Tuesday, 30 October 2007

"That Smell" - Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1977

The song "Hotel California", by the Eagles, begins with the following lyrics:

On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night...

I've never been sure what "colitas" are. I had always assumed they were some kind of flower from a plant or tree. However, a little research tonight suggests that perhaps it's a reference to the "little tail" of the cannabis plant.

Apparently, the term isn't known in Belfast either.

This evening, two of the guests on BBC One's "The One Show" were Glenn Frey and Joe Walsh of the Eagles. One of the things discussed on the show was how song lyrics are a type of poetry. As an illustration of this point, Adrian Chiles suggested that his co-host on the show, Christine Bleakley, should read some of the lyrics of the Eagles. Bleakley is from Belfast, Northern Ireland.

When she read the lyrics that begin "Hotel California", she read the word "colitas", unfortunately, as colitis. Frey and Walsh tried valiantly to not explode with laughter. I was unable to control my laughter quite as well as they did. The image it presented was just too much!



At 31 October, 2007 21:51 , Blogger Steve White said...

OK so I did some research too - and, yes, confirmed the marijuana link. But then one article also talked of the confusion with colitis, and suggested that folks were thinking of the Beatles lyric - "the girl with colitis goes by". You remember that one don't you - LITSWD.

At 01 November, 2007 09:03 , Blogger Janet said...

Hi Steve,

Oh yes...and speaking of misunderstood lyrics, I read somewhere recently that somebody misunderstood the "Hotel California" lyrics and thought the song started as...

"On a dark desert highway, COOL WHIP in my hair..."



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