There are so many words that we could use to describe the remarkable life and accomplishments, and true legacy of singer and songwriter Eddie Money. He was truly gifted, but his path to stardom was a bit rocky in the beginning.
Edward Joseph Mahoney was born into a large Irish-Catholic family in Long Island, NY. He started singing on the streets at age 11 and played in numerous rock bands “mostly to get chicks,” as he later stated. After struggling in high school, he finally graduated and at age 18, he tried to follow in the footsteps of his police officer grandfather, father, and brother as a NYC police department trainee. However, much to his father’s dismay, he soon found that wasn’t the path for him, and he left to pursue a career in music. “I couldn’t see myself in a police uniform for 20 years of my life, with short hair,” he later said, referring to the department policy that then stated, “no long hair”.
In 1968, Money moved to Berkeley CA to study with vocal coach, Judy Davis. He took on the stage name Eddie Money, dropping a few letters from his name and sarcastically referencing the fact that he was always broke. He worked in sales to support himself while he was studying and fine-tuning his craft. He also played in numerous clubs in the San Francisco Bay area, becoming a regular fixture on the club scene for several years. It was there that he was discovered by rock concert promoter, Bill Graham, and signed to a deal with Columbia Records in 1977. Money soon charted with the singles “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise”, both about visiting his girlfriend despite not having much money. With his star on the rise, he started opening for larger acts like Santana and Kenny Loggins.
In 1982, Money took advantage of the exploding MTV music video scene with his humorous narrative videos for “Think I’m in Love” and “Shakin.’” He also appeared on many of the hot music shows at the time such as American Bandstand, Solid Gold, and the Midnight Special.
His initial time at the top was short-lived however, as he struggled with drug and alcohol addiction. In 1980 after drinking vodka, Money overdosed on a synthetic barbiturate that he mistook for cocaine. He suffered damage to the sciatic nerve on his left leg, was unable to walk for months, and had a permanent limp thereafter. His less-than-stellar 1983 album “Where’s the Party” was released to waning interest, mediocre reviews and declining sales.
He took a couple years off to straighten himself out, then released his come-back album
“Can’t Hold Back” in 1986, which contained his smash hit “Take Me Home Tonight,” as well as the hit “I Wanna Go Back.” With his career back on the rise, Money would release several more albums in the following years, as well as write songs for movies and television. Money married Laurie Harris in 1989 and together, they had five children: Zachary, Jessica, Joseph, Julian, and Desmond. In 2000, the growing family moved to Westlake Village, CA. In 2001, Money joined a twelve-step program to deal with his drinking and made a promise to his wife and children that he would change. In 2003, he reported that he was finally clean and sober.
He also dabbled in acting, appearing in shows such as “The King of Queens” and “The Drew Carey Show” as fictionalized versions of himself. In addition, he also had a very short-lived radio show called “Money in the Morning” which lasted 3 months. Most recently Money developed, produced and starred in a reality show called “Real Money,” a show about his family and himself. Season 1 aired in 2018 ending with Money’s cancer diagnosis, which aired 3 days before he died. The show’s second season was expected to follow Money’s “journey as he tells his family about the disease and undergoes treatment” according to show producers. Sadly, that will never happen now.
The road to fame and fortune is rarely a fairy tale and is often plagued with many pitfalls like drugs and alcohol along the way. Such was the case of Eddie Money. In July 2019, Money underwent heart valve surgery and contracted pneumonia, causing him to cancel tour dates. Money had been a cigarette smoker for years. On August 24, 2019, he revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. Complications from the cancer resulted in his death in a Los Angeles hospital on September 13, 2019, at age 70.
On a personal note, Eddie Money’s music provided the perennial soundtrack to our lives. We here at Pop-Daze are saddened by his untimely passing. His unique style brought us hits that we’ll never forget. Rest in peace Edward Joseph Mahoney. Your music will live on forever for all of us. You will be missed.
Tami Danielson is the main in-house blogger and Director of operations for Pop-Daze. She was raised in California and Florida and currently resides in Oregon. Tami has written for a variety of periodicals and has provided digital marketing services for a number of artists. She can be reached at [email protected].