipped into some of their more country-flavored stuff (which I like myself, but I understand it not being everyone’s cup of tea). Perhaps the HC album or the one which followed, The Long Run, would be more to your liking…

    (Incidentally, I’d avoid any of their recent “reunion” releases, which I’ve found to be uniformly uninspired and downright gloomy.)

  2. Ilya

    I am pretty sure that that was the actual HC album, and that was at the time when I had some inclination for country, so here is a probable explanation: It was neither country enough, nor rock enough for me… I’ll look for the greatest hits compilation, thanks.

  3. jason

    “Neither country enough nor rock enough…” Hm. That describes a lot of music from the mid-70s, actually… 🙂

    There is a 2-CD package called “The Very Best of the Eagles” which covers pretty much all the band’s significant work, up to and including their recent single that I didn’t like very much. 🙂

    If you like the more country-sounding stuff, you might want to keep your eyes open for their first compilation, called “Their Greatest Hits 1971-75,” which I believe was at one time the best-selling record in history. Or maybe it was the best-selling compilation. Something like that…

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