Eddie Money discusses the 40th anniversary of his Top 40 debut single “Baby Hold On,” his mother’s reaction to it, how he collaborated with Ronnie Spector, his association with Pets for Vets and his family’s new reality television series Real Money.
By Warren Kurtz
Goldmine spent the day with Eddie Money and most of his family at a concert in Webster, Massachusetts, where three of his children were part of the opening act, Dez Money and The Faze, promoting their debut album Take Me Down. Proud mom Laurie watched their sons Desmond (Dez) and Julian and daughter Jesse entertain the crowd. Dez and Jesse are also part of Eddie Money’s band, who delighted the audience with the fourteen song set that followed, beginning with “Baby Hold On” and ending with “Two Tickets to Paradise,” before the encore of “Shakin’.” After a lengthy autographed CD, T-shirt sales and fan photos session with Eddie Money concluded, our interview began at the uniquely named Lake Chargoggagoggchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.
GOLDMINE: When Laurie thanked me today for waiting so long, I assured her that it was OK. I told her that I had been waiting 40 years for this and was thrilled to be here. Congratulations on the 40th anniversary of “Baby Hold On” debuting in the Top 40. Where were you when you first heard this first hit single on the radio?
EDDIE MONEY: San Francisco. I was driving my 1962 Studebaker, which only had AM radio. FM college radio had played my songs, but AM radio back then was the real thing. KFRC AM played “Baby Hold On.” I was so excited. I drove to a payphone to call my mother back east. It took six quarters to make the long distance call and I reached her and screamed, “Mom! My song is on the radio.” She replied, “It is Wednesday. Why are you calling me on a Wednesday? I told you not to call on Wednesdays, it is my Mahjong night.” I have laughed for years that she didn’t quite share my enthusiasm at that moment.
GM: When playing your first album over our speakers at Peaches Records & Tapes, promoting the songs in Cleveland, a co-worker nicknamed your next single “Two Tickets to Pepper Pike” as that is where one of the Columbia executives lived. His daughter worked at our record store branch.
EM: The Columbia executives were in Pepper Pike and Shaker Heights, too. Cleveland was so good to me. I also loved Peaches. I knew the owner, Richard Diamond. I got stuck in the Blizzard of ’77 there, so I got to spend a lot of time there. Jane Scott, at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, was so great to me. Did you know that they put her in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
GM: Yes, the news reached me in Daytona Beach, where we now live. She was a great inspiration and mentor to me. She arranged my very first interview. It was with the Captain & Tennille.
EM: I love “Love Will Keep Us Together.” Daryl and Toni owned a recording studio, Rumbo Recorders, where I recorded some of my “Love and Money” album in the ‘90s in L.A. For me, when I sing “Two Tickets to Paradise,” paradise is California. We tried Palm Coast in Florida, near you, but Malibu Beach is my favorite. I love going to the beach, but the Pacific Ocean water is cold compared to the Atlantic Ocean. We have a home there, which I love, and l love to cook, when Laurie lets me.
GM: I have enjoyed Ronnie Spector’s newer song “I’d Much Rather Be with the Girls,” which took her decades to finally record. The fun beat certainly reminds me of your biggest hit, “Take Me Home Tonight,” with her.
EM: Ronnie wasn’t easy to track down in the ‘80s. The Ronettes disbanded. She and Phil Spector were divorced and then she remarried. She and her husband Jonathan live in Connecticut. Ronnie answered the phone and I told her my name and asked if she knew who I was. She said “yes” and that she loved my music, so that was good. I told her about “Take Me Home Tonight” and the line, “Just like Ronnie says, ‘Be my little baby,’” and then I heard the clanging of glasses. I asked her what that was. She was doing the dishes. She had given up music, but fortunately she agreed to sing the line on the song, got the music bug back, and has been recording and touring ever since. Speaking of “I’d Much Rather Be with the Girls,” other “girls” I have also recorded with include Valerie Carter on my “Playing for Keeps” album with “Let’s Be Lovers Again.” She had such a nice voice. Unfortunately, she was one of the many who passed away in 2017. Another favorite is Martina McBride, who opened for me, must be close to 35 years ago.
GM: I saw Martina McBride at Country 500 in Daytona Beach. She came on stage with a harmonica, like you, and opened with a Buzz Cason composition I studied for an interview. In addition to what you do with harmonica, I really like the power you bring with your saxophone on stage as you stand next to Dez. I also enjoyed your introduction of your children as your opening act. I think Laurie and I agree on Faze favorites of “Take Me Down,” “Let’s Get Outta Here” and “Out of Control.”
EM: Thank you. Desmond worked with my old bass player and I was so impressed with what he was doing. With Dez Money and the Faze, “Take Me Down” is one of their featured songs. Dez writes and plays guitar, Julian is the drummer, and our daughter Jesse sings. It is tough for kids these days making it in the music business. For me, I sold 47 million albums.
Eddie Money with son Dez, Indian Ranch, Webster, MA, July 15, 2017
GM: You also sold a lot of singles, with eleven Columbia 45s in the Top 40. My favorite flip side is “Jealousys” which I wrote about in 2015, along with flip sides of The Police and Pat Benatar.
EM: Oh, that is a great song about the need for people to get along. There is even a line about Russia and China in it. It is still so true today. People just need to get along.
Flip side: Jealousys
A side: You Really Got a Hold On Me
Top 100 debut: November 25, 1978
Peak position: 72
GM: I definitely witnessed people getting along at your show. Young and old singing along. Veterans with dogs in attendance, which you acknowledged with your newer song “One More Soldier Coming Home.”
EM: Pets for Vets. That is my cause. I love people in public service. I was in police training in New York for two years before heading to the west coast for music. My brother was a solider in Vietnam, and I wanted that war to end. Now there is Iraq and Afghanistan and other places. At one of my shows, a wounded soldier in a wheelchair wanted to take a picture with me. He told his dog, “Toby get my cell phone.” Toby went to his wife’s purse and pulled on the zipper. Then he brought the guy the cell phone. The story gets even better. He said, “Toby, that’s Lorraine’s cell phone. Bring me mine.” I kid you not, the dog went back to the purse, brought him the right cell phone. I am watching all of this from the stage. I was amazed! I bent to my knees on the edge of the stage and we did the photo. I love dogs. We have six of them.
GM: More dogs than children.
EM: Yes, and you will get to see all the dogs, cats, kids, Laurie and me Sunday nights on AXS TV with our new reality show Real Money. Mark Cuban and Ryan Secrest helped to develop it.
Real Money publicity photo
Back row: Laurie and Julian
Front row: Zach, Dez, Eddie, Jesse, and Joe