5 Songs You Didn’t Know Joe Walsh Wrote

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

For nearly 60 years, Joe Walsh has maintained a consistent track record as a session musician, songwriter, and producer—writing and playing guitar with the James Gang in 1966 before launching his solo career and joining the Eagles by the mid-1970s.

Writing and co-writing a majority of the James Gang’s catalog through the early ’70s, Walsh released his solo debut in 1974 and joined the Eagles a year later, replacing founding singer and songwriter Bernie Leadon. Throughout his time with the Eagles, Walsh contributed to the band’s iconic album Hotel California, co-writing the tracks “Life in the Fast Lane” and “Pretty Maids All in a Row.” In between the Eagles’ songwriting duo of the late Glenn Frey and Don Henley, who wrote a majority of their material, Walsh also managed to squeeze in “The Sad Café,” off the band’s 1979 album The Long Run.

Throughout his solo career, Walsh has released 11 albums and a number of his own hits, including “A Life of Illusion,” “Life’s Been Good,” and “All Night Long,” and has collaborated with B.B. King, Lionel Richie, Richard Marx, Sheryl Crow, Diana Ross, Foo Fighters, Rod Stewart, Kenny Chesney, and dozens of other artists over the decades.

Walsh also wrote and produced for other artists, specifically with his All-Starr bandmate (and brother-in-law) Ringo Starr, and Steve Winwood.

Here are five songs Walsh had a hand in writing for the two artists from the early ’80s through the late 2010s.

1. “In My Car,” Ringo Starr (1983)
Written by Joe Walsh, Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr), Kim Goody, Mo Foster

Though Walsh and Ringo Starr first met in the mid-’70s during a jam session, they wouldn’t start collaborating until the early 1980s on Starr’s solo efforts, beginning with his ninth album, Old Wave. Produced entirely by Walsh, the musician also wrote and co-wrote six tracks on the album for Starr (credited by his real name Richard Starkey as a co-writer), including “Hopeless,” “Alibi,” “Be My Baby,” “Going Down,” “Everybody’s in a Hurry But Me,” along with late The Who bassist John Entwistle and Eric Clapton, and “In My Car.”

Walsh briefly joined the former Beatle’s All-Starr band in 1989, playing with them on and off since, and married Starr’s wife’s sister, Marjorie Bach, in 2008.

“He’s my brother-in-law, and he wants to involve me in making music, and what am I gonna say ‘no?'” said Walsh. “I’m really, really, really blessed to be in this family that I’m in that came along with my wife, and I still get in the studio, and I’ll be playing guitar, and I’ll look over and go, ‘That’s fuckiing Ringo Starr.’ I don’t believe it. It still happens sometimes.”

Doesn’t make a diff’rence
Don’t care how far
We can go the distance in my car
Don’t bother with directions
Doesn’t matter where we are
Cruisin’ down the highway in my car
Hey!
In my car
I don’t need no back seat drivers
So I leave them all behind
And problems, they can’t find me in my car
In my car

2. “Split Decision,” Steve Winwood (1986)
Written by Joe Walsh and Steve Winwood

Steve Winwood’s fourth album, Back in the High Life, was a phenomenal success, not only for its No. 1 title track, featuring James Taylor on backing vocals, and single “Higher Love,” featuring backing vocals by Chaka Khan, but a collection of other songs that hit the charts, including “Split Decision,” co-written by Walsh and Winwood. Walsh also plays guitar on the song as well as his slide guitar on the track “Freedom Overspill.”

Sometimes I think we’ve come too far
If we’re lost and if not where we are
Half of us is easy, the other half is hard
Even though we do our best, we end up being scarred
By the time there’s nothin’ left to choose
One man puts the fire out, the other lights the fuse

3. “Fill in the Blanks,” Ringo Starr, featuring Joe Walsh (2010)
Written by Joe Walsh and Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr)

Joe Walsh and Ringo Starr circled back to one another on Starr’s 16th album, Y Not. Some of his former Beatles did as well, with Paul McCartney duetting with Starr on “Walk with You” and playing bass on the track “Peace Dream.” The latter track references their late bandmate John LennonJust like John Lennon said / In Amsterdam from his bed “One day the world will wake up to see / The reality.

Walsh contributes guitar on several tracks and also co-wrote and is featured on the album opener, “Fill in the Blanks.”

Faded to action
Fill in the blanks
No more distraction
Thanks but no thanks
Fill in the blanks

Just an empty feelin’
Searchin’ my soul
Change of disposition
Reachin’ a goal

4. “Bridges,” Ringo Starr (2015)
Written by Joe Walsh and Richard Starkey

Off Ringo Starr’s self-produced 18th album, Postcards from Paradise, Walsh contributed the mid-tempo guitar riffed “Bridges.” Dave Stewart, Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, and Richard Marx also contributed songs to the album.

Each and every road is filled with choices
Have to decide which way to go
You can say where you’re at
Turn around or go back
Or take a chance on what’s ahead
You’ll never know

Down every road you come to bridges
Some are crossed and some get banned
And some you turn get down
And new ones get built from what we learned

5. “Gotta Get Up to Get Down,” Ringo Starr (2019)
Written by Joe Walsh and Richard Starkey

Even if he didn’t have a hand in writing songs on each, Walsh contributed guitar to a majority of Ringo Starr’s solo albums, including the 2017 release, Give Me More Love, and follow-up What’s My Name. Likely Starr’s final full-length album, Walsh co-wrote the opening track “Gotta Get Up to Get Down” on What’s My Name, which even features the former Eagle rapping.

Paul McCartney also appears on Starr’s cover of Lennon’s Milk and Honey track “Grow Old With Me,” one of the last songs the late Beatle wrote before his death in 1980.

Everybody’s on the Internet, what’s up with that
Your body just waitin’ for your brain to come back
Can’t be cool just sittin’ around
You gotta get up to get down

Gotta get up to get down
I said you gotta get up to get down
Get down

Photo by Kevin Kane/Getty Images for Scoop Marketing

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