Hotel California Lyrics Trial Takes Shocking Turn

By Britta DeVore | Published

Legendary rock band The Eagles made an appearance in a New York courtroom after withdrawing their charges in a bizarre case that centers around the alleged unlawful ownership of a handful of hand-penned lyrics. The papers, which were under the lock and key of a trio of collectors, included original copies of hits from the infamous rockers, including their beloved classic, “Hotel California.” Eagles co-founder Don Henley had accused the defendants of stealing the mementos and selling them for profit.

One Mistake Undid The Case

In a move that would shock everyone involved, the prosecution decided to pull back their case of the original “Hotel California” scribblings after they heard arguments that the defense team was unable to keep up with the speedy influx of 6,000 pages of conversations between Henley and his legal team. The mistake on the side of the prosecution was a devastating one as it didn’t give the defense nearly enough time to pour over the thousands of pages. 

The Prosecution’s Case Fell Apart

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For the men at the center of the lawsuit – rare books dealer Glenn Goroqitz, rock memorabilia seller Edward Kosinski, and former Rock & Roll Hall of Fame curator Craig Inciardi, the case being tossed out is cause for celebration. For their part in the alleged “Hotel California” misdoing, they were all being accused of a slew of charges that included conspiracy to criminally possess stolen property. The prosecution’s argument came down to the belief that the men very well knew what they had was obtained unlawfully but weren’t willing to give them back to Don Henley and were still hoping to make a profit from them. 

He Said, He Said

A tough point to prove, the case ultimately dove into a he said, he said argument that never fully gained traction one way or another. While the prosecution laid their point on thick that the defendants knew that the original mock-ups of “Hotel California” and other songs by Eagles had come from shady circumstances, the men possessing the papers said that they had obtained the pages fair and square. Essentially, it came down to a judge of character and reputation vs. reputation with no direct hard evidence linking the accused parties to any foul doing.

Two Different Stories

Still, Don Henley isn’t willing to stop until he receives what he sees to be a fair retribution for his allegedly stolen belongings, as he and his legal team say they will take a step back to regroup before continuing the fight. On the other hand, the folks dedicated to the defense say that the rock n’ rollers willingly gave away the original copies of songs from albums like Hotel California, which he was meant to use in a biography about the band that never saw bookstore shelves. Making a buck off his memorabilia, the biography writer first sold the lyrics to Horowitz, who then doled them out to Inciardi and Kosinski before they ended up at auction in 2012.

Hotel California Is A Banger

We can only imagine what the original writing for a song like “Hotel California” would go for at auction, so it’s completely understandable why both parties are keen on having their voices heard. Still, with such a back-and-forth case filled with hard-to-prove evidence, the prosecution team will be fighting an uphill battle should Henley decide to continue his legal battle.