Eagles memorabilia thieves on trial for stealing ‘Hotel California’ lyrics | UNITED STATES

“On a dark lonely road / Cool wind in my hair / Warm smell of colitas / Rising through the air.” So begins Hotel California, the Eagles’ most iconic song on the self-titled album, which is now the subject of a lawsuit that just opened in New York County Supreme Court. Three men are charged with conspiring to sell notebooks and notes belonging to Don Henley, the drummer and frontman of one of the most successful bands of the 1970s. One of the accused is Glenn Horowitz, a well-known dealer of rare books and precious documents which sold objects of Don DeLillo, Norman Mailer and Bob Dylan.

Among the allegedly stolen manuscripts are notes for New kid in town and Life at high speedtwo titles from 1976 Hotel California album played permanently by jukeboxes and radios around the world. The album has sold 26 million copies in the United States, where it is the third best-selling album in history. The Eagle 1976 Their greatest hits (1971-1975) compilation dethroned Michael Jackson Thriller in 2018 as the best-selling album of all time.

Defendants Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski appear in criminal court. July 12, 2022, New York.John Minchillo (AP)

“These defendants attempted to preserve and sell these unique and valuable manuscripts, knowing they had no right to do so,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said at the start of the trial. According to the prosecution, the manuscripts are collectively valued at over $1 million.

Horowitz is one of America’s largest dealers of valuable documents. Bookcases with tidy files line the walls of his New York office. Inside the colorful folders are letters, photographs and documents that belonged to famous people. Some of the most private papers belonging to Amadeo Modigliani, Vladimir Nabokov and Winston Churchill passed through Horowitz’s hands. In 2003, his negotiated sale of the Watergate papers of Woodward and Bernstein for $5 million made headlines around the world.

Horowitz is charged with attempted criminal possession of stolen property and obstruction of prosecution. His co-defendants, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinki, face charges of criminal possession of stolen property. All three were also charged with conspiracy to fabricate a false provenance and lying to auction houses, potential buyers and law enforcement about the origin of the material.

“These men are innocent… The prosecutor’s office is alleging criminality where there is none and unfairly tarnishing the reputations of highly respected professionals,” reads the statement released by the defendants’ attorneys.

Henley’s song notes disappeared by the 1970s. The band, which began as Linda Ronstadt’s backing band at Troubadour nightclub in West Hollywood, was beginning to take off with hit albums like Desperadoes and One of those nights. Prosecutors say Horowitz purchased the documents around 2005 from a writer who worked on an unpublished book about the Eagles in the late 1970s. The writer, who is not identified in the indictment, gave various explanations to Horowitz over the years about the origin of the documents and, in a 2012 email, admitted that he did not remember exactly how it came into his hands. He first claimed that Henley’s assistant sent them from the musician’s home in Malibu, California. He later said he found them dumped in a backstage dressing room at an Eagles concert. In yet another explanation, he said someone who worked for the band gave them to him.

The Eagles: Bernie Leadon, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Don Felder and Randy Meisner.
The Eagles: Bernie Leadon, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Don Felder and Randy Meisner.ATM Archive (Getty)

Without clearly establishing the provenance of the manuscripts, Horowitz sold them to Inciardi and Kosinski, who fabricated a false provenance claim. The prosecution has emails documenting how the defendants attempted to agree on their story of how they obtained the manuscripts. When he learned they had his papers, Henley sued the defendants and told the police the papers had been stolen. The prosecution argues that the defendants failed to act in good faith and instead of returning the manuscripts, they waged a long campaign to prevent Henley from recovering them. While negotiating to sell the manuscripts through auction house Sotheby’s, they attempted to convince Henley to buy them back, arguing that they had rightful ownership based on the misrepresentation of provenance. Henley eventually bought a page for $8,500.

When police opened an investigation in 2017 into the provenance of the papers, Horowitz once again changed his story. Horowitz tried to exploit the 2016 death of Eagles founding member Glenn Frey, this time claiming the materials came from the now deceased Frey. In an email, Horowitz observed that since Frey is dead, identifying him as the source “… would make this go away once and for all.”

“This action reveals the truth about the sales of highly personal stolen item musical memorabilia hidden behind a facade of legitimacy,” said former Eagles manager Irving Azoff, who called the manuscripts “irreplaceable pieces of history. musical”. One of the few managers inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Azoff said, “We look forward to the return of Don’s property, for him and his family to enjoy and preserve for posterity.”

Nicholas E. Crittendon