#33. The Eagles: The Last Resort: 1976.
Many folks of my generation would be familiar with the American rock band, The Eagles. They formed in Los Angeles in 1971 and dominated the sound waves for most of the 1970s. In that time they had 6 Number 1 albums and 5 Number 1 singles. Hits such as Hotel California, Life In The Fast Lane, New Kid In Town, Lyin Eyes, Take it Easy and Peaceful Easy Feeling are a few of their top hits and they are all good but today I will share my favourite Eagles song; it is #9; the last song on their Hotel California album titled The Last Resort.
The song is written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey; Henley is a bit of an environmentalist and he too considers it one of his favourite songs. I will let him explain the meaning of it in his own words:
Don Henley explained in a 1987 interview, “The Last Resort, on Hotel California, is still one of my favorite songs… That’s because I care more about the environment than about writing songs about drugs or love affairs or excesses of any kind. The gist of the song was that when we find something good, we destroy it by our presence – by the very fact that man is the only animal on earth that is capable of destroying his environment. The environment is the reason I got into politics: to try to do something about what I saw as the complete destruction of most of the resources that we have left. We have mortgaged our future for gain and greed.”The Last Resort (learningfromlyrics.org)
So a little history; America was settled by the Pilgram Fathers who were English settlers who came to North America on the Mayflower, arriving on November 11th in 1620. About 10 years later the Puritans arrived. Both groups were very religious and were seeking to escape from religious persecution and wanted the religious freedom to worship as they thought fit. They were breakaways from the power of the Church of England of the time. They settled on the Atlantic side, or East Coast of America, and established their colonies. They believed they were guided by the Bible and saw themselves as re-enacting the Exodus story to arrive at their promised land.
By the early 1800s the expansion to the West had begun. The Manifest destiny which was a belief that the white settlers had a God given right and even a responsibility to expand across North America meant that the American natives were displaced and their cultural ways destroyed along with the beautiful landscape. All of this was done in the name of God but in reality it was highly destructive. The lyrics are quite ironic and there is this interpaly between religion, destruction, Christianity, lost paradise and greed. Finally the expansion reached the West Coast of America on the Pacific Ocean and there is no new frontier, we have got to make it here.
This song is over 45 years old. But its message is absolutely timely to us today. It is a warning, apparently one which we are very slow to heed. Unchecked urban development has long lasting impacts on our social and environmental future.
Recently a friend approached me about writing some articles for a website he wrote for. I investigated the site and felt it was hi tech and rather ground breaking, which as I explained to him I had no objections to but I include part of my response… my leanings and writings are less tech and basically promote a return to a simpler more grounded, earthy and a less consummerised future. My views on this have not really changed since the 70s. And these are my views. I believe if we are going to turn some things around in our world we need to go smaller not bigger, we need to be content with less, we need to get back to the earth, we need to build community, we need to love our neighbour and we need to know the true God not the god of greed.
Eagles – The Last Resort – (Paradise) – “The Last Resort” lyrics on screen & description – YouTube I hope you will love The Last Resort as much as I do.