Hotels have always been places of inspiration and wild parties, as well as refuges for rock stars to go cold turkey. One of the people who best combines two of these characteristics – hotels and rock – is Diego Calvo, founder and CEO of Concept Hotel Group, with 6 eye-catching hotels that are a magnet for music lovers. His establishments host a series of concerts each summer featuring la crème de la crème in Spanish (and international) rock. While waiting for this season’s concerts, and in a positive frame of mind, Diego wanted to share his passion for music and hotels by giving us a playlist based on songs inspired by mythical, not so mythical, and even some metaphorical hotels.
Here are the stories behind each one:
- HEARTBREAK HOTEL – ELVIS PRESLEY
Over a half-century ago, The King reached the top of the charts with a single, that has been the soundtrack to a thousand heartaches. An interesting fact that isn’t known to many was that it was inspired by a suicide note. The message “I walk in a lonely street” was found next to the lifeless body of a soldier who had recently been dumped by his girlfriend. An American tragedy, Elvis style.
- BLUE HOTEL – CHRIS ISAAK
Melancholia and 50’s guitars are Chris Isaak’s hallmarks and this song sums them up to perfection. A man alone, in a hotel room, disenchanted with life with the night as his only companion. It doesn’t make you feel like spending a night in the famous Blue Hotel, but it sure inspired this fantastic song.
- HOTEL CALIFORNIA – EAGLES
According to one study, this song is played on American radio every 11 minutes. This phrase sums up the unprecedented success of this song by Don Henley, vocalist of The Eagles. Legends about the song’s origin range from ghosts and satanic rites to a hotel in the middle of a lost village in Mexico. We will never know for sure, but Don Henley said that it is simply a social criticism.
- HOTEL ROOM – RICHARD HAWLEY
No-one knows the story behind this song for sure, but its retro air makes me want to name Hawley ‘The Roy Orbison of the 21st century.’
- CHELSEA HOTEL #2 – LEONARD COHEN
I can’t think of a more iconic hotel than New York’s Chelsea. Its manager, Stanley Bard, was famous for trading lodging for artwork. Cohen’s song tells the story of a night of lust he had with a famous singer in one of its rooms. The Who’s Who of artists: Janis Joplin, Patti Smith, Salvador Dalí, Dylan Thomas, John Cale, Charles Bukowsky, are just a few who stayed at this landmark establishment.
- HOTEL ARIZONA – WILCO
The hotel where Wilco had a special connection is a bit of a mystery, as the song itself says. But it’s easy to imagine a lonely hotel in the middle of the arid and winding landscape that characterises the Grand Canyon state.
- HOTEL YORBA – THE WHITE STRIPES
This former hotel in southwest Detroit is now used as government subsidised housing. Jack says that, as a child, he heard a rumour that the Beatles had stayed there – a rumour that, although false, he loved.
- SITTING IN MY HOTEL – THE KINKS
This is song is about that moment when you feel sorry for a rock star. The price of fame, conflicting interests, drugs, hotels, girls who come and go… as Mick Jagger said: “Lose your dreams and you might lose your mind.”
- MOONLIGHT MOTEL – BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN
The Boss tells us that this road motel is practically deserted, far from the hand of God. He describes it as an almost mystical place and, in his recollection, it is full of memories… perhaps of a fleeting romance.
- CLIFTON GRANGE HOTEL – THIN LIZZY
This Manchester hotel was the refuge of Londoners Thin Lizzy when they were going through their most difficult times.
- MEMORY MOTEL – ROLLING STONES
When the legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz covered the Stones’ tour in ’75, she became almost a member of the band, and that included becoming Jagger’s lover. Jann Wenner, founder of Rolling Stone magazine and the person who Leibovitz, says in his book Sticky Fingers that Jagger himself confessed that the girl in the song was Annie.
- HOTEL CHAMBERMAID – ROD STEWART
A meeting in the middle of the night. Love that doesn’t ask questions. Hotel Chambermaid seems to refer more to a person than a place in this song written by Graham Parker.
- HOTEL ILLNESS – THE BLACK CROWES
This hotel is a metaphor and the kind of place where you hit rock bottom. For the Robinson brothers, Hotel Illness is the place you never want to go back to.
- HOTEL CHELSEA NIGHTS – RYAN ADAMS
If there is a hotel that deserves to be mentioned twice on this list then it is The Chelsea. Adams tells the tale of a pretty crappy Christmas spent in one of its rooms.
- LOOKING OVER FROM MY HOTEL WINDOW – YOKO ONO
John Lennon’s eternal widow asks if she should jump from the window or go to the sleep in a song that is the epitome of depression.
Text by : Laura Martínez