So I called up the Captain
Please bring me my wine
He said, we haven't had that spirit here since 1969
A “spirit” is a highly distilled liqueur; wine is not a spirit.
When asked about this discrepancy in a 2009 interview with Jon Soeder, Henley responded:
Thanks for the tutorial and no, you’re not the first to bring this to my attention—and you’re not the first to completely misinterpret the lyric and miss the metaphor. Believe me, I’ve consumed enough alcoholic beverages in my time to know how they are made and what the proper nomenclature is. But that line in the song has little or nothing to do with alcoholic beverages. It’s a sociopolitical statement. My only regret would be having to explain it in detail to you, which would defeat the purpose of using literary devices in songwriting and lower the discussion to some silly and irrelevant argument about chemical processes
It can then be concluded that he’s stating that the music industry has lacked soul and passion for the art of music since 1969 (since the overarching theme of the song is about the hedonism and self-destructiveness of the music industry). The infamous Altamont music festival occurred in December 1969, and closed the door on the peace and love 60s FOREVER.
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