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Top 50 Joe Walsh Songs

Joe Walsh has impressed us with his guitar playing for many years. But how often do we think about some of the songs he has written? We are going to take a look at the top 50 Joe Walsh songs. Of course, there are plenty of songs where Joe Walsh worked with other musicians. So, it is only right we include some of those as well.


The Early Days

Joe Walsh was born in Wichita, Kansas. His father was a serving officer in the Air Force and died in a plane crash in Okinawa in 1949. Joe’s mother, who was of Scottish and German ancestry, was a classically trained pianist. He got his first guitar at ten years old and, after hearing The Beatles, decided that is what he wanted to be. In his first band, though, he played bass guitar.

His mother remarried, and his stepfather formally adopted him, and the family moved to Columbus, Ohio. He attended Kent State University for a short while. That was before the murder of four students conducting a peaceful anti-war protest in 1970 by the National Guard. 

Joe Walsh’s first band was called ‘The Measles,’ who were four Kent State students. He joined the band James Gang in 1968 after their guitarist had to leave. And in 1975, he joined The Eagles after a stint with a band called Barnstorm.

Wild Days

Joe was known as a wild man and a bit of a clown and often went off the rails. It was Glenn Frey who helped bring him back to sanity. In many ways, he is a unique guitarist. He doesn’t thrash around like a speed freak and is more thoughtful about his playing than that.

Joe Walsh’s music career is still going well into his 70s. Besides The Eagles, he has played with some of the great names in music. He even played for a time with Ringo Starr and his All-Star band. Over the years, he has done some great writing both by himself and with others. So, let’s take a look at what I consider to be Joe Walsh’s Top 50 songs.

Top 10 Joe Walsh Songs

Top 50 Joe Walsh Songs

1 Help Me Thru The Night

This is a track taken from his album, So What, released in 1974. He was known for raising the roof at his concerts, so we will start with something different. This song is a gentle ballad, with the majority of it being played on an acoustic guitar. There are also some nice piano fills.

We might have guessed that there would be an interesting guitar solo, and there is. It is an understated piece that demonstrates Joe Walsh’s skill at playing slide guitar. But it is also interesting how a man with a “wild” reputation could deliver a sensitive song like this. Recognize the backing vocals? The Eagles helped him out on this track 18 months before he joined them.

2 A Life of Illusion

This was a track from Joe Walsh’s first studio album after The Eagles split for a while, There Goes the Neighborhood. It reached #34 on the American chart and was written by Walsh and Kenny Passarelli. It is a song that he first recorded as a demo back in 1973 but hadn’t finished. He finished it and included it on this album.

It is a thoughtful philosophical song talking about everything we have, just being an illusion. He talks about how some things that can feel so permanent in your life can be torn down in seconds. Often by things out of our control. Another slide guitar solo that he is so good at. Slide was always a big part of how he played and the sounds he got.

3 The Confessor

This is a track that is taken from his album of the same name from 1985. “The Confessor” was the only single released from this album and failed to chart. But, the album reached #65 on the American album chart.

With songs like this, it is all too easy to get absorbed into the music and not listen to the lyrics. This is a seven-minute track that has plenty of twists and turns, from the swirling synth beginning to the bluesy-style slide guitar that follows it.

At times, the lead vocal is sung with just a heavy drum beat. But then comes the Walsh guitar, soloing like there is no tomorrow. Seven minutes of therapy for those that like their bands loud and creative.

It’s Hard

Sometimes, the hardest thing we have to do is look in the mirror and see ourselves. And, sometimes, we don’t like what we see. But, once we have seen the truth, “warts and all,” then change can happen. This song is saying to take a good long look and to just give up whatever you don’t want in your life.

4 Pretty Maids All in a Row

I have chosen to include three songs Joe Walsh co-wrote with The Eagles. “Pretty Maids All In A Row” is the first on this list of the Top 50 Joe Walsh songs. It’s credited to Joe Walsh and Joe Vitale. The latter played drums with one of Walsh’s previous bands ‘Barnstorm.’ It was taken from the Hotel California album and was the first song Joe Walsh sang solo with The Eagles.

