Hotel California handwritten lyrics at trial center

  • Written by Brandon Drennon
  • BBC News

Image source, Getty Images

Handwritten pages bearing the first known iterations of the legendary rock song “Hotel California” will take center stage in a criminal trial on Wednesday.

Glenn Horowitz, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski were charged with conspiring to sell pages from the yellow-lined painting, along with the lyrics to another Eagles song, without royalties.

Prosecutors said the notebook was stolen before it was purchased.

The three men pleaded not guilty.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is expected to call former Eagles linebacker Don Henley as its star witness.

When the manuscripts in question went up for sale in 2012, Henley claimed they had been stolen, prompting Manhattan prosecutors to investigate.

The non-jury trial will include more than 80 pages of draft lyrics from the 1976 Hotel California album, including famous lines from the song of the same name such as: “You can log out anytime you want, but you can never leave.” .

Mr. Horowitz, Mr. Inciardi and Mr. Kosinki face charges of conspiracy to possess stolen property and other crimes, not the theft of the documents themselves.

Prosecutors still must prove that the documents were stolen for the charges to proceed. However, defense lawyers said the documents were not stolen.

The dispute dates back to the late 1970s, when writer Ed Sanders was working on a biography of the Eagles.

The band reportedly allowed Mr. Sanders access to their archives, which included notebooks filled with song lyrics.

Mr. Horowitz then sold the song's lyrics to Mr. Inciardi and Mr. Kosinski, the owner of a memorabilia company.

Henley told the grand jury that he never gave the lyrics to Sanders, according to court files obtained by The Associated Press.

Mr. Sanders has not been charged in this case.

Defense attorneys suggested otherwise, casting doubt on Henley's memory.

“We believe that Mr. Henley voluntarily provided the lyrics to Mr. Sanders,” attorney Scott Edelman said in court last week.

Other manuscript pages in the suit include lyrics to songs like Life in the Fast Lane and New Kid in Town.

The Grammy Award-winning song “Hotel California” was streamed more than 220 million times in the U.S. alone last year and received 136,000 radio plays, according to entertainment data company Luminate.

The album of the same name has sold 26 million copies nationwide.

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