The Musician Don Henley Threatened To Sue Over The Eagles Hit
Many listeners are accustomed to the drama surrounding the rip-off cases in the music scene. Musicians accuse each other of stealing the album titles, lyrics, or samples of their songs, and sometimes, the fans notice the uncanny resemblance between each work.
In the end, this controversy often turns into long-time feuds and legal lawsuits due to copyright claims. It seems this was the case with Don Henley, who accused a musician of ripping off the Eagles’ famous hit and threatened to sue him. Let’s see the details of the incident.
Don Henley Threatened Frank Ocean For Using ‘Hotel California’ Sample
Frank Ocean released his mixtape album titled ‘Nostalgia, Ultra’ on February 16, 2011. This album featured a song named ‘American Wedding,’ a remake of the classic Eagles song ‘Hotel California.’ However, after the album’s release, Don Henley decided to take legal action because Ocean wrote his lyrics over the master track of the song without adding anything creative.
After this incident, Ocean took to his Tumblr and said Henley threatened to sue him if he performed the song. He then argued that he was asked to release a statement about his admiration for Henley and a promise to pull the music off the internet. Moreover, Ocean stated he released the song for free, and he doesn’t understand why an artist wealthy like Henley would try to sue him.
As reported by Pitchfork, Frank Ocean wrote the following on his Tumblr:
“He threatened to sue if I perform it again. I think that’s f*cking awesome. I guess if I play it at Coachella, it’ll cost me a couple of hundred racks. If I don’t show up to court, it’ll be a judgment against me & will probably show up on my credit report. Oh well. I try to buy my sh*t cash anyway.
They asked that I release a statement expressing my admiration for Mr. Henley, along with my assistance in pulling it off the web as much as possible. Sh*t’s weird. Ain’t this guy rich as f*ck? Why sue the new guy? I didn’t make a dime off that song. I released it for free. If anything, I’m paying homage.”
Though the musician pleaded his case on his social media platform, the band’s representatives weren’t on the same page as him, leaving fans quite confused about the battle between the two artists.
The Eagles Representatives Denied The Claims
In March 2012, the Eagles representative Larry Solters spoke to Spin and revealed that Henley didn’t personally threaten Ocean since it was Warner Music Group who owns the master track of ‘Hotel California.’ He then told the reason behind this legal action.
According to Solters, Ocean didn’t only sample a portion of ‘Hotel California,’ he took the master track and replaced the lyrics with his lyrics. Solters then said this isn’t a creative piece of work and is illegal. Moreover, he added that Don Henley didn’t threaten or take legal action against Ocean, but the band considered it.
Speaking to Spin, Larry Solters said the following:
“Frank Ocean did not merely ‘sample’ a portion of the Eagles’ Hotel California; he took the whole master track, plus the song’s existing melody, and replaced the lyrics with his own. This is not creative, let alone ‘intimidating.’ It’s illegal. For the record, Don Henley has not threatened or instituted any legal action against Frank Ocean, although the Eagles are now considering whether they should.”
As a result of this legal battle, ‘Nostalgia, Ultra’ is still not available on the most popular streaming service, Spotify. Moreover, the album is considered among the most acclaimed albums that are not accessible on the platform.