March 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM ET
Plenty of room at the Hotel California ... for a lawsuit?
Rising R&B singer Frank Ocean finds himself in the middle of a sticky situation with the Eagles over use of their 1977 mega-hit "Hotel California.”
The New Orleans musician utilized the song without permission on his own song, “American Wedding.” It was originally released by Ocean without a label, but now Def Jam is preparing the album for commercial release. The dispute quickly escalated into a war of words between the new artist and the legendary rockers.
"Don Henley is apparently intimidated by my rendition of “Hotel California,”” Ocean comments on his Tumblr page. “He threatened to sue if I perform it again. I think that’s f***** awesome. I guess if I play it at Coachella, it’ll cost me a couple hundred racks. If I don’t show up to court, it’ll be a judgment against me and will probably show up on my credit report. Oh well….They also asked that I release a statement expressing my admiration for Mr. Henley, along with my assistance pulling it off the web as much as possible….I didn’t make a dime off that song. I released it for free. If anything, I’m paying homage.”
Henley and the band have since come forward with their own thoughts on the matter. The Eagles’ rep shared the group’s response via email this week with the L.A. Times. Evidently, there was never a lawsuit in the works, however, now, considering Ocean’s blasé stance, there might be.
“Frank Ocean did not merely “sample” a portion of the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” he took the whole master track, plus the song’s existing melody, and replaced the lyrics with his own,” said the band in its statement to the Times. “This is not creative, let alone 'intimidating.' It’s illegal. For the record, Don Henley has not threatened or instituted any legal action against Frank Ocean, although the Eagles are now considering whether they should.”
Two songs from Ocean's upcoming album are available on iTunes, but "American Wedding" isn't one of them.
Ocean often performs the track live, and judging by his remarks, will continue to do so. He is scheduled to perform at the Coachella festival in California in April.
The artist recently came into the spotlight as part of ensemble group, Odd Future, as well as for his work on the Jay-Z/Kanye West collaboration, “Watch the Throne.”
Listen to Frank Ocean's "American Wedding" here.
Then listen to The Eagles' "Hotel California."
What do you think? Ripoff, or homage? Vote in our poll, and tell us on Facebook.
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