Less than a month after announcing he had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer, legendary New York rocker Eddie Money died on September 13th at age 70. In July, Money canceled the remainder of his 2019 tour dates after developing pneumonia while in the hospital recovering from his heart valve procedure. The cancellation marked the first time in Money's career that ever been scrapped a tour. Money's cause of death is being attributed to complications from a the recent heart surgery.
An official statement was released reading: “The Money family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning. It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father. We cannot imagine our world without him. We are grateful that he will live on forever through his music.”
To many, Eddie Money — who was born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island — will always personify the ultimate New York rocker. Money, who came from a family of police officers, and briefly worked for the police department, moved in the early 1970's to Berkeley, California. It was there that he signed with the legendary Bill Graham, who secured him a deal with Columbia Records
Despite all of Eddie Money's hits over the years, only two of them actually hit the Top 10 — 1986's “Take Me Home Tonight” with Ronnie Spector, which hit Number Four; and 1988's “Walk On Water,” which reached Number Eight. Before that, the closest he had gotten was 1978's “Baby Hold On,” which topped out at Number 11 and “Think I'm In Love” which stalled at Number 16.
Amazingly, his signature hit, “Two Tickets To Paradise,” got no further than Number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Eddie Money's reality show with his family, Real Money, airs on AXS TV on Sunday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET. There has been no announcement regarding the continued run of the series. Money released his most recent album in July, titled Brand New Day.
In 2009 he released his In The Covers EP, Volume One, which featured such covers as the Beatles' “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” AC/DC's “It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Want To Rock And Roll),” the Four Tops' “Reach Out (I'll Be There)),” and Train's “Drops Of Jupiter.”
In 2007 Money released Wanna Go Back, which featured his takes on his favorite 1960's hits, including the Foundations' “Baby Now That I Found You” and “Build Me Up Buttercup”; the Rascals' “Good Lovin'”; and Wilson Pickett's “Land Of A Thousand Dances.”
In January 2015 Eddie Money brought his musical autobiography to Long Island, New York's Madison Theatre at Molloy College over two weekends. The production, Two Tickets To Paradise: The Musical, was directed by fellow Long Islander John Blenn and spotlighted Money’s life growing up in Plainedge, Long Island and his eventual relocation to California in hopes of perusing a musical career.
MONEY ON MONEY
Eddie Money was one of the few artists that legendary Bay Area promoter Bill Graham not only booked but also managed. Money says that he learned the rules on the road from Graham, and that his influence on him as a performer and a person simply can't be underestimated: “Bill Graham was my manager from 1976 up until he died (in 1991), and he was a great, great guy. And if you think about it, (during World War II) he actually walked out of Russia and Poland with about 500 kids — walked trying to get to Paris, and half of them died on the way to get there. It was heartbreaking everything his family went through, but he was such a sweetheart of a man. He was just so professional. I think I really owe a lot of my success to Bill.”
Although Eddie Money enjoyed recording every few years, he remained realistic about the downside to being a vintage artist: “Well, I'll tell you the truth: I've talked to Bob Seger, and I've talked to Tom Petty, and I've talked to Rod Stewart, we all had a drink one night. And we all came to the conclusion that once you put your Greatest Hits album out, they could give a s*** if you live or die. Once they've got 'Shakin',' 'Two Tickets To Paradise,' 'Take Me Home Tonight,' 'Baby Hold On' all on the same record, then it's like, instead of M for Money, it's M for miscellaneous rock.”
Eddie Money had come a long way since his death defying hard partying days back in the early-'80s. The “Money Man” revealed that his “rock bottom” actually inspired a few of his biggest hits, admitting that prior to writing and recording his 1982 classics “Shakin'” and “Think I'm In Love” — he nearly died: “The leanest period, was I guess, I wound up taking a bathtub barbiturate, which was horrible — I thought it was blow, and I was drinking a lot and I would up having a really bad overdose on a drug called fentanyl. A matter of fact, the guy's in jail right now for the rest of his life; he killed so many young people. And I couldn't walk for a year and I had my kidneys dialysis-ised — it was a horrible part of my career. But then I came back and I wrote the No Control album, (laughs) which turned out to be double platinum. And the whole record is actually just about the overdose. The reason I wrote the No Control album was to talk. . . teach people, 'Hey, you don't have to be rich and famous to O.D. on somethin'.”
Although Eddie Money's concerts over the past 20 years became cross-generational affairs, the Long Island, New York native remained a longtime favorite of many biker groups — a connection he made once he relocated to Northern California in his early-'20s when he hooked up with legendary promoter Bill Graham. Money shed some light on his connection to the Hells Angels in and around the Bay Area: “Y’know, back when I was comin’ up, I’d go out from Berkeley, California, and from Oakland, so Sonny Barger and that’s where all the Hell’s Angels are from. And, y’know, they were always really cool to me, ‘cause I used to wear really long hair. I was a bell bottom (laughs) salesman on Telegraph Avenue, and I got to know the Angels. They were always great to me. If you were on the good side of the Angels, it was great. All the bikers, y’know, the chicks in the biker bars. . . Y’gotta be nice to the bike people, ‘cause they’re gonna be around, anyway, you might as well get along with them all.”
We recently asked Money how despite his success in the '70s and '80s he was still a top concert draw — without ever having to launch a “comeback” tour to entice audiences to come out: “Well, y'know why that was? Because I wasn't a Huey Lewis or a Michael Bolton or somebody that was gonna hit and hit big and — 'Get outta here, we're so sick of this!' Everybody pictures Eddