Don Henley’s Bid to Retrieve Stolen Eagles Lyrics for ‘Hotel California’ Thwarted by Defendants, Prosecutors Report

Credits: The Detroit News

A never-published biography of the Eagles, particularly focusing on the band’s 1980 breakup, has become central to a criminal trial involving rare-books dealer Glenn Horowitz, former Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi, and memorabilia seller Edward Kosinski.

The trio acquired approximately 100 pages of hand-drafted lyrics, including those for the hit “Hotel California,” from Ed Sanders, a poet and co-founder of the rock group the Fugs, who had obtained the documents during his research for the Eagles biography.

The unpublished biography, which was not well-received by Eagles co-founders Glenn Frey and Don Henley, is now intertwined with allegations of theft and illicit sale of the handwritten lyrics pages. Manhattan prosecutors argue that Horowitz, Inciardi, and Kosinski were aware of the questionable ownership history but still sold the pages.

Eagles’ Group (Credits: CBS News)

Additionally, they claim the defendants schemed to obstruct Henley’s efforts to reclaim what he asserts are stolen parts of his musical legacy. Irving Azoff, the Eagles’ manager, testified that the lyrics were highly personal to Henley, constituting a crucial part of musical history.

He emphasized Henley’s reluctance to part with any of the legal pads on which he and Frey crafted some of the band’s most iconic lyrics. The defense argues that Henley willingly gave away the documents and is now attempting to retrieve them through legal means.

The trial unfolds with the defense maintaining the innocence of the accused individuals, asserting that they are wrongly charged with a crime that did not occur. The trial, a non-jury proceeding, will have a judge, Curtis Farber, decide the verdict.

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