After relocating to Colorado, Walsh formed a new group, Barnstorm, recording a self-titled 1972 LP before making his proper solo debut the following year with The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get. The record cracked the Top Ten on the strength of the pop hit “Rocky Mountain Way” and was followed in 1974 by So What. In the wake of 1976’s You Can’t Argue with a Sick Mind, Walsh replaced guitarist Bernie Leadon in the hugely popular West Coast rock quintet the Eagles, making his debut on their best-selling Hotel California album. He also continued his solo career, issuing But Seriously, Folks… in 1978; the record’s highlight, the hilarious “Life’s Been Good” — a dead-on portrait of rock star debauchery — became his biggest pop hit, nearly reaching the Top Ten. In 1979, Walsh announced his campaign for President of the United States, promising “free gas for everyone” if he won (he didn’t). The Eagles’ final studio album, the chart-topping The Long Run, appeared that same year.
The soundtrack to the film Urban Cowboy generated Walsh’s next solo smash, “All Night Long,” which cracked the Top 20 in the summer of 1980; although 1981’s There Goes the Neighborhood featured his final Top 40 entry, “A Life of Illusion,” he continued recording steadily, resurfacing in 1983 with You Bought It: You Name It and issuing The Confessor two years later. In between, Walsh ran for the vice presidency, again unsuccessfully. Following 1987’s Got Any Gum?, he toured with Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band, returning to his solo career for 1991’s Ordinary Average Guy. In 1994 he joined the reunited Eagles for their blockbuster Hell Freezes Over tour and remained on the road as a solo act for years to come. In 2012, after years touring with the Eagles and writing new material, Walsh recorded his first solo album with producer extraordinaire Jeff Lynne (of Electric Light Orchestra) and Beatles drummer Starr. A comeback of sorts, the album title Analog Man pertained to Walsh’s difficulties catching up to the new standard of digital recording as a 64-year-old, and trying to adjust to technological advances in society.
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