Contact Us

38 Years Ago: Joe Walsh Joins the Eagles

Joe Walsh
Michael Ochs Archives, Getty Images

When Joe Walsh joined the Eagles in 1975, they were already a well-established band. But then again, he was a well-established solo star.

But Walsh helped restructure the Eagles, bringing a gritty rock edge to a group best known for laid-back, country-rock music. Walsh’s first album with the Eagles, 1976′s ‘Hotel California,’ would become one of the best-selling albums in history.

As incompatible as the pairing may have seemed at first, Walsh didn’t arrive out of the blue. He had actually shared a few concert bills with the Eagles, and they had the same manager in Irving Azoff. He’d previously gained some measure of fame as a founding member of the James Gang, a funky hard-rock trio that released three albums in a little more than a year and a half, highlighted by the radio favorite ‘Funk #49.’ Walsh then launched a solo career and released four albums before he joined the Eagles in December 1975.

“When Bernie [Leadon] decided that he just wasn’t interested very much in continuing, Don [Henley] and Glenn [Frey] thought I would plug in really well with where the Eagles were eventually going to go,” Walsh recalled in Guitar World. “And at the time, I was going, ‘Aw f—, it’s time to do another solo album. Oh s—. Anybody got any ideas?’ You know? So it all just kind of came together. I joined the Eagles, and the result, of course, was ‘Hotel California.’”

But that quick success didn’t smooth out any rough waves for the band. They’d take more than two years to complete a follow-up album before taking a long break in 1980, picking up the pieces in 1994 for reunion albums and tours. Along the way, Walsh kept a solo career going, releasing albums like ‘Barnstorm,’ ‘The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get’ and ‘But Seriously, Folks.’ He also kept up a party aesthetic that eventually became a larger issue, especially after the Eagles were grounded in the ’80s.

“When we stopped, I was sad and didn’t know what to do,” Walsh recalled in the  Daily Mail. “So I kept going. I became an alcoholic and dependent on drugs. I hit rock-bottom.” The Eagles’ early-’90s reunion — which took the form of the blockbuster Hell Freezes Over tour — couldn’t have arrived soon enough for the clean-and-sober Walsh. “He looked so bad,” bandmate Timothy B. Schmit remembered. “I think the offer to rejoin the band saved him.”

Walsh would play a key role on the Eagles’ long-awaited 2007 studio album, ‘Long Road Out of Eden,’ their first since 1979′s ‘The Long Run.’ In 2012, he released ‘Analog Man,’ his first solo album in two decades.

Next: Top 10 Eagles Songs

More from Classic Rock 96.1

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://classicrock961.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Classic Rock 96.1 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Register on Classic Rock 96.1 quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!