The rumblings surrounding Frank Ocean's "Hotel California"-sampling track "American Wedding" off his 2011 debut mixtape nostalgia, Ultra have gotten much louder today, as a representative for The Eagles issued a statement regarding Ocean's track.
News started making the rounds Tuesday that Don Henley had reached out to Ocean, a member of the Odd Future crew, threatening legal action over his use of the Eagles' 1977 hit as the basis for "American Wedding," as Ocean posted to his tumblr account that Henley was "apparently intimidated" by his version, which uses the same melody but with different lyrics.
Today, rep Larry Solters released a statement saying that the claim was not made by Henley, but by Warner Music Group, who actually owns the master recording of the track, and that The Eagles had not taken any legal action, though they were now considering it.
"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," said Solters in the statement. "This is not creative, let alone "intimidating." It's illegal."
Warner also submitted a copyright claim to YouTube, which either took down recordings of the song from the site or else muted the audio tracks from live performance videos. But according to Ocean's tumblr, that's not all the label asked.
"They threatened to sue me if I perform it again," he stated, adding "they also asked that I release a statement expressing my admiration for Mr. Henley, along with my assistance pulling it off the web as much as possible... 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."
A source said that multiple attempts have been made to resolve the situation amicably with Ocean without success thus far.