Frank Ocean's star may be rising, but not everyone is a fan. The Odd Future crooner recently revealed that representatives of the seminal classic rock band the Eagles are threatening to sue him over an uncleared sample.
On his breakout 2011 mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra, Ocean sings over the Eagle's classic "Hotel California" on his song "American Wedding." The mixtape and song were released for free, so Ocean hasn't run into any legal trouble yet. However, according to Ocean, Henley's label, Rhino Records, have forbid him from performing the song live.
"He (They) threatened to sue if I perform it again. I think that’s f***** awesome," the 23-year-old singer wrote on his blog, apparently taking the news in stride.
In the blog post, Ocean also says that Henley and Rhino have asked him to publicly express his admiration for the Eagles and to help efforts to remove copies of "American Wedding" from the Internet.
"S***’s weird," concluded Ocean, who is still dealing with the trappings of being a famous artist. "Ain’t this guy rich as f***? 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."
Responding to Ocean's claims, Larry Solters, spokesman for the Eagles' management company, told the L.A. Times that part of the problem is that the R&B star used so much of "Hotel California" in making his own song.
"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," Solters said in a statement. "This is not creative, let alone 'intimidating.' It’s illegal. For the record, Don Henley has not threatened or instituted any legal action against Frank Ocean, although the Eagles are now considering whether they should."
Ocean's debut album is due this spring from Def Jam, and he contributed to Odd Future's compilation LP The OF Tape Vol. 2, which is out March 20. He will perform live at the Coachella festival in April.
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(Photos from left: Courtesy Def Jam Recordings, Charley Gallay/Getty Images)