Don Henley: No, I Didn't Give Away 'Hotel California' Lyrics

He testifies in trial over ownership of handwritten song drafts
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 29, 2024 1:05 PM CST
Don Henley: No, I Didn't Give Away 'Hotel California' Lyrics
Musician Don Henley, center, arrives at court in New York, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

The lyrics to "Hotel California" and other classic Eagles songs should never have ended up at auction, Don Henley told a court Wednesday, per the AP. "I always knew those lyrics were my property. I never gifted them or gave them to anybody to keep or sell," the Eagles co-founder said on the last of three days of testimony at the trial of three collectibles experts charged with a scheme to peddle roughly 100 handwritten pages of the lyrics.

  • Accused trio: On trial are rare-book dealer Glenn Horowitz and rock memorabilia connoisseurs Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski. Prosecutors say the three circulated bogus stories about the documents' ownership history in order to try to sell them and parry Henley's demands for them.

  • The writer: Kosinski, Inciardi, and Horowitz have pleaded not guilty to charges that include conspiracy to criminally possess stolen property. Defense lawyers say the men rightfully owned and were free to sell the documents, which they acquired through a writer, Ed Sanders, who worked on a never-published Eagles biography decades ago. The defense argues that Henley gave the lyric drafts to Sanders. But Henley says that he only invited Sanders to review the pages for research and that the writer was obligated to relinquish them. Sanders is not charged in the case.
  • No question: In a series of rapid-fire questions, prosecutor Aaron Ginandes asked Henley who owned the papers at every stage from when he bought the pads at a Los Angeles stationery store to when they cropped up at auctions. "I did," Henley answered each time.
  • Now what: The trial is expected to continue for weeks with other witnesses. The AP unravels the detailed background here.
(More Don Henley stories.)

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