Eagles ‘Hotel California’ Lyrics Trial, Explained

Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns

The Eagles will be bringing their alibis to court this week, when 3 males stand demo for a criminal offense involving handwritten lyrics to “Hotel California” and further Eagles’ songs. A non-jury prison demo in Manhattan centers on in excess of 80 pages of the band’s lyrics, some of which finished up at auction after a writer offered them to a exceptional-guides supplier. When the initial manuscripts have been put up for sale in 2012, singer Don Henley claimed they had been stolen, top the Manhattan district attorney’s business office to get concerned. (It’s not the to start with time Henley has taken lawful action around “Hotel California.”) Now, additional than a 10 years later, a team of men have been billed with conspiring to possess and promote allegedly stolen lyrics and Henley is slated to testify in opposition to them. Here’s what to know.

It started extra than four many years back, when Ed Sanders, a writer who established the rock band the Fugs, was doing the job on a biography of the Eagles. The band experienced reportedly allowed Sanders to access their archives, which provided notepads of lyrics for the 1976 album Resort California. Sanders never ever printed the memoir, but evidently he held the notepads. He marketed them to Glenn Horowitz, a uncommon-textbooks dealer, for $50,000 in 2005. Horowitz then sold the lyrics to Craig Inciardi, a former curator for the Rock and Roll Corridor of Fame museum (he was suspended over the costs) and Edward Kosinski, owner of the memorabilia firm Gotta Have Rock and Roll.

Soon after the adult men tried to offer some of these lyrics by way of Kosinski’s organization, Henley caught wind of the scheme and bought them himself for $8,500. He shortly obtained the Manhattan district attorney’s business concerned, filing a stolen-goods report. Inciardi and Kosinski continued to attempt to market the manuscripts, even listing the “Hotel California” lyrics at Sotheby’s in 2016, for each the Connected Push. (The auction home later on withdrew them.) Police raided the men’s properties in 2019, using 84 web pages of lyrics together with 1,300 pages of paperwork and many digital equipment. The Manhattan district attorney’s workplace billed the adult males in 2022.

Horowitz, Inciardi, and Kosinski are just about every billed with conspiracy in the fourth diploma, stemming from the tries to sell the allegedly stolen lyrics. That cost carries a sentence of up to 4 years in prison. Horowitz, who initial acquired the manuscripts, is also charged with attempted criminal possession of stolen property and two counts of hindering prosecution. Inciardi and Kosinski are every charged with legal possession of stolen property. “New York is a entire world-course hub for art and tradition, and these who deal cultural artifacts need to scrupulously observe the law,” stated DA Alvin Bragg when announcing the expenses in 2022. “There is no room for those people who would seek to disregard the basic anticipations of reasonable working and undermine the public’s self-assurance and trust in our cultural trade for their personal ends.” Crucially, none of the men has in fact been charged with stealing the lyrics, though the rates are predicated on the lyrics currently being stolen. Sanders, the author, has not been charged.

That is the critical dilemma of the situation. Henley, for every the AP, informed a grand jury that he by no means gave Sanders the lyrics, but the defense disputes this. In the indictment, Horowitz claimed Sanders informed him that he was given his choice of Henley’s elements to use for the e-book. But as soon as lawyers for Henley received associated soon after they tried to provide the lyrics, Sanders available various tales. He variously claimed he took the papers from a dressing place or stagehand as aspect of his investigate. In 2017, he stated he’d gotten the manuscripts from the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, who died in 2016. Horowitz reportedly stated crediting the late Frey “would make this go absent when and for all.”

The protection argued the lyrics ended up not stolen in a 2022 motion to dismiss the scenario, in accordance to Rolling Stone, saying Sanders basically received them whilst shadowing the band. The motion was denied.

The defense wishes to know as properly. Quite a few disagreements around memorabilia are settled, such as a preceding a person involving Horowitz and Absent With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell’s papers. The defense in this situation statements that Henley took gain of prosecutors who are also followers of the Eagles, top to felony rates instead than a civil case or settlement. Kosinski’s law firm even said a person investigator with the DA’s office requested for backstage Eagles passes, in accordance to the AP, before a prosecutor chided them. Prosecutors called this assert “a conspiracy theory fairly than a lawful defense.”

Items kicked off on a starry observe when famed supervisor Irving Azoff was the to start with witness to testify on February 22. Per Rolling Stone, Azoff confirmed that Sanders had been paid $75,000 to compose a reserve on the band. However, Henley and Frey ended up “very disappointed” in the merchandise, and Azoff himself believed the protection of the band’s separation was “unacceptable.” Azoff additionally explained Henley “felt he was currently being extorted” when he bought the initial manuscript of his lyrics that went to auction. The published lyrics are “very personal” to Henley, Azoff extra, noting that he outlets them in a barn on his residence in Malibu. (He also said Henley most popular to publish on yellow notepads, though Frey desired white.) A agreement proven as proof mentioned the supplies supplied to Sanders have been the Eagles’ home, but Azoff claimed he didn’t know if Sanders experienced been advised that selling the lyrics violated the contract. Azoff’s testimony is continuing on February 22, and Henley is predicted to testify up coming 7 days.

This put up has been up to date.