If I have enjoyed any success as a writer and marketer, I need to thank the guy who pushed a broom and carried out the trash at my junior high school in 1977. His name was Larry, and he introduced me to “Hotel California,” a rock epic that has influenced me for many years. Some of the lessons I’ve learned from that six-minute song might be useful to you, too.
Featuring blistering guitar work and a mysterious narrative that is part fantasy and part Raymond Chandler, “Hotel California” has captured the imagination of fans and critics for decades. The song and the album Hotel California topped the Billboard charts for the Eagles in 1977. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song Number 11 among the top 100 pop songs of all time.
“Hotel California” has also had an enormous impact on me throughout my career as a writer, book editor, and marketing executive (including the work I do today as vice president of marketing at iCrossing). How and why?
When Hotel California and its eponymous single soared to popularity in the summer of 1977, I was a lonely eighth grader living in the oppressively conservative community of Wheaton, Illinois. My family had moved to Wheaton in 1975, and with the dislocation came hardship. My parents’ marriage was unraveling before my eyes, my older brother was drifting away, and I was an outcast struggling against bullies.