Everyone knows The Eagles, and this is their most famous song from the album with the same name. And with reason. Lots of emotion in here
The song's lyrics describe the title establishment as a luxury resort where "you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave." On the surface, the song tells the tale of a weary traveler who becomes trapped in a nightmarish luxury hotel that at first appeared inviting and tempting. The song is an allegory about hedonism and self-destruction in the Southern California music industry of the late 1970s; Don Henley called it "our interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles" and later reiterated "it's basically a song about the dark underbelly of the American dream and about excess in America, which is something we knew a lot about. In 2008, Don Felder described the origins of the lyrics:
Don Henley and Glenn wrote most of the words. All of us kind of drove into LA at night. Nobody was from California, and if you drive into LA at night... you can just see this glow on the horizon of lights, and the images that start running through your head of Hollywood and all the dreams that you have, and so it was kind of about that... what we started writing the song about. Coming into LA... and from that Life in the Fast Lane came out of it, and Wasted Time and a bunch of other songs.