'Don Henley is intimidated': Frank Ocean fires back over sample of Eagles' 'Hotel California'

Frank Ocean, the R&B singer who tangled with the Eagles’ Don Henley last month over a sample of the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” isn’t finished talking about the situation. And it keeps getting funnier.

Writing on his Tumblr page, Ocean now reportedly says the Eagles are jealous of his work, intimating that a threatened lawsuit over copyright infringement is personal — not business: “Don Henley … is apparently intimidated by my rendition of ‘Hotel California.’”

Of course, Ocean has already made his share of unintentionally hilarious statements on the Internet, as this very public feud has continued, the best of which undoubtedly was: “Shit’s weird. Ain’t this guy rich as fuck? Why sue the new guy?”

The song in question is called “American Wedding,” which the Eagles say finds the Odd Future rapper lifting “the whole master track” from their original hit 1976 song. Ocean now says, again on his Tumblr page, that the Eagles have “threatened to sue if I perform it again.”

“American Wedding” was included on a free mixtape called Nostalgia. Ocean said that because he never sold the track, it could be seen as a way of paying tribute to the band: “I didn’t make a dime off that song,” Ocean said. “I released it for free. If anything I’m paying homage.”

An Eagles spokesman fired back in March: “This is not creative … it’s illegal.” Hear for yourself …

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on the Eagles. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

THE EAGLES – LONG ROAD OUT OF EDEN (2007): A record that plays to all their strengths: crisp songwriting by the Frey/Henley partnership (“I Love To Watch A Woman Dance” is drop dead gorgeous), simple but precise musicianship and gorgeous harmonies. In fact, the harmonies sound even better than during their heyday; we’re talking CSNY good, people. This isn’t a record that bothers in the least to follow any trend, it’s unabashedly an Eagles record. As Henley sings, “I’ve been waiting in the weeds,” the Eagles seemed to be doing just that before springing their perfected blend of country, rock and folk on a public that’s most likely ready to hear this kind of music again.

ONE TRACK MIND: TIMOTHY B. SCHMIT, “FRIDAY NIGHT” (2011): It’s like we never left Laurel Canyon. “Friday Night,” a newly issued single from Timothy B. Schmit’s most recent solo release Expando, is deliriously retro, with a welcome warbly assist from special guest Garth Hudson of the Band and a mellow-gold lyric about lighting candles and snuggling up for the weekend. As much as it might feel like a cliche — as much as it very much is a cliche — there’s a sweet melancholy to Schmit’s voice that sells it right past your initial objections. He’s the mediator, the whoa-man in a maelstrom of trouble — a role he’s been playing for years amidst the ever-tumultuous Eagles. Free of all of that, Schmit finally settles into a comfy Americana vibe again.

J.D. SOUTHER – NATURAL HISTORY (2011): Natural History was just the the second J.D. Souther solo effort in 25 years — following 2008′s If The World Was You. That curious quietude from such a talented creative voice has only deepened Souther’s essential anonymity. It also makes the choice to revisit his most notable compositions all the more important for those unfamiliar with his work. Well, it turns out you know the work — even if you don’t know the name. By the end of Natural History, it becomes clear that Souther did more than sketch out the emotional landscape for the introspective West Coast country-rock sound of the 1970s. He set the template. In keeping, he lovingly reshapes songs he wrote or co-wrote that have become closely associated with more well-known artists — including, of course, the Eagles.

GIMME FIVE: SONGS WHERE THE EAGLES, WELL, SUCKED: The Eagles have been rightly praised for their canny combining of Glenn Frey’s city-slicker R&B with Don Henley’s country-fried rockabilly. Fans responded by sending every one of their albums to platinum status, including the 16-times smash Hotel California in 1976 and its seven-times platinum follow ups The Long Run and Long Road Out of Eden, from 1979 and 2007 respectively. That said, some of their work simply can’t be received with the best of our love. Over time, the Eagles seemed to settle into imitating their past successes, even as they slowly erased much of their rootsier early sound — not to mention Bernie Leadon. Then there was Henley’s growing voice in the band, if only because he’s always had a tendency toward pedantic, blissfully unaware fingerpointing. Which compelled us to start a list of the five worst offenders.

    

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  • John Denson

    I’m sure that Don Henley, a 40-year veteran of the business, is just shaking in his boots. I’m sure he’s REALLY intimidated by this newbie punk who hasn’t accomplished anything of significance except the theft of the master track of Hotel California. What is it with this new generation of so-called “artists?” Do they have any original thoughts? Do they really think that taking someone else’s (copyrighted) work and altering it – mixing it with their own crap – is equal to creating a “new” piece of art? Frank Ocean (ridiculous, phony name) has a lot to learn — about law, about respect, about creativity and about what it takes to make a lasting impact in music. Word on the street has it that he bombed big-time at Coachella.