“Pretty Maids All In A Row” is a touching story of two old friends, or possibly lovers, who accidentally meet up after not seeing each other in years. They can’t think of much to say to each other aside from, “Hi there, how are yer?”

Joe’s voice is full of sympathy, and his guitar solo is excellent, as usual. It’s a great song with plenty of pathos in the lyrics. The mood of the music takes you along with it, and the interesting switch between major to minor chords has a full effect. The Hotel California album was packed full of great songs. It’s a testament to Joe’s writing that they thought this song was good enough to be included. It was worth its place.

5 Walk Away

Joe Walsh’s solo career and his time with The Eagles were both very successful. But, his time with The James Gang was important for two reasons. First, he developed from a very good guitarist into a great one. Second, the music they left us forms an essential part of Rock Music history. 

This song is from The James Gang’s final studio album, Thirds, released in 1971. The album reached #27 on the American chart, and the single “Walk Away” made it to #51. It was written by Walsh, who also sang the lead vocal. A typical James Gang track with a definite flavor of the song “Life In The Fast Lane” that he wrote and recorded with The Eagles later.

For more great songs by the band, check out our in-depth look at the Top 10 James Gang Songs.

6 In the City

This is a song that he wrote with Barry De Vorzon and recorded with The Eagles for their 1979 album, The Long Run. But, before The Long Run, it was recorded by Walsh as a solo track and was part of the film, The Warriors. It is Walsh’s performance with The Eagles, though, that most will remember. And, when they play, it is one of Walsh’s featured spots.

The song is about how hard life can be growing up in the inner city. As he says, it is “Survival in the city.” And that’s about all most will ever do. It was never released as a single, but perhaps it should have been. In my view, it’s one of the Top 50 Joe Walsh songs.

7 Funk #49

I had probably heard The James Gang before this, but this was the earliest track I can remember hearing. And you can’t say it isn’t a song that gets your attention right from the off.

A great opening guitar riff preceded by a little Joe Walsh indulgence gets it all going. Drums and bass are tight and provide the foundations for Walsh to do his thing.

At the time, they were never a band that you would call commercially successful. Every band wants to be, of course, but The James Gang didn’t sell out. They were one of those who didn’t change their style just to make a few cheap dollars.

A Late Starter

It only reached #59 on the America chart and only came into its own after Joe Walsh joined The Eagles. At that time, people were taking more notice of Joe, which led them to tracks like this.

I was fortunate enough to see them at Twickenham Stadium in London on the “first” Eagles farewell tour. They played this song, and it was when you see him play live, you know what a great guitar player he really was, and still is.

8 Life in the Fast Lane

One day we might get visitors from outer space, and they might ask us about our music and our culture. If they do, then just play them this. This is the last of the three Joe Walsh songs with The Eagles, and it has Joe Walsh written all over it.

Another song I saw them play at Twickenham, and once again, Walsh was king of the stage. I suggest this live version to get the full effect. Just sit down, turn it up, and let it rock. 

A song with lyrics that Walsh would understand only too well. He had been in the fast lane and probably couldn’t even remember for how long. But, he came out of it and lived to tell us not to bother. He wrote the song along with Glenn Frey and Don Henley, and it was included on the Hotel California album. It wasn’t the only song he wrote that decries and ridicules the fast Rock Star life.

9 Life’s Been Good

Joe also gave us this masterpiece. The single, released in 1978, reached #12 in America and #14 in the UK. Maybe Joe could have been a satirist if he wasn’t a guitar player. The song again ridicules the Rock Star profile and image. Including lines of the sort of behavior that he once was into.

Musically, it is a bit lighthearted and fun, which only adds to the sarcastic finger-pointing. It is a cleverly put-together song that contains some memorable lines. 

