Any artist looking to cover or sample a song written by Don Henley needs to do two things: Ask for his permission and not alter his lyrics.
In an interview with Australia’s Daily Telegraph, Henley went on a rant about rapper Frank Ocean (who sampled the entire instrumental of “Hotel California” without permission) and indie rock band Okkervil River (who covered “The End of the Innocence, but changed some of the lyrics.)
Of Ocean’s song, Henley said he “was not impressed” and that Ocean should “stop stealing stuff” and “come up with his own ideas.” When he sounded off on Okkervil River’s cover, Henley stated, “You can’t re-write the lyrics to somebody else’s songs and record it and put it on the internet” and likened it to painting “a moustache on somebody else’s painting.”
To round out his rant, Henley said that “some of the younger generation, they don’t understand the concept of intellectual property and copyright.”
Regardless of how you feel about Henley, the man has a point. No artist should just up and sample a piece of music or change someone’s song lyrics. It’s just plain rude.
Ugh…kids these days, am I right?