Joe Walsh (b. November 20, 1947) is a highly acclaimed and veteran rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter who first became famous during the late 1960s as a member of The James Gang before joining The Eagles. As a solo artist, he is best known for the bluesy proto stoner rocker, "Rocky Mountain Way" (1973), the wry, reggae-styled "Life's Been Good" (1978), and the rousing "All Night Long" (1980) which was featured in the soundtrack to "Urban Cowboy."
Born in Wichita, Kansas and raised in Columbus, Ohio, New York City, and Montclair, New Jersey, Walsh began playing the guitar at age 10 and was an oboist in his high school band. While attending Kent State University, he majored in English with a minor in music and played in various bands in the Cleveland area that included The Measles, a garage bar group that he co-founded with three other Kent State students. After witnessing the Kent State massacre of 1970, Walsh, who was traumatized by that event, decided to drop out to pursue a career in music full time. He joined The James Gang in 1968 and became a part of that band's classic hitmaking lineup before leaving in 1972 to form Barnstorm and launch a solo career. In 1975, he became a member of The Eagles and served as the band's guitarist, keyboardist, and backing/lead vocalist through 1980 while continuing to record solo. Walsh's guitar wizardry can be heard on such hits as the Grammy-winning 1977 chart-topper, "Hotel California." He also co-wrote several of the band's songs that included the 1977 smash, "Life In The Fast Lane," and the soaring "In The City," a longtime AOR radio favorite featuring Walsh's distinctive wailing lead vocals that is a part of the soundtrack to "The Warriors" (1979).
Joe Walsh made his solo debut on the Pop/Rock charts in 1973 with "Rocky Mountain Way," a Top 40 hit he co-wrote with fellow Barnstorm band members. After several minor hits that included "Turn To Stone" (1975), a hard-driving protest song he wrote about the Nixon administration's handling of the Vietnam War, Walsh scored his biggest hit in 1978 with the self-penned and semi-autobiographical "Life's Been Good," a satirical look at the hedonistic rock star lifestyle that became a Top 20 hit. This smash was followed soon after with "All Night Long" (1980), which also made the Top 20. He had a Top 40 hit in 1981 with the reflective "A Life Of Illusion" which was later included in the soundtrack to the 2005 comedy, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin." Walsh's final charting song came in 1983 with "Space Age Whiz Kid," the lead single from his sixth studio album, "You Bought It - You Name It."
In addition to his work with The Eagles and The James Gang, Walsh was a member of the short-lived early 1990s supergroup, The Best, and he is also a prolific session musician. He rejoined The Eagles in 1994 and has continued to record and perform with the band to the present day. He is also a member of Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band.
Walsh's numerous honors and accolades include being inducted along with The Eagles into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998 and 2001, respectively. As a member of The Eagles, he is also the recipient of five Grammys. In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at #54 in its list of "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time."
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- For more info about Joe Walsh and his current projects, visit joewalsh.com.
- Walsh remembers the Kent State shootings and discusses current events in an interview with Rolling Stone (May 4, 2020).
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- Rocky Mountain Way 1973
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