The Eagles lyric notes were stolen years ago. Now three men face charges.

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It was the late 1970s and the world was in the golden age of rock and roll. The Eagles were riding a wave of popularity which reached its peak with the release of “Hotel California” in December 1976.

The album cemented the Eagles’ place on the American music scene and the band’s status as rock royalty. But pages of lyrics and handwritten notes behind some of his chart-topping songs mysteriously disappeared soon after – only to resurface almost five decades later as the frontispiece of a Supreme Court indictment. of New York State.

Three men were charged on Tuesday with trying to sell the cache of papers – including around 100 pages filled with lyrics to songs like ‘New Kid in Town’, ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ and the iconic ‘Hotel California’ – despite the lack of rights to the materials.

Rock auctioneer Edward Kosinski, rare book dealer Glenn Horowitz and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame director of acquisitions Craig Inciardi have been accused of conspiring to sell the stolen pages – worth over $100,000. million dollars – by lying to authorities, fabricating stories about where the materials came from and preventing their rightful owner, Eagles founding member Don Henley, from acquiring them.

“These defendants attempted to keep and sell these unique and valuable manuscripts, even though they knew they had no right to do so. They made up stories about where the documents came from and their right to possess them so they could profit from them,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg said in a press release.

Attorneys for Kosinski, Horowitz and Inciardi — who pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday — did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Washington Post. However, in a joint statement, they deemed the charges to be unwarranted, Law & Crime reported.

“The district attorney’s office is alleging crime where there is none and unfairly tarnishing the reputations of highly respected professionals,” the men’s attorneys said in a statement. “We will vigorously fight these unwarranted accusations. These men are innocent.

How the papers ended up in the hands of three collector tycoons – and nearly sold off by auction giants Sotheby’s and Christie’s – is a story that begins when former Eagles guitarist Don Felder started writing the song.” Hotel California” after joining the band in 1974.

Now it’s the Eagles v Hotel California in federal court

Felder shared a demo reminiscent of “Mexican reggae” with Henley and Eagles frontman Glenn Frey who died in 2016, and they came up with the song’s concept and cinematic lyrics, which would ultimately propel the self-titled album to No. 1. in 1977. Since then, “Hotel California” — which is inspired by hotel life and the “dark underbelly of the American dream,” Henley told CBS News — has sparked conspiracy theories about its lyrics and praise for its haunting guitar arpeggio.

The process of creating the song was documented by Henley in pages that disappeared after a writer who was working on a book about the band grabbed them. The writer – who was not identified in the indictment – then sold the articles in 2005 to Horowitz, who then resold them to the other two men, according to court documents.

When Henley realized that Inciardi and Kosinki were trying to sell the long-lost manuscripts, he told them they were stolen documents, asked them to retrieve them, and filed police reports. Yet, “rather than make any effort to ensure they actually had rightful ownership, the defendants responded by engaging in a years-long campaign to prevent Henley from recovering the manuscripts,” prosecutors allege. .

Although prosecutors say the anonymous writer stole the papers, in communications with the accused trio, the writer said in 2012 that he recalled “finding the material dumped in a dressing room backstage at ‘an Eagles concert’. He later said he acquired them through Henley’s assistant after a stay at the musician’s home in Malibu. In 2016, the writer changed his story again, claiming that Frey had secretly given him the papers — a convenient way, prosecutors said, to assert ownership of the documents once Frey had died and could no longer challenge the account.

Frey “alas, is dead and identifying him as the source would make this go away once and for all,” Horowitz allegedly wrote in an email that year, according to court documents.

Don Henley says the Eagles are finished. It was always Glenn Frey’s band.

The changing accounts were part of a five-year effort to auction off the materials, according to the indictment. While Sotheby’s and Christie’s were initially interested in selling the newspapers, the items were never auctioned; beginning in December 2016, authorities began executing search warrants to recover the documents at Sotheby’s and Kosinski’s New Jersey home.

Now it looks like the 100 pages of scribbles, notes and lyrics will go to Henley.

“No one has the right to sell illegally obtained goods or profit from the outright theft of irreplaceable pieces of musical history,” Henley manager Irving Azoff told Billboard. “These handwritten lyrics are an integral part of the legacy that Don Henley has created over his 50+ year career. We look forward to the return of Don’s property, for him and his family to enjoy and enjoy. preserve for posterity.

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