Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh (born Nov. 20, 1947) is an American guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter from Wichita, Kan., who emerged at the turn of the 1970s in hard-rockers the James Gang, appearing on the albums Yer’ Album, Rides Again, and Thirds. In 1972, he debuted as a solo artist with the ABC Dunhill release Barnstorm, named for his backing band on two subsequent albums. His guitar playing also features on albums from the period by America, B.B. King, Billy Preston, Joe Vitale, Jay Ferguson, Michael Stanley, Rick Derringer, REO Speedwagon, and Stephen Stills.

In late 1975, Walsh joined the Eagles as a second lead guitarist and stayed until their initial breakup in 1980. While the band were between albums, he scored his biggest solo success with the 1978 Asylum Records release “But Seriously, Folks…” After a second album for Asylum in 1981, he released three albums on Warner Bros. between 1983 and 1987, plus two further titles on Pyramid/Epic during the early 1990s.

He was born Joseph Fidler on November 20, 1947, in Wichita, Kansas. His father, Lt. Robert Newton Fidler, was a flight instructor who died in a 1949 Okinawa plane crash. His mother, a classically trained pianist of Scottish and German ancestry, remarried to a man with the surname Walsh.

At age five, Joseph was adopted by his stepfather and given the Walsh surname. He spent most of his childhood in Columbus, Ohio. He got his first guitar at age 10. Two years later, the family moved to New York City. After nailing “Walk Don’t Run” by The Ventures, he knew he wanted to be a professional rock guitarist. In his teens, he moved to Montclair, New Jersey, and played oboe in the high school band.

In the wake of the British Invasion, Walsh became bassist of The Nomads, a popular beat group from nearby Madison. He later enrolled at Kent State University as an English major and joined Cleveland-area garage-rockers The Measles. They served as a studio stand-in for the Ohio Express, performing on the bubblegum act’s “I Find I Think of You”, “And It’s True”, and “Maybe.”

Along with Gerald Casale, Mark Mothersbaugh, and Chrissie Hynde, Walsh was present during the Kent State massacre on May 4, 1970.

In early 1968, Walsh joined Cleveland rockers The James Gang. That May, they opened for Cream at Detroit’s Grande Ballroom. The following January, they signed with ABC Dunhill. Between 1969 and 1971, they released three studio albums: Yer’ Album, Rides Again, and Thirds. Walsh wrote some of their best-loved songs, including “Take a Look Around,” “Tend My Garden,” “Walk Away,” and “It’s All the Same.” As a guitarist, he was noted for his slide technique and hot-wired pickup sound. After the release of James Gang Live in Concert, he left the band in late 1971.

Upon learning of his exit, English guitarist/singer Steve Marriott asked Walsh to join Humble Pie as the replacement for departed co-vocalist/guitarist Peter Frampton. Walsh declined, moving instead to Colorado, where he formed Barnstorm with bassist Kenny Passarelli and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Joe Vitale.


  • Barnstorm (1972)
  • The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get (1973)
  • So What (1974)
  • You Can’t Argue With a Sick Mind (live, 1976)
  • “But Seriously, Folks…” (1978)
  • There Goes the Neighborhood (1981)
  • You Bought It – You Name It (1983)
  • The Confessor (1985)
  • Got Any Gum? (1987)
  • Jump the Blues Away (1989 • Albert Collins, Etta James & Joe Walsh)
  • Ordinary Average Guy (1991)
  • Songs for a Dying Planet (1992)
  • Analog Man (2012)


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