“Eagles' Don Henley Says in Court He Never Revealed Hotel California Lyrics |” Eagles


“I always knew that these texts were mine,” says the co-founder of a rock band in the trial of three collectibles experts in New York

Associated Press

Thu 29 Feb 2024 12.20pm GMT

The lyrics to “Hotel California” and other classic Eagles songs should never have been auctioned, Don Henley said in court Wednesday.

“I always knew that these texts were my property. I never gave them away or gave them to anyone to keep or sell,” the Eagles co-founder said on the last of three days of testimony in the trial of three collectibles experts accused of plotting to leak about 100 handwritten pages of the song's lyrics bring.

Bring your alibis: Dispute over Eagles' Hotel California text goes to court

The rarities dealer Glenn Horowitz and the rock memorabilia connoisseurs Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski are on trial. Prosecutors allege the three spread false stories about the documents' ownership history to try to sell them and stave off Henley's demands for them.

Kosinski, Inciardi and Horowitz have pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiracy to commit criminal possession of stolen property.

Defense attorneys say the men legally owned and were free to sell the documents they acquired through an author who worked on a never-published Eagles biography decades ago.

The lyric sheets document the creation of a series of 1970s rock hits, many of them from one of the best-selling albums of all time: The Eagles' Hotel California.

The case revolves around how the notebook pages made their way from Henley's Southern California barn to the biographer's home in New York's Hudson Valley and then to the defendants in New York City.

The defense argues that Henley gave the draft text to author Ed Sanders. Henley says he invited Sanders to review the pages for research purposes, but the author was obliged to return them.

In a series of snap questions, prosecutor Aaron Ginandes asked Henley who owned the papers at every stage, from the time the pads were purchased at a Los Angeles stationery store to the time they appeared at auction.

“I did,” Henley replied each time.

Sanders is not accused of a crime and has not responded to messages seeking comment on the case. He sold the pages to Horowitz. Inciardi and Kosinski bought them from the bookseller and then began offering some of the sheets for auction in 2012.

While the trial revolves around the song's lyrics, the fate of another set of pages – Sanders' decades-old biographical manuscript – was repeatedly discussed as prosecutors and defense attorneys examined his interactions with Henley, Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey and Eagles officials.

Work on the authorized book began in 1979 and extended beyond the band's dissolution the next year. (The Eagles reformed in 1994.)

Henley testified earlier this week that he was disappointed with a 100-page first draft of the manuscript from 1980. Revisions apparently softened his opinion somewhat.

In 1983, he wrote to Sanders that the most recent draft “flows well and is very humorous to the end,” according to a letter submitted to the court Wednesday.

But the letter went on to ponder whether it wouldn't be better for Henley and Frey to “send these bitter pages to each other and let the book end on a somewhat gentler note”?

“I wonder how these comments will age,” Henley wrote. “Still, I think the book has merit and should be published.”

It never was. Eagles manager Irving Azoff testified last week that publishers made no offers, that the book never received the band's approval and that he believed Frey ultimately caused the project to fail. Frey died in 2016.

The trial is expected to continue for weeks with additional witnesses.

Meanwhile, Henley returns to the streets. The Eagles' next show is Friday in Hollywood, Florida.


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