This song is about a lady who keeps looking for love, but can't find it, and the friend who loves her and is there for her but who she doesn't see "in that way." He can't be the one to "catch her," he can only be the one to comfort her as she mourns what her lifestyle has done to her - made her lonely, forced her to hide out at hotels registered under an assumed name. However, he reminds her that she chose that "path." He wants to save her, but she doesn't feel that way about him...she just needs him to "stand by her" - and he will.
I have always loved this song from RAL. I think alot of her songs on this LP were about Joe Walsh. She even dedicates the lp to him.
In this song I think she is involved in an affair with a man whom she can't have. It says he will call you when he needs you. I think that refers to how Joe would just call her up when he wanted to be with her but she couldn't or wouldn't do the same for him. She's crying to her friend why is she so alone and her friend says she has to know. She has chosen to stay with him even when it's not how she wants it to be. But she tells him that she knows in her heart he will stand by her anywhere. She has said that when she met Joe she fell immediately in love with him and I think she had so many emotions for him that even though it wasn't healthy she stayed.
I think this is Stevie's way of explaining her crazy lifestyle and how
relationships with her are hard to have. The friend she is referring to I
think is Tom Petty and he is reminding her you chose this life now deal with it. the man she is referring to in the song really wishes she would just stay put and she knows it. The part about another name could be referring to the fact that she is Stevie the woman of mystery and quite possibly the man who loves her calls her Stephanie because that is the only thing he doesn't have to share with the world.
Imperial Hotel is about her friendship to Benmont Tench of TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS. He is the keyboard player that she dedicated this song to on her liner notes: FOR BENMONT. He has been a good friend of Stevie's for years. He played on so many of her solo projects and was in her band on Bella Donna & Wild Heart Tours. Stevie finds comfort in her relationship with Benmont. I waited on Benmont years ago in L.A. He was really cool. I realized who he was when I read his name on his credit card when he paid. He said that Stevie was great and ordered German Chocolate cake for dessert. I will always remember that because it is mine also.