Rocky Mountain Way – Joe Walsh – 1973

TJoe Walsh coverhe first hit from ace guitar man Joe Walsh wasn’t really a solo hit at all – 1973’s Rocky Mountain Way featured is band, Barnstorm.

joe walsh fax

  • Joe slots in at #54 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time.
  • He was born, Joe Fidler and as a teenager began a hobby that has remained all his life – ham radio.
  • In 1968, Joe joined the James Gang as their lead guitarist.
  • In 1971, he moved on to form a band named Barnstorm. They released one album and produced another, but it was released under Joe’s name only. The album was called, The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, and featured the single, Rocky Mountain Way.
  • Barnstorm disbanded in 1974 and Joe went solo before joining The Eagles in December 1975. Since then he has played with the band (when they reunite!) while pursuing a simultaneous solo career.
  • In 1980, Joe ran for President of the United States as a mock campaign. He promised to make Life’s Been Good the new national anthem and ran with the slogan of “Free Gas For Everyone.” 12 years later he ran for Vice-President with Rev. Goat Carson under the slogan “We Want Our Money Back!”
  • Joe has either played on or produced albums by artists too numerous to mention, but including: Dan Fogelberg, Ringo Starr, Don Henley, John Entwistle, America, REO Speedwagon, Andy Gibb, Wilson Phillips, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Steve Winwood.
  • Joe’s something of a movie star too. He makes an appearance in The Blues Brothers and RoboCop,

the new zealand connection

In October 2004, Joe visited New Zealand to give a number of public talks on the dangers of substance abuse. He said the visit was to say thank you those who took him to Otatara Pa when, in 1989, he toured the country with local reggae band Herbs. He was, at the time, under heavy alcohol and cocaine addictions. He cites this visit as being the beginning of a long journey back to health.

While at Otatara Pa during that 2004 visit, Joe said,

This is a special place, and it is very special to me. It was here on a visit many years ago, up on the hills, that I had a moment of clarity. I don’t understand it, but I reconnected with my soul, and I remembered who I used to be. I admitted I had problems and I had to do something about it. It was the beginning of my recovery from my addiction to alcohol and drugs, and when I got back to America it gave me the courage to seek help.

Joe Walsh 2rocky mountain way fax

  • Rocky Mountain Way was co-written by Joe Walsh and released in 1973. It was from the album The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get and peaked at #23 on the US singles charts.
  • In 2012, when Howard Stern asked Joe how the song lyrics came about, he said,

I’m living in Colorado and I’m mowing the lawn. I look up and there’s the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and there’s snow on them in the summer. And it knocked me back because it was just beautiful. And I thought, well I have committed. I’m already in Colorado and it’s too late to regret the James Gang. The Rocky Mountain Way is better than the way I had. Because the music was better. I got the words, bam! I got all of the words all at once and ran into the house to write the words down. The lawn mower kept going over into the neighbour’s yard and ate the garden. It was an expensive song to write!

  • Joe has often performed the song live including: when on tour with The Eagles, as a member of Australian band The Party Boys (featuring legendary down-under guitarist Kevin Borich), and with Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band (an 8-minute version that kicked off with a slide guitar arrangement of Amazing Grace).
  • Covers have included versions by: Stephen Stills and Ozzy Osborne.
  • Rocky Mountain Way lyrics.

rocky mountain way – joe walsh – 1973 – video

rocky mountain way – joe walsh LIVE – 2004 Crossroads Guitar Festival – video

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