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Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Nite Retro

It's Friday once again, although it seems more like Wednesday to me due to a lousy 48-hour bug that introduced itself to me sometime on Tuesday! Needless to say, I'm in the mood for some fun feel-good music, and tonight's featured artist is near the top of that criteria! If you don't start tapping your feet, singing along, or playing air guitar, check your pulse - you may have expired!

This Witchita, Kansas native has appeared in two highly successful bands as well as enjoying a very rewarding solo career. He's amazing to watch - if we all enjoyed our work so much, we'd never come home! But, then, I'm sure he hardly considers it work at all. . .it shows all over his face that Joe Walsh truly loves his craft!

Joe made his debut as the replacement lead guitarist for The James Gang in 1969. You'll likely recall this 1971 hit for the band:

Walk Away

Walsh released his solo debut "Barnstorm" in 1972. Although it was a critical success, it only sold moderately. The follow-up, "The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get" (1973) was his commercial breakthrough. The first single "Rocky Mountain Way", received heavy airplay and reached #23 on the US top 40 charts. It's still a fixture today on classic rock radio.

Over the next three years, Walsh would release a studio album "So What" and a live set, "You Can't Argue with a Sick Mind". These would be his last solo albums until 1978.

Rocky Mountain Way

In 1976, he joined the highly successful country rock band The Eagles as Bernie Leadon's replacement. His addition pushed the band toward a harder-edged sound and away from their early country-style work.

As the Eagles struggled to record the follow-up to their highly successful album "Hotel California", Walsh re-ignited his solo career with the well-received discs "But Seriously Folks" (1978) (which featured his hit comic depiction of rock stardom, "Life's Been Good") and "There Goes the Neighborhood".

Life's Been Good to Me So Far

Joe also contributed "In the City" to the The Warriors soundtrack (1979), an Eagles song penned and sung by Walsh, originally appearing on "The Long Run" album.

In The City

Joe Walsh ran for President of the United States in 1980, promising "free gas for all". In an interview for Planet Rock he commented that he did this to raise people's awareness of the election. He felt that many Americans were not even aware that there was an election going on. However, Walsh was ineligible for the presidency anyway, as he was not yet 35.

Following the Eagles breakup in 1982, Walsh continued to release albums throughout the 1980s. Unfortunately, sales were poor, musical trends had passed him by, and he maintained a low profile until the mid-1990s. Here's one shining moment from that period:

Life of Illusion

In 1994, Joe Walsh reunited with the Eagles for a highly successful reunion tour and live album "Hell Freezes Over" (And THANK GOD it did! All of you true Eagles fans know that bit of trivia). Walsh has toured regularly with the Eagles since then and they are currently working on a new album titled "The Long Road to Eden" slated for a release date sometime this year.

What else has Joe been up to lately:

- In 2004, Walsh performed live before a huge crowd at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas, Texas.

- Joe Walsh (WB6ACU) is an active amateur radio operator. In 2006 he donated an autographed guitar to the ARRL for its charity auction.

- In 2006, Walsh reunited with Jim Fox and Dale Peters of James Gang for a 15-date summer reunion tour. The tour lasted into the fall.

- Some of his most recent compositions, such as "One Day At A Time", deal with his struggles with substance abuse, particularly alcoholism. He is now a teetotaller and has been sober since 1995.

- He was also a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show. His August 8, 1989 appearance on the show was re-broadcast on January 5, 2007 during an episode of Stern's Master Tape Theatre on Sirius Satellite Radio.

- Walsh commenced 2007 with an appearance at Dear Mr Fantasy - A Celebration For Jim Capaldi: a charity gig held at London's famous Roundhouse where he appeared alongside Steve Winwood, Pete Townshend, Bill Wyman, Paul Weller and many others.

- During 2007, Walsh also joined the band for country-rock star musician Kenny Chesney on his Flip Flop Summer Tour 2007. “I don’t think there’s anybody in the world who doesn’t know ‘Life’s Been Good To Me’ or ‘Rocky Mountain Way’ if they’ve listened to any rock radio at all,” said Kenny.

And that's a wrap on yet another FNR! I defy you to get the above tunes out of your head for at least the next week! =)


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Blogger Robert Rouse said...

Good choice! Joe has always been one of my favorites. I saw him with James Gang several times. At least two and maybe three times just up the street from where I grew up at the old Emerson Country Club on South Stop 11 Road in Indianapolis, It was a teen hangout, but we had some top flight entertainment.

James Gang, REO Speedwagon, Chase, Bloodrock . . .

Ah, I really miss my youth.

title="comment permalink">June 09, 2007 6:44 PM  
Blogger Hill said...

Kick ass! You picked one of my FAVES!!!!!

I saw Joe YEARS ago in a dive joint in Nederland, TX. Yep. He was, naturally, AWESOME.

title="comment permalink">June 10, 2007 9:54 AM  

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