Don Henley News: Don Henley Testifies in Hotel California Stolen Lyrics Trial

Don Henley Testifies In Hotel California Stolen Lyrics Trial

In a surprising turn of events, Don Henley, co-founder of the legendary band Eagles, found himself in a New York courtroom, revisiting a tumultuous episode from his past. The trial, which began with an unrelated criminal case, delves into the alleged theft and attempted sale of handwritten draft lyrics to iconic Eagles songs, including the timeless classic “Hotel California.”

Don Henley Testifies In Hotel California Stolen Lyrics Trial
Don Henley Testifies In Hotel California Stolen Lyrics Trial

Don Henley News

In a New York courtroom, Don Henley faced questions about a seamy episode from his past, dating back to 1980. According to AP News, Henley was arrested after authorities discovered drugs and a naked 16-year-old girl suffering from an overdose at his Los Angeles home.

This incident resurfaced as Henley testified in an unrelated criminal trial, where three individuals were charged with conspiring to own and sell the aforementioned handwritten draft lyrics without proper authorization

Don Henley Testifies in Hotel California Stolen Lyrics Trial

At the heart of the trial are handwritten drafts of Eagles classics like “New Kid in Town,” “Hotel California,” and “Life in the Fast Lane.” Prosecutors allege these notes were stolen decades ago by an author contracted to write about the band.

Ed Sanders, the author in question, sold the documents in 2005 to Glenn Horowitz, a rare book dealer, who later transferred them to the current defendants.

Henley’s alarm in 2012, upon discovering his “Hotel California” notes for sale online, underscores the personal significance of these artifacts. “They are the detritus, if you will, left over from songwriting,” he testified, emphasizing the privacy traditionally afforded to such materials.

Crafting Iconic Songs: Henley’s Creative Process

Henley, along with Glenn Frey, formed the creative core of the Eagles, shaping some of the 1970s’ most memorable tunes. Their songwriting process was a ritualistic affair, involving rented houses, pianos, and guitars. Recounting those days in a Manhattan courtroom, Henley described their late-morning starts, filled with philosophical discussions and musical experimentation.

“Mr. Henley paid particular attention to lyrics, crafting and refining them on legal pads,” noted testimony. These handwritten notes, once stored in Henley’s Malibu farm barn, now find themselves at the center of an extraordinary legal battle.

Henley’s Vigilance: Protecting Creative Legacy

Henley’s vigilance over his creative output became evident when he discovered a few pages of his “Hotel California” notes up for auction online in 2012. Expressing concern, Henley emphasized the personal nature of these artifacts, stating, “Those are things nobody is supposed to see.”

His determination to safeguard his creative legacy underscores the significance of these handwritten drafts and their enduring value to both the artist and his audience.

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