Five For Friday: Joe Walsh (One Guy, Multiple Acts)

Today we’re starting a new series, suggested by my brother Kip. His idea was to take a musician who’s been around for a while and do songs from the different bands he’s been with. He mentioned Eric Clapton, who’s been with The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, and Derek & The Dominoes as well as having a solo career, or George Harrison, who’s been with The Beatles and The Traveling Wilburys as well as going solo. Strangely, the first guy I thought of was Joe Walsh, the "Clown Prince Of Rock," who started out with The James Gang in the late ’60’s and has been a constant in music ever since.

  1. The James Gang, "Funk #49": One of the first albums I got after getting my stereo was The James Gang’s Rides Again, that band’s second album. Side 1 was all electric, and Side 2 was all acoustic. The first song on Side 1 was "Funk #49," so named because there was a song called "Funk #48" on their first album ("Funk #50" would come on a later album). All the members of the band (Walsh, bassist Dale Peters, and drummer Jim Fox) were all given credit for writing the song. Released as a single, it made it to #59 on the Hot 100. It was more of an album cut that got more play on FM rock stations, one of the more recent developments at the time.
  2. Barnstorm, "Rocky Mountain Way": After leaving the James Gang in 1971, Joe formed the band Barnstorm with drummer Joe Vitale and bassist Kenny Passarelli. Dunhill Records billed the three albums they recorded as Joe Walsh solo projects, which didn’t sit well with him; Wikipedia tells us he said "I wanted to be a band, not a solo artist. Vitale, especially, should’ve gotten more credit ’cause it wasn’t all me. . . . It was in every aspect a collaborative effort." "Rocky Mountain Way" was on Barnstorm’s second album, 1973’s The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get, when the band was joined by keyboard player Rocke Grace. Joe plays lead and slide guitar as well as using a talk box. It reached #23 on the Hot 100 and #13 on the Cash Box chart.
  3. Eagles, "Life In The Fast Lane": Joe joined The Eagles for their 1976 studio release Hotel California and stayed with them until 1980. He wrote "Life In The Faast Lane" with Don Henley and Glenn Frey for Hotel California, and it became the third single from that album. The song peaked at #11 on the Hot 100 and #12 in Canada.
  4. Ringo Starr and His All Star Band, "It Don’t Come Easy": Joe was a member of the first several All-Starr Bands and appeared as a guest artist on several later incarnations. This was recorded with the first incarnation of the band, around 1990.
  5. Joe Walsh, "Analog Man": Joe’s most current solo album is 2012’s Analog Man, which includes performances by co-producer Jeff Lynne, Ringo, Peters and Fox from The James Gang, Vitale and Passarelli from Barnstorm, and Little Richard. This is the title track, and it probably captures the feeling of many of the older people in the audience. and by the way, "Funk #50" is on this album.

Joe Walsh, your Five For Friday, October 2, 2020.

24 thoughts on “Five For Friday: Joe Walsh (One Guy, Multiple Acts)

    1. I have about two dozen ideas already, including all of the Beatles and all of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. And those are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head…

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  1. Joe Walsh is great choice. You could have a lot of fun with a series like this. Steve Winwood would be a good choice also…and Neil Young and Stills.

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  2. I love the answer Ringo gave to the question why did he have Joe Walsh in his All Stars knowing full well that Walsh would steal all Ringo’s thunder. Because, Ringo explained, it is hard to play melody on drums.

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  3. Very interesting idea for a post. It would take a lot of research on my part and I just don’t have the mental tenacity right now, but I sure do love reading all that you write! So many musicians move around throughout their career. This will be interesting to follow!

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    1. Being kind of a music nerd, I like to keep track of things like who played with whom and when. A lot of musicians did session work as well as their own gig. I have a list I’m working off of and adding to it all the time. Hope you continue to enjoy it!

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