Thursday, March 22, 2012

The #50 Guitarist of the Rock Era: Joe Walsh

We are halfway there.  50 of the best guitarists of the Rock Era have been revealed:

100. Mick Barr, Orthrelm
99. Jerry Cantrell, Alice in Chains
98. Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield Blues Band
97. Danny Kirwan, Fleetwood Mac
96. Daron Malakian, System of a Down
95. Sam Totman, Dragonforce
94. Kerry King, Slayer
93. Robbie Krieger, Doors
92. Ted Nugent
91. Jason Becker, David Lee Roth
90. John 5, David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson
89. Jake E. Lee, Ratt, Ozzy Osbourne
88. Michael Wilton, Queensryche
87. James Munky Shaffer, Korn
86. Uli Jon Roth, Scorpions
85. Richie Sambora, Bon Jovi
84. Rick Derringer, McCoys, Edgar Winter Group, solo
83. Dave Mason, Traffic, solo
82. Warren DeMartini, Ratt, Whitesnake
81. Synyster Gates, Avenged Sevenfold
80. Jack White, the White Stripes
79. Alex Lifeson, Rush
78. Chuck Schuldiner, Death
77. Neil Young, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, solo
76. C.C. DeVille, Poison
75. Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rossington-Collins Band
74. Peter Frampton, Humble Pie, solo
73. Neil Giraldo, Pat Benatar
72. Keith Richards, Rolling Stones
71. Michael Schenker, Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Group
70. Tom Morello, Rage Against the Machine
69. Neal Schon, Santana, Journey
68. Vivian Campbell, Whitesnake, Def Leppard, Thin Lizzy
67. Dave Mustaine, Metallica, Megadeth
66. Danny Gatton
65. Timo Tolkki
64. Allen Holdsworth
63. Dave Murray, Iron Maiden
62. Nuno Bettencourt, Extreme
61. Ace Frehley, Kiss, solo
60. Reb Beach, Winger
59. Allen Collins, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rossington Collins Band
58. Kurt Cobain, Nirvana
57. John Petrucci, Dream Theatre
56. Richie Kotzen
55. Michael Angelo Batio, Holland, Michael Angelo Band, Nitro
54. Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley
53. Rick Nielsen, Cheap Trick
52. Eddie Clark, Motorhead
51. Vinnie Moore, UFO

You can't help but smile when you watch #50 perform:

#50: Joe Walsh, James Gang, Eagles, Solo
49 years as an active guitarist
(at the 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival)

Joseph Fidler Walsh was born November 20, 1947 in Wichita, Kansas, and is universally recognized as one of the top guitarists in the world. He is best known for being a member of the James Gang and the Eagles, one of the top groups in music history. Joe's guitar-playing has also been in high demand by other artists for session work.

Walsh and his family moved several times before winding up in Montclair, New Jersey, where Joe attended Montclair High School. While Attending Kent State University in Ohio, Walsh began playing with several groups, including the Measles.

In 1968, Walsh replaced Glen Schwartz as the lead guitarist of the James Gang.

Early on with the James Gang, Walsh hot-wired the pickups on his guitars to create his trademark "attack" sound. The James Gang had a good following and were best known for their hit "Walk Away". In late 1971, Walsh left the group and formed the group Barnstorm, although their albums credit Walsh as a solo artist. In 1973, the album The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get became Joe's breakthrough. The popular "Rocky Mountain Way" was the lead track on the album. In 1974, the group split up and Walsh continued as a solo artist.

Joe released a couple of albums and then solidified the Eagles' status as one of America's top bands when he became their guitarist. Walsh became a key factor in the group immediately, contributing the famous guitar solo on "Hotel California" and co-writing the song "Life in the Fast Lane" for the Hotel California album in 1978. Following the release of this album, Walsh recorded another solo album But Seriously, Folks, which featured "Life's Been Good", his comic tale of being a rock star. Joe also wrote and recorded the great song "In the City" for "The Warriors" Soundtrack, a song later re-recorded for the Eagles' The Long Run album.

The Eagles broke up in 1980 and Walsh returned to his solo work. He also performed live with the Australia group the Party Boys in 1984 and 1984. Joe remained in Australia after the tour and began the short-lived touring group Creatures from America. He returned to Australia in 1989 to tour with another incarnation of the Party Boys and also toured with Ringo Starr. While producing the Herbs album Homegrown, Walsh briefly joined them and appears as lead vocalist on two of their tracks.

In 1990, Walsh joined a group of established musicians called the Best along with Keith Emerson from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, bassist John Entwistle of the Who, guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter from Steely Dan & the Doobie Brothers and drummer Simon Phillips. The band did several concerts and released a live video.

In 1994, Walsh reunited with the Eagles for one of the most successful reunions of all-time and the live album Hell Freezes Over. Walsh has toured regularly with the supergroup since then and in 2007, the group released their first studio album in 28 years, the phenomenal Long Road out of Eden. In 2004, Walsh performed live at Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival in Dallas, Texas, which included some of the top guitarists in the world. Also that year, Joe performed in The Strat Pack concert in London to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fender Stratocaster guitar.

In 2006, Walsh reunited with members of the James Gang for a 15-date summer concert tour. Earlier this year, re released his first solo album in 18 years--Analog Man, produced by Jeff Lynne of ELO.

Walsh has produced albums by Dan Fogelberg and Ringo Starr. Walsh played lead guitar on America's 1973 album Hat Trick and he played slide guitar on three songs for REO Speedwagon's 1973 album Ridin' the Storm Out. Joe played on Andy Gibb's debut album Flowing Rivers, including the hits "I Just Want To Be Your Everything" and "(Love IS) Thicker Than Water". He also performed a guitar solo on Eagles bandmate Don Henley's 1982 hit "Dirty Laundry" and co-wrote and played lead on "Split Decision" for the acclaimed 1986 album Back in the High Life by Steve Winwood. Walsh also played on Richard Marx's hit "Don't Mean Nothing" in 1987. In 1992, Walsh appeared at the Seville Expo Guitar Legends along with other featured guitarists Nuno Bettencourt, Brian May, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.

Walsh played for country-rock's Kenny Chesney on his Summer Tour of 2007 and in 2009, Joe made several surprise appearances with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Kent State awarded Walsh with an honorary degree in music in 2001.

Joe has played mostly Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul guitars. At one time, he owned a 1959 Gibson Les Paul that was sold to Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin in 1969. Walsh used a Rickenbacker 330 Jetglo on "The Long Run" and "Rocky Mountain Way". He has also played a Duesenberg Double Cat 6 Sunburst, a Gibson ES-335, the Ibanez Joe Satriani model, a Zemaitis Custom De Luxe, Music Man Guitars, a Grestsch Country Club model, various Carvin and Fernandes Guitars and Takamine & Guild Acoustic Guitars.

Joe also plays the Fender Rhodes Piano, the Hammond Organ, the Roland JD-990, the Korg Karma, the Korg Trinity, Moog Synthesizers, the Clavia, the Harmonium, the Mellotron, the Yamaha Piano, a Baldwin Grand, the Fender Precision Bass, the Gibson F-4 and F-5 Mandolins, a clarinet, an oboe, bagpipes and the timpani. Walsh has used Fender and Dr. Z amplifiers.

Walsh is ultra-talented, and has come up with some of the most memorable solos.  He's also a guitarist with quirky moves that makes him fun to watch.  Joe is entertaining, which is what people pay to see.  He was a huge pickup for the Eagles and he ranks as The #50 Guitarist of the Rock Era*.

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