The Eagles’ rep responds to Frank Ocean’s ‘Hotel California’ sample
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This post has been corrected. Please see the note at the bottom for details.
R&B singer Frank Ocean, who is affiliated with the Odd Future collective, took to his Tumblr on Wednesday to imply that the Eagles’ Don Henley had threatened legal action over Ocean’s track ‘American Wedding.’ Ocean’s song, relased on his debut mixtape ‘nostalgia, ULTRA,’ which Def Jam re-released last year, heavily sampled from The Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’ and riffed on the song’s famous melody. Ocean said that he thought Henley was ‘intimidated’ by his take on the song, and found the whole dustup ‘awesome.’
We reached Larry Solters, the spokesman for Irving Azoff’s Front Line Management (which handles the Eagles), for comment. In an email, which he said was ‘all the lawyers would let me say,’ he offered The Eagles’ take on the matter. The underlines were included in the original:
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.
We’re reaching out to Ocean’s reps, Def Jam and Warner Music Group for further comment about whether or not the use of Henley’s music was officially cleared and what effect it may have on the commercial release of ‘nostalgia, ULTRA.’
[For the record: 1:31 p.m., March 1: An earlier version of this post described the use of the Eagles’ music in Frank Ocean’s track ‘American Wedding’ as a sample.]
-- August Brown