Eagles Lyric Priced At $700,000 In Trial

Eagles Lyric Priced At $700,000 In Trial | I Love Classic Rock Videos

Eagles live at the Capital Centre, 1977 - Eduardo Seijas / Youtube

In a recent criminal trial, a set of 13 pages featuring Don Henley’s handwritten lyrics for the iconic song “Hotel California” were at the center of attention. The lyrics, from the Eagles’ Hotel California era, were expected to fetch a staggering $700,000 in an auction. This would value each page at approximately $54,000.

Trial Details and Testimony

The trial revolves around the ownership of these pages, with author Ed Sanders being accused of attempting to sell them without the band members’ consent. The New York State Supreme Court is currently hearing the case to determine whether Craig Inciardi, Edward Kosinski, and Glenn Horowitz had the right to sell these documents. If found guilty, the trio could face jail sentences of up to four years.

Tom Lecky, a former executive from Christie’s auction house, testified in court regarding his interaction with Inciardi in 2016. Inciardi had approached Lecky with the intention of organizing the auction. Lecky described the 13 pages as being in good condition, with the words “Hotel Calif” written at the top of one page and the word “colitas” appearing elsewhere.

Lecky, after agreeing to proceed with the sale, began to evaluate the potential value of these 13 pages. Based on a recent sale of Don McLean’s “American Pie” pages for over $1 million by Christie’s, Lecky estimated that Henley’s “Hotel California” lyrics could be worth “in excess” of $700,000. He further noted that these pages were an exciting early version of the song, representing the process of working out ideas.


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Insights from Testimony and Legal Proceedings

Apart from determining the value, Lecky also sought to verify the authenticity and ownership of the pages. He discovered that Inciardi and Kosinski had acquired the papers from Sanders, who was hired by the Eagles to write an official biography. While Lecky acknowledged that having someone involved in the creation of a book might grant them access to such papers, it did not necessarily imply ownership. Due to the potential risk involved, Christie’s sought legal advice and decided not to proceed with the sale.

Before Lecky’s testimony, Eagles manager Irving Azoff took the stand and shared his perspective on Sanders’ book. The book, which was intended to be the band’s official biography, was ultimately shelved in the early ’80s after the Eagles expressed dissatisfaction with its content.

During the trial, a recording of a phone call between Azoff and Sanders was played for the court. In the call, Azoff referred to one of the Eagles as a “pampered rock star.” When questioned about this remark, Azoff humorously replied, “Probably all of them!”

The trial continues to determine the rightful ownership of the handwritten lyrics for “Hotel California.” The court proceedings shed light on the intense value placed on these pages and the intricate web of ownership surrounding them. The decision reached by the New York State Supreme Court will have significant implications for the involved parties and could potentially set a precedent for similar cases in the future.