Beefs 2014: The Eagles' Don Henley Lashes Out at Frank Ocean and Okkervil River over Song Theft

BY Alex HudsonPublished Jun 4, 2014

The Eagles' Don Henley isn't exactly endearing himself to the younger generation of musicians. He famously clashed with Frank Ocean over the singer's track "American Wedding," which borrows liberally from "Hotel California," and he more recently targeted Okkervil River's adaptation of "The End of the Innocence."

In a new interview with Australia's Daily Telegraph [via the Guardian], Henley brought up his criticisms of both Ocean and Okkervil River yet again. In regards to "American Wedding," which Ocean released on his free Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape, Henley said, "I was not impressed. He needs to come up with his own ideas and stop stealing stuff from already established works."

He continued: "Mr Ocean doesn't seem to understand U.S. copyright law. Anyone who knows anything should know you cannot take a master track of a recording and write another song over the top of it. You just can't do that. You can call it a tribute or whatever you want to call it, but it's against the law. That's a problem with some of the younger generation, they don't understand the concept of intellectual property and copyright."

He further said that his representatives had tried to approach Ocean reasonably, and Henley ended up threatening legal action after Ocean was "arrogant" about his alleged wrongdoing.

More recently, Henley demanded that Okkervil River remove their cover of "The End of the Innocence," which was recorded for the band's Golden Opportunities mixtape series.

"They don't understand the law either," Henley argued. "You can't rewrite the lyrics to somebody else's songs and record it and put it on the internet. I'm sorry, but it wasn't an improvement. We were not impressed. So we simply had our legal team tell them to take it down and they got all huffy about it."

He compared the revisions to "[painting] a mustache on some else's painting," and said, "I don't know how they'd react if I took one of their songs and re-wrote the lyrics and recorded it, I don't know if they'd like that."

In response, Okkervil River's Will Sheff posted the following series of tweets: This follows Sheff's prior comments made to The Music back in February. At the time, he said, "I really love 'The End of the Innocence' sincerely, and it's a real dick move, man. I guess he's an old fashioned guy who doesn't understand. I mean the fucking thing was free! I don't really get what his issue with it was, it's not like I was making money — I figure that's all he fucking cares about anyway, know what I mean? It's not like I was making money off it, but he still made me take it down. If I was charging money for it he would get some of that money — maybe that's what it was, because people weren't paying him for it."

Ocean took a similar view of Henley back in 2012, writing on Tumblr, "Ain't this guy rich as fuck? Why sue the new guy? I didn't make a dime off that song. I released it for free. If anything I'm paying homage."

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