The last time I went to a bar that had a karaoke night, a man got on stage and attempted to sing “Hotel California.” He sat on his little stool, closed his eyes and gave what he probably thought was the karaoke performance of a lifetime. So much emotion in his face. So much improvisation in his delivery. He made it his song. Problem was, his song was gawd awful. He couldn’t sing a lick and the audience was forced to sit there and suppress giggles for 4 plus minutes. I’m glad Glenn Frey wasn’t there. He would have been furious.
I know Frank Ocean isn’t the most technically astute and innately talented vocalist the world has ever known, but his version of “Hotel California” aka “American Wedding” blows this poor karaoke guy out of the water. Mr. Frey, though, has a serious issue with Oceans interpolation of the Eagles classic track, a 70’s rock tune that houses some of the most compelling guitar work of the 20th century. But that’s not what we are talking about. We are talking about guitar master Frey backing up Don Henley’s less than approving view of Ocean’s remix.
We’ve written him some letters to say, Hey, buddy. What’s going on here? He’s been very flip and arrogant in his responses to us, so we just put him on notice. You do a deal. That’s what should happen in the case of his bastardization of “Hotel California.” There should at least be a deal. In fact, he should pay more because his version is so bad.
It always boils down to the bottom line and Ocean obviously hasn’t helped his cause by being a butt. I don’t know how these “deals” work when the usurping artist doesn’t sell the song, but “American Wedding” is a standard at Frank’s shows these days thanks to the Eagles. Ocean may want to tone down the ‘tude before Henley and Frey turn him into a puddle.
Anyway, “Hotel California” is a really fabulous song that’s been remade, remixed and re-warmed lots of times. Nothing will come close to the original. No one has really tried and some of these covers aren’t bad. In their desire to capture a personal sonic snapshot of West Coast excess however, a few of these artists did The Eagles dirty. I know imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, but if Frey thinks you should pay like your song’s ghastliness weighs, William Hung owes the band billions
I would post Ocean’s version as well, but he’s smarter than he looks. Finding a video copy is too much like work.
So off we go to the spot where you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. “Hotel California” – the montage. Enjoy.
Al B. Sure
Follow shelz. on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/shelzp
Follow Us on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/planetill
Join Us on the Planet Ill Facebook Group for more discussion
Follow us on Networked Blogs