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Eagles Spokesperson on Frank Ocean’s ‘Hotel California’ Sampling – ‘It’s Illegal’

The Eagles
Lisa Blumenfield, Getty Images

An Eagles spokesperson has responded to an implication by R&B singer Frank Ocean that the band’s organization was somehow “intimidated” by Ocean’s unauthorized reworking of the group’s 1976 classic song ‘Hotel California’ with an extremely direct statement clarifying the band’s side of this issue.

As we reported yesterday, Ocean seemed amused and even proud of the fuss and threat of legal action caused by the song ‘American Wedding,’ from his mixtape ‘Nostalgia,’ which finds him singing new lyrics over pretty much the entire backing track from ‘Hotel California.’

Ocean points out that the song, which he never sold, hasn’t earned him any money, and in fact could be seen as his way of “paying homage” to the band. But Eagles spokesperson Larry Solters sees things differently:

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.  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.  Any further questions regarding this matter should be directed to Warner Music Group as it is the entity that currently owns the master recording and made the contact with Frank Ocean’s representatives concerning his infringement of the master recording.

Hear a 30 Second Clip of ‘American Wedding’

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Watch the Eagles Perform ‘Hotel California’

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