What a nice surprise! Bring your alibis…
As reported by Ali Watkins, writing for the New York Times, the Eagles’ classic song, “Hotel California,” with its imagery of decadence and cynicism that delivered an incisive verdict on the fate of the legendary Sixties generation and its idyllic aspirations, was itself apparently a victim of the same type of scam and debasement that his own words reflected.
Like most songwriters, Don Henley penned his notes and drafts for what would become the hypnotic anthem of a generation accepting their own excesses by hand, long before the advent of digital media. And like other (sometimes less successful) Baudelaires of his age, Henley’s notes undoubtedly lay dormant after the final product was assembled in the glorious form millions know, as the title track of the album of the same name, released in 1976.
But those notes, like many artifacts of legend, disappeared into the blur of temporal – and in most cases temporary – friendships and associations, in this case stolen from Henley in the late 1970s by someone identified only by Watkins as “a writer working on a book about the group. Their whereabouts for the next three decades are unknown, but in 2005, according to documents filed in the New York Supreme Court, they are fell into the hands of a certain Glenn Horowitz, a book and manuscript dealer with a history of lucrative dealings with literary authors, luminaries like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and musicians like Bob Dylan.
As Watkins reports:
Nearly five decades later, Glenn Horowitz, a New York rare book dealer, and two other men were charged in Manhattan state Supreme Court on Tuesday with conspiring to sell about 100 pages of the stolen notes. written by songwriter, Don Henley, lying to law enforcement and fabricating stories about the provenance of the papers, which are valued at around $1 million.
Horowitz’s two colleagues also named in the charges, Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski, allegedly tried to “market” the notes, which is when their author, Mr Henley, caught wind of their reappearance. Since they were his property to begin with, according to the district attorney, he notified the proper authorities and informed potential buyers that the tickets were stolen property.
That’s when things got even weirder:
The men sought to launder the notes through Sotheby’s auction houses and engaged in a five-year effort to hide the provenance of the documents, the district attorney’s office said. Mr. Horowitz then tried to leverage the 2016 death of Glenn Frey, the Eagles’ other frontman, as possible cover, suggesting that Mr. Frey was the initial source for the newspapers, according to the press release.
Mr. Frey “alas, is dead, and identifying him as the source would make that go away once and for all,” Mr. Horowitz said in a fabricated provenance statement after the notes were seized by investigators from a warehouse of Sotheby’s, the district attorney’s office said.
Poor Glenn Frey. He could check, but he could never leave.