Joe Walsh is a Wichita native, but he spent his high school years in Montclair, playing oboe in the Montclair High band and bass in a local group, The Nomads. After graduating, he briefly attended Kent State University in Ohio and landed in a different band out there, James Gang (which had actually been around for a few years before Walsh joined). It was in James Gang that he had his first successes, with songs such as “Funk #49” and “Walk Away.”
After a few years with James Gang, he left to embark on a solo career (they soldiered on without him), and became even bigger, with hits such as “Life’s Been Good,” “Rocky Mountain Way” and “All Night Long.” In 1975, the rowdy Walsh was a somewhat surprising addition to the otherwise laidback Eagles, but the group promptly made its biggest album ever, Hotel California, with him.
He stayed with The Eagles until 1980, when they went on hiatus, and has been with them ever since they came back from hiatus, in 1994. His solo career, now, understandably takes a back seat, but he is embarking on a rare solo tour this fall (which comes to the Beacon Theatre in New York on Oct. 1 as well as to Montclair High School, Oct. 3, in a benefit to help the school renovate its library and build a media center).
Below, enjoy one of Walsh’s most ferocious early hits, “Walk Away,” also featuring his James Gang partners Dale Peters (bass) and Jim Fox (drums).
New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.