Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh

Besides being known as an interesting rock personality — he wore a suit with a brick-and-mortar design at his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — Joe Walsh has been one of rock's most active lead guitarists.

Joe Walsh was born Nov. 20, 1947, in Wichita, Kan. He caught the music bug from his mother, who played classical piano. After playing the oboe and clarinet, Walsh concentrated on bass. He played in bands in New Jersey, such as the G-Clefs and the Nomads.

In 1965 Walsh went to Kent State University, in Cleveland, where he made a habit of playing guitar in the stairways, during class. He played in a band called the Measles; in 1969 he joined the Cleveland band the James Gang, replacing Glen Schwartz.

Walsh was aboard for the James Gang's 1969 debut, Yer Album. James Gang Rides Again (1970), including Walsh's popular 'Funk #49,' went top 20 in the U.S. and was certified gold. But Walsh soon left to form his own band, Barnstorm, which issued its eponymous debut in 1972. His solo The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get went gold the following year with the success of the spacey, vocally distorted single 'Rocky Mountain Way.'

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So What, a #11 1974 LP, featured one of the country's most popular California rock bands, the Eagles. Walsh also produced and played guitar on Dan Fogelberg's hit 1974 LP, Souvenirs. Walsh then issued the live You Can't Argue With a Sick Mind and joined the Eagles to replace Bernie Leadon.

Walsh heavily contributed to the Eagles' smash 1976 LP Hotel California, including co-writing and playing sizzling lead guitar on the hit single 'Life in the Fast Lane' ( RealAudio excerpt ). He also was featured on the band's last studio album, The Long Run (1979).

While in the Eagles, Walsh released the popular solo album But Seriously, Folks (1978), featuring 'Life's Been Good,' his hit about the life of excess of a rock star. After the Eagles split, Walsh issued There Goes the Neighborhood (1981), including the single 'Life of Illusion,' 'Things' and 'Down on the Farm.' Walsh had a hit with 'All Night Long,' from the soundtrack to the film 'Urban Cowboy.' His other solo albums include Got Any Gum (1987), Ordinary Average Guy (1991), and his most recent Songs for a Dying Planet (1992).

In 1995 Walsh embarked on the 'Hell Freezes Over' tour with the re-formed Eagles and participated in the successful album of the same name.

Walsh, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the Eagles in 1998, ran for president of the United States in 1980 (using the platform 'free gas for everyone') and for vice president in 1992.

While touring solo in 1993, Walsh reunited briefly with the James Gang. He has also toured with Ringo Starr's All Starr Band.

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Other birthdays on Saturday: Tony Butala (Lettermen), 59; Dr. John, 57; Norman Greenbaum, 57; George Grantham (Poco), 52; James Brown (UB40), 42; Todd Vance (Widespread Panic), 37; Sen Dog (Cypress Hill), 34; Mike D (Beastie Boys), 33; Q-Tip (A Tribe Called Quest), 29; and Duane Allman (Allman Brothers), 1946–1971.