The Walsh of Sound
by Shannon MacDonald



There is no doubt that Los Angeles-based band, “The Eagles” (Linda Ronstadt’s back-up ensemble with songwriting skills guided by neighbor to Glenn Frey, Jackson Brown), was a band that was already selling millions of albums and turning music into gold and platinum. With five number-one singles and six number one albums, six Grammy Awards, and five American Music Awards, the Eagles are one of the most successful North American musical acts of the 1970s.

So how does one take this Award-Winning Southern / Country Rock band and push them into a light that crosses over to the Heavier Rock Genre? That’s easy… Right? Answer: Take a seasoned guitar player from The James Gang that writes and sings songs like Rocky Mountain Way and Funk #49 and throw him into the mix. Not so fast! At first glance, Joe was thought of as “too wild” for the peaceful-easy-feeling Eagles and they almost passed…a mistake that would have kept them, perhaps, stagnant in their comfortability. In the end-game, it is known to all… Joe Walsh gave Hotel California and The Eagles the ass-kicking they both needed. He re-birthed The Eagles into a new level of rawness, crossed the band over to “the other side”, and left the “No Vacancy” sign burning brighter than ever at the “Hotel California”. The Walsh guitar sound was amazing and fit snugly alongside Don Felder’s already skillful guitar genius. Joe’s biting “slide” work was so signature, it gave the album a distinct sound incomparable to all the other Eagles Albums that came before. As for “The Critics”… they ate it up just as much as they spat it out. Needless to say, as usual, the negative-wielding critics were wrong; Hotel California went platinum within a week of its grand release.

With all of its accolades, the road to stay number one was becoming exhausting and Hotel California took a major toll on the band. The next album “Long Run” was surely hot, but not as hot as “California”, and it saw the lights go dim on one of the finest bands American Music had ever spawned. The Eagles broke up in 1980 and devastated fans the world over.

Original Artwork: "The Walsh of Sound" ©Shannon MacDonald


As contradictory as the name, The Eagles reunited in 1994 for the album “Hell Freezes Over”, a mix of live and new studio tracks. The Eagles toured consistently and constantly. When the Eagles hit the road again, the fans bathed in the pleasure of seeing an amazing Joe Walsh… just as precise, if not better, than his studio and live work before. Joe seemed happier and more in tune with his bandmates and the audience. The reasons were crystal clear and just as critical, as testified by Joe, himself. For the first time in his long career, Joe was “clean and sober”.

Joe Walsh went on to play with Ringo Starr’s All-Star Band and continues with The Eagles and as a soloist. The Eagles are cemented “deep” in Music History as one of the world’s best-selling bands, having sold more than 200-million records. Hotel California is still considered, by many, their “Game Changer” thanks to Joe Walsh.