On September 13, we lost singer, songwriter and saxophone player Eddie Money, a friend to Goldmine, participating in multiple interviews in recent years. We look back at his career and highlight our most recent interview with Eddie, published last year.
By Warren Kurtz
Photo after Eddie Money’s July 15, 2017 concert in Webster, Massachusetts
Eddie Money’s Top 40 debut single, “Baby Hold On,” co-written with the guitarist Jimmy Lyon, from Eddie Money’s self-titled debut album, reached No. 11 in spring of 1978, followed by “Two Tickets to Paradise” that summer, which reached No. 22. Eddie told Goldmine where he first heard his first hit single on the radio, “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.”
Eddie’s single “Maybe I’m a Fool,” with a slight disco sound, from his second album, Life for the Taking, reached No. 22 in early 1979. The single “Think I’m in Love” reached No. 16 in 1982, the same year that his single “Shakin’” received significant FM rock airplay, both from his album No Control.
Eddie Money’s highest charting single debuted in the Top 40 in the fall of 1986 and reached No. 4. It was “Take Me Home Tonight” which referenced The Ronettes’ hit single “Be My Baby,” with Ronnie Spector as a guest on the record singing, “Be my little baby.” At that point in time, Ronnie had stepped away from music until Eddie called her. He shared with Goldmine, “Ronnie wasn’t easy to track down in the ‘80s. 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 sang, ‘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.” In concert, Eddie’s daughter Jesse performed Ronnie’s lines.
Jesse and Eddie, July 15, 2017, Webster, Massachusetts.
“Take Me Home Tonight” was the first of three Top 40 singles from Eddie Money’s Can’t Hold Back album. The album’s closing number, “Calm Before the Storm,” also served as the flip side of “Take Me Home Tonight.” Eddie co-wrote this one with guitarist John Nelson. Eddie’s opening lyrics were, “Love can knock you out when it first hits you. You can’t really stop it when it starts. Boy, it’s really great to have someone to talk to, someone who can listen from the heart.” John Nelson’s lead guitar was strong and Arthur Barrow’s keyboards were prominent.
Flip side: Calm Before the Storm
A side: Take Me Home Tonight
Top 100 debut: August 16, 1986
Peak position: No. 4
The Can’t Hold Back album was Eddie’s fourth album to reach multi-platinum status in the U.S. and also contained the song “Stranger in a Strange Land,” co-written by Henry Small, known for his work with the Canadian band Prism in the ‘80s. Henry told Goldmine, “I was so sorry to hear of Eddie’s passing. Eddie will always have a fond place in my memory. I had moved to Canada with my wife and children. Ritchie Zito, who was Eddie’s producer at the time, phoned and asked to use a song I had written with Tommy Whitlock. I was down and out at the time and when he asked to use the song, I happily agreed. That one phone call kind of saved my life at that time and I have always been grateful to Eddie ever since. My sincere good wishes to his family at this time.”
At the end of the ‘80s, Eddie married Laurie Harris, who he met at one of his concerts, standing close to the stage.
Eddie Money’s eleventh and final Top 40 single came in 1992 with “I’ll Get By.” Eddie is survived by his wife Laurie and their five children Zach, Jesse, Joe, Julian and Desmond (Dez). In addition to the family’s television show, “Real Money,” Eddie continued to perform in concert through this year, always allowing time to take photos with fans and signing every last autograph.
1986’s Can’t Hold Back album and 1977's Eddie Money debut album
Warren Kurtz is a Contributing Editor at Goldmine. “Warren’s Fabulous Flip Sides” can be heard most Saturday mornings, in the 9 a.m. hour, Eastern time, as part of “Moments to Remember” at wvcr.com or iHeart Radio – search WVCR.