Three men charged over stolen lyrics to Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’
By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Three men have been criminally charged in Manhattan with possessing about 100 pages stolen from lead singer Don Henley of handwritten notes and lyrics for the Eagles’ hit 1976 album “Hotel California”.
Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski were charged on Tuesday with attempting to sell the materials, worth more than $1 million, and lying to auction houses, potential buyers and to law enforcement about how they obtained them.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said the documents included lyrics to the songs “Hotel California,” “Life in the Fast Lane” and “New Kid In Town,” with many of the lyrics recovered through warrants.
Horowitz, 66, of Manhattan; Inciardi, 58, of Brooklyn, and Kosinski, 59, of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and criminal possession, and Horowitz to obstruction of prosecution.
In a joint statement, their attorneys said Bragg’s office “allegates criminality where none exists and unfairly tarnishes the reputations of highly respected professionals. We will vigorously fight these wrongful accusations. These men are innocent.”
Prosecutors said a future Eagles biographer stole the documents in the late 1970s and sold them to Horowitz, a rare book dealer, in 2005.
Horowitz allegedly then sold the materials to Inciardi and Kosinski, who in turn tried to sell them at Christie’s and Sotheby’s or coerce Henley into buying them back.
The indictment contains dozens of emails about the defendants’ alleged 7½-year scheme, including Horowitz’s suggestion that he claims Eagles singer Glenn Frey gave him the stolen lyrics .
Frey “is dead and identifying him as (the) source would make that go away once and for all,” Horowitz reportedly wrote in February 2017, 13 months after Frey’s death.
In a statement, Eagles manager Irving Azoff said no one has the right to profit from the “outright theft of irreplaceable pieces of musical history. … We eagerly await the return of ownership. gift”.
The song “Hotel California” is known for its abstract lyrics, which Henley says describe American excess, and a long guitar outro by Don Felder and Joe Walsh. It won the 1977 Grammy Award for Record of the Year.
In 2014, Bob Dylan’s handwritten lyrics for “Like a Rolling Stone” fetched a record $2 million at Sotheby’s.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Jonathan Oatis)