Anyone familiar with the music of Joe Walsh is well aware of his talents as a musician, composer and performer. A musical icon, Walsh is incredibly accomplished when it comes to his music and longevity in the music industry. During his tenure he’s played a huge part in the success of the James Gang, the Eagles and is currently a member of Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band. As if this wasn’t impressive enough, he also lays claim to being a successful solo artist. In short, when listening to Joe Walsh songs, you’re sure to find surprises, variety and perception. To illustrate that fact, we’ve collected and ranked 10 of his best performances right here.
10. Waffle Stomp
Fans of the 1982 film, “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, will surely recognize this song. The “Waffle Stomp” is a mix mash of a variety of musical stylings, from techno beats to snappy keyboard action, all interspersed with some energetic claps. This is a fun, jaunty tune that’s accompanied by humorous lyrics, worthy of a “Mad Magazine” song satire.
9. Turn to Stone
“Turn to Stone” shared Walsh’s feelings about the Nixon administration and Vietnam War. The world was hot in those days, with the evening news showing footage of soldiers returning home in body bags, and streets bursting with protesters. According to Walsh, he was also at the Kent State shootings, which added to his disillusionment with what was happening during that time.
8. Song for Emma
“Song for Emma” is taken from a page of Walsh’s own life. It relates the tragic story of how his daughter of four years, was taken from him due to a car accident. Walsh saw this song as a chance for closure. “Song for Emma” is featured on his album, which reflected his outlook on life during that time, “…I was angry. I was really made at God, and I felt that was a great reason to drink.”
7. All Night Long
Another one of Joe Walsh’s compositions which found itself on a movie soundtrack is “All Night Long”. The movie was Urban Cowboy, and starred John Travolta. The up tempo, “All Night Long’ is a fun musical romp, the perfect party tune for dancing or mechanical bull riding. The song has a noticeable country sound, which helped it to chart on Billboard’s Hot 100 at #19, spending a total of 16 weeks on the Hot 100.
6. Life in the Fast Lane
Composed by Joe Walsh and Eagles band mates Glenn Frey and Don Henley, “Life in the Fast Lane” recounts the story of a couple who live life to the extreme, without concern for consequences. The song is an example of the comradery the men shared. It seems that one night, Walsh had his guitar and was warming up for a show. His band mates heard it, and exclaimed, “Well, there’s our Joe Walsh Eagles song!”
5. In the City
The Warriors is a film which came out in the 70’s and starred Michael Beck. Though the film never became a hit when released, it did develop a cult following that’s lasted throughout the years. Composed by Barry De Vorzon and Walsh, “In the City” was included in the film’s soundtrack, and became an instant classic. Later on, when the Eagles heard it, they decided to adapt the song, re-record it and place it on their album, The Long Run.
4. Life’s Been Good
It doesn’t take a genius to get the gist of this song. “Life’s Been Good” revolves around the partying life of your average, 1970’s rock star. Some will call the song a satire, while others will call it the absolute truth, no satire about it. Which every way you lean, it’s a fun song, one to sing along with. “Life’s Been Good” was included on the soundtrack of the 1978 film, FM and also on his 1978 album, But Seriously, Folks…
3. Rocky Mountain Way
Walsh shares writing credits with Rocke Grace, Kenny Passarelli and Joe Vitale for “Rocky Mountain Way”. Composed in 1973, “Rocky Mountain Way” was the song to put him on the map, so to speak. “Rocky Mountain Way” was the product of Walsh’s musings as he mowed his Boulder, Colorado lawn. However, things didn’t turn out as planned, as he was so excited to receive inspiration for the song, his lawn mower went on its own, traveled to the neighbors yard and gobbled up her roses!
2. Funk #49
If the song’s title isn’t familiar, there’s a good chance that once you hear it, you’ll recognize it. Totally unique, creative and powerful, “Funk #49” was composed by Walsh, Jim Fox, and Dale Peters back when Walsh was a member of “The James Gang” band. You not only get funk and rock meshing together, but the smatterings of tribal vibes really give it a punch.
1. Help Me Through the Night
“Help Me Through the Night” is from his album, So What?. A reflective, pensive piece, one can’t help but feel the anguish of losing a child. A tender anthem to a mans well-kept, introspective nature. Back up vocals are provided by Glenn Frey, Randy Meisner and Don Henley of the Eagles. This was the first time these men played together on an album. Soon after, Walsh would join the Eagles as a permanent member.
When you’re dealing with an artist such as this, finding the best Joe Walsh songs can be quite a task. He’s been everything from a composer, session musician, and performer in his career. His innate ability to sense the strengths of a song and play accordingly makes him a favorite with fellow musicians. Besides enjoying being a part of the James Gang and the Eagles, Walsh also joined the remarkable Ringo Starr in his band, Ringo Starr and His All Starr Band. Sadly Walsh passed away in 2023.
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