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 three successful rock bands: James Gang, Eagles, 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.”
Got Any Gum? is the eighth solo studio album by the American singer-songwriter Joe Walsh. It was originally released in October 1987, on the label Warner Brothers in the United States, and Full Moon in the UK, which was the last Walsh album to be released by either of those labels. The album features eight original songs which were written by Walsh with others and by himself, the album also features two covers, including the song “In My Car”, which was co-written by Walsh with Ringo Starr, the former drummer for The Beatles (the song was originally released on Starr’s ninth studio solo album Old Wave, in 1983). The album also features vocal contributions from J. D. Souther and Survivor’s lead vocalist Jimi Jamison.
The album was received negatively by the majority of music critics, while other reviewers noted good points to the album. It was also a commercial disappointment, peaking at #113 on the Billboard 200, which marked the beginning of a downturn in Walsh’s fortunes on the album charts, and ultimately led to both Warner Bros. and Full Moon dropping him from their labels. Two singles were issued from Got Any Gum?: “The Radio Song” and “In My Car”. The album’s first and leading single, “The Radio Song,” unlike the album, was a commercial success, peaking at #8 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Its music video featured the legendary DJ Wolfman Jack.
In an interview with David Letterman, on the Late Night with David Letterman in October 1987, Walsh, while intoxicated, was asked about whether the album’s title had a background, to which Walsh immediately responded “Yeah, a bum!, I saw a bum about a block away and I knew he was going to ask me for spare change, so I reach in – I’m all ready but he gets up to me and I say here, help yourself”. He says “I don’t need money, ya got any gum?”
Following the tepid reaction to his 1985 studio album The Confessor, Joe Walsh decided that it was time for a change of pace in his solo career. In an attempt to give his music an even more contemporary sound, he joined forces with Terry Manning as the right person to produce his new album. Manning made the list of personnel to be featured on the album, but the only other musician that Walsh knew before this time was J. D. Souther, who arranged and provided backing vocals. Beginning in early 1987, Walsh began recording Got Any Gum?, having written eight new songs with others and by himself, at Ardent Recordings and Alpha Sound, in Memphis, Tennessee.
During the making of this album, the former Barnstorm drummer, Joe Vitale introduced the prolific session musician Rick Rosas to Walsh and they became quite good friends. Under the tongue-in-cheek pseudonym “Rick the Bass Player”, Rosas played bass guitar on the fifth track, “Half of the Time”. After the album was finished, Rosas and Walsh went on to tour and record together, including work on three of his last solo albums, Ordinary Average Guy, Songs for a Dying Planet, and the most recent Analog Man.
The album’s cover photograph, which was taken by Carole Manning, is of the Memphian Theater, which first opened in 1935. In 1985, two years before the release of this album, the Memphian Theater was closed. It later became the venue for live theatre troupe “Circuit Playhouse”, from which it currently takes its name. The theater is possibly best known as one of the favorite hangouts for Elvis Presley, who often rented the theater to watch the latest films with his friends and fans.
The album’s back cover depicts Walsh in front of a vintage car, 1962 Ford Thunderbird while blowing up a big bubble, with gum. The album’s inner sleeve photography depicts Walsh with bubble gum popped on the outside of his face while grinning. The back cover also includes a dedication to Walsh’s daughter Lucy, who is also the niece of Ringo Starr.
James Chrispell of AllMusic retrospectively gave the album two out of five stars and wrote that “There’s nothing sadder than seeing a talented artist come up with a real bummer, but that’s just what this record is.” adding that “Perhaps this is one of those contractual obligation albums you hear so much about.” iTunes has given the album a positive review, writing, “Got Any Gum? has been widely misunderstood, mostly because it bears little resemblance to his beloved ’70s output,” also noting it “had spawned its own genre of decadent, heart-pumping pop-rock music.” (wikipedia)
Dave Cochran (bass)
Chad Cromwell (drums; percussion)
Terry Manning (keyboards; e-mu Eemulator; piano; background vocals)
Joe Walsh (guitar, vocals, synthesizer; keyboards)
Mark Rivera (saxophone on 05. + 08.)
Rick Rosas (bass on 05.)
Jimi Jamison – John David Souther
01. The Radio Song (Walsh) 3.31
02. Fun (Walsh/Vitale) 3.04
03. In My Car (Walsh/Starkey/Foster/Goody) 3.38
04. Malibu (Walsh/Vitale) 5.11
05. Half Of The Time (Walsh) 5.11
06. Got Any Gum? (Instrumental) (Manning/Walsh) 1.12
07. Up To Me (Walsh) 5.21
08. No Peace In The Jungle (Dean) 5.57
09. Memory Lane (Walsh) 4.27
10. “Time (Walsh) 4:09