Joe Walsh is one of the lucky few contemporary rock stars that has been able to balance successful residencies in two major bands (the James Gang and the Eagles), a respectable and platinum level solo career, and the ability to work as a musical collaborator for pals like Ringo Starr and ELP's Carl Palmer. Walsh, who began his career in Kent, Ohio (after leaving Kent State University during the upheaval of the Vietnam War protests), made three successful albums with the James Gang, gaining considerable airplay with the FM hits "Funk #49," "The Bomber," and "Walk Away." In 1972, he embarked on a solo career and went platinum the following year with the hit single "Rocky Mountain Way." His solo career was thriving when, in 1976, the Eagles tapped him to replace Bernie Leadon on guitar.
Walsh's dry wit is apparent in both lyrics and on-stage banter, and his ability to draw his audience into his show on a personal level is something many other artists should study. Walsh, who is now clean and sober, was smashed most of the time he was on stage during the 1980s, though it never seemed to adversely impact his performance when it came to making music. Today, Walsh remains active as both a solo act and a member of the reunited Eagles. He even participated in a James Gang reunion in the 2000s.