Joseph Fidler Walsh (born November 20, 1947) is an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. In a career spanning more than 50 years, he has been a member of five successful rock bands: James Gang, Barnstorm, Eagles, the Party Boys, and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Walsh was also part of the New Zealand band Herbs. In the 1990s, he was a member of the short-lived supergroup The Best.
Walsh has also experienced success both as a solo artist and as a prolific session musician, being featured on a wide array of other artists’ recordings. In 2011, Rolling Stone placed him at the No. 54 spot on its list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
In the mid-1960s, after attending Kent State University, Walsh played with several local Ohio-based bands before reaching a national audience as a member of the James Gang, whose hit song “Funk #49” highlighted his skill as both a guitarist and singer. Roger Abramson, a concert producer and artist manager, signed the James Gang to a management agreement with BPI in Cleveland. After leaving the James Gang in 1972, he formed Barnstorm with Joe Vitale, a college friend from Ohio, and Kenny Passarelli, a bassist from Colorado, where Walsh had moved after leaving Ohio. While the band stayed together for three albums over three years, its works were marketed as Walsh solo projects. The last Barnstorm album, 1974’s So What contained significant guest contributions from several members of the Eagles, a group that had recently hired Walsh’s producer, Bill Szymczyk.
At Szymczyk’s suggestion, Walsh joined the Eagles in 1975 as the band’s guitarist and keyboardist following the departure of their founding member Bernie Leadon, with Hotel California being his first album with the band. In 1998 a reader’s poll conducted by Guitarist magazine selected the guitar solos on the track “Hotel California” by Walsh and Don Felder as the best guitar solos of all time. Guitar World magazine listed it at eighth of the Top 100 Guitar Solos.
Besides his work with his several bands, he has released twelve solo studio albums, six compilation albums and two live albums. His solo hits include “Rocky Mountain Way”, “Life’s Been Good”, “All Night Long”, “A Life of Illusion” and “Ordinary Average Guy”.
As a member of the Eagles, Walsh was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001. The Eagles are considered to be one of the most influential bands of the 1970s, and they remain one of the best-selling American bands in the history of popular music. His creative contribution to music has received praise from many of the best rock guitarists, including Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, who said, “He has a tremendous feel for the instrument. I’ve loved his style since the early James Gang.” Eric Clapton said that “He’s one of the best guitarists to surface in some time. I don’t listen to many records, but I listen to his.” The Who’s guitarist, Pete Townshend, said “Joe Walsh is a fluid and intelligent player. There’re not many like that around.”
So What is the third studio album by the American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joe Walsh. It was released in late 1974 on ABC-Dunhill Records.
It contains hard rock songs such as “Welcome To The Club” and a remake of the Barnstorm track, “Turn To Stone”. It also contains more introspective material such as “Help Me Through the Night” and “Song For Emma”.
On a few tracks, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, and Randy Meisner of Eagles contributed backing vocals. Over a year and a half later, Walsh would be drafted into Eagles to replace founding member Bernie Leadon, playing on their best-selling studio album Hotel California.
Two months before the release of the album, Walsh was asked about the album, and he said “I know this album’s going to be an important one for me, but it’s not easy to just crank them out anymore, I’ve got, what, six or seven albums out. I don’t want the next album to sound like a bunch of outtakes from Smoker. I want it to be the difference between Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. I’ve held back [the album’s release] until that development was there, even though the record company’s been screaming for it. I want it to be a big, big step… in thoughts, vocals, playing and maturity.”
Don Henley wrote the lyrics for “Falling Down” with Henley providing backing vocals on “Falling Down” and “Time Out”. The album features three of the four members of Eagles; Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Randy Meisner providing backing vocals for “Turn to Stone” and “Help Me Through The Night”. This would be the first time that the band members would appear on an album with the future Eagle.
“Song for Emma” was written as a memorial for Walsh’s almost-three-year-old daughter who had been killed in a car crash on April 1, 1974, four weeks shy of her third birthday. The accident was caused by a drunk driver who hit the Porsche driven by his girlfriend with Emma in the car. Later, Stevie Nicks wrote “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You” for Walsh after visiting Emma’s grave with him.
Producer Bill Szymczyk had the following written on the run out groove of the vinyl “THAT’S NO BANANY, THATS MY NOZE” on the first pressings of the vinyl. (by wikipedia)
Joe Walsh’s catalog by this point was two albums strong and of a consistently high quality. Despite a change of lineup for So What — a wide range of musicians is used, including the Eagles’ Don Henley — the sound is very similar to previous releases. A number of classic Walsh tracks are featured, including a more polished version of “Turn to Stone,” originally featured on his debut album, Barnstorm, in a somewhat more riotous style. “Help Me Thru the Night,” Walsh’s mellowest song to date, is helped along by some fine lead and backing vocals from the band. So What sees Walsh in top form as a guitarist. Most of the nine tracks feature solos of unquestionable quality in his usual rock style. The classic rock genre that the man so well defined with his earlier albums is present here throughout, and it is pulled off with the usual unparalleled Joe Walsh ability. (by Ben Davies)
Dan Fogelberg – guitar, vocals
Guille Garcia (percussion)
Bryan Garofalo (bass, background vocals)
Ron Grinel (drums)
Russ Kunkel (drums)
Kenny Passarelli (bass, vocals)
J.D. Souther (guitar, background vocals)
Leonard Southwick (harmonica)
Tom Stephenson (keyboards)
John Stronach (vocals)
Joe Vitale (flute, drums, keyboards)
Joe Walsh (guitar, vocals, synthesizer, bass, piano, mellotron)
Jody Boyer – Glenn Frey – Don Henley – Randy Meisner
01. Welcome To The Club (Walsh) 5.15
02. Falling Down (Walsh/Henley) 5.00
03. Pavanne For The Sleeping Beauty (Ravel) 2.03
04. Time Out (Walsh/Trebandt) 4.25
05. All Night Laundry Mat Blues (Walsh) 1.04
06. Turn To Stone (Walsh/Trebandt) 3.51
07. Help Me Through The Night (Walsh) 3.43
08. County Fair (Walsh) 6.48
09. Song For Emma (Walsh) 4.28