How about when he is wallowing in his indulgent self-pity, moaning about his lifestyle, and he says, “I can’t complain.” But, then adds, “Sometimes I still do.” One of the greatest Joe Walsh songs that could well have been #1 on my list, if it wasn’t for this next one.

10 Rocky Mountain Way

If you ask most people what song they associate the most with Joe Walsh, they are likely to choose this one. He wrote and recorded this in 1973, before his James Gang days when he was in a band called Barnstorm with Joe Vitale. 

It was included on an album, The Smoker You Drink The Player You Get, and was released in America in 1973 and reached #23. However, “Rocky Mountain Way” wasn’t released as a single until 1979 in the UK, when it reached #39.

This is Joe Walsh. No one else could have made this track sound like it does. Heavyweight blues riff with some stunning blues guitar work carries it along in an irresistible way. The trademark Walsh slide guitar, and what on earth is that weird noise? Perhaps it is those aliens I was talking about earlier asking about our music. No, it was Bob Heil’s “talk box” with Joe “singing” through it. 

And his guitar sound?

Sorry to all those who rely upon floppy hats and a hundred effect pedals (sorry, not sorry). This was Joe playing through a less-than-adequate amp with one Shure SM57 pointed straight at it. The only effect used, if you can call it that, was that they layered a few takes on top of each other. The result is one of the greatest Rock/Blues tracks ever recorded. And therefore, the best Joe Walsh song ever.

11 All Night Long

12 Rosewood Bitters

13 Mother Says

14 Days Gone By

15 The Worry Song

16 Midnight Visitor

17 Tend My Garden

18 Happy Ways

19 Look At Us Now

20 Turn To Stone

21 Song For Emma

22 Space Age Whiz Kids

23 Falling Down

24 The Radio Song

25 Fun

26 Got Any Gum?

27 County Fair

28 I Can Play That Rock & Roll

29 Decades

30 Over And Over

31 Second Hand Store

32 Rivers (Of The Hidden Funk)

33 In My Car

34 Things

35 I Know You’re Out There Somewhere

36 Pavanne

37 I’ll Tell The World

38 Welcome To The Club

39 The Bomber: Closet Queen / Bolero / Cast Your Fate To The Wind

40 Desperado

41 The Confessor (Live)

42 At The Station

43 Here We Are Now

44 The Doctor

45 The King Of The Hill

46 Told You So

47 All Night Laundry Mat Blues

48 Guitar Man

49 Rocky Mountain Way (Live)

50 The Devil’s Been Busy

Interested in Hearing More from Legendary Guitarists?

Well, check out our thoughts on the Best Fleetwood Mac Songs, the Top 10 Boz Scaggs Songs, the Best Van Halen Songs, the Top 10 John Fogerty Songs, and the Top 10 Songs by The Who for more electrifying song selections.

Of course, you want to listen to them. So, take a look at our reviews of the Best Headphones for Music, the Best Headphones For Rock & Metal Music, the Best Sound Quality Earbuds, the Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds, as well as the Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones you can buy in 2023.

Top 50 Joe Walsh Songs – Final Thoughts

Joe Walsh was underrated by some, but not by other musicians and artists. You can tell that by the number of big names who have asked him to play in sessions. And it wasn’t all Rock and Blues, either. From Lionel Ritchie to the Foo Fighters, many have appreciated his contributions.

But as good as his playing was, he was an excellent writer as well, as we have seen. If you want some more, then a good album is Joe Walsh: The Definitive Collection. Eddie Cochran wrote a song called “Something Else.” That title applies to Joe Walsh because he was and is something else.

Until next time, happy listening.

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About Corey Hoffman

Corey is a multi-instrumentalist who has played in numerous bands over the years, some good, some not so good. He has also written countless songs and recorded five albums in professional studios across America. Today he is a hobby musician but still loves the guitar after over 15 years of playing.

He considers his writing as a way to share what he has learned over the decades with younger generations ad always can't wait to get his hands on the latest gear.

He lives just outside New York with his wife Barbara and their two German Shepherds, Ziggy and Iggy.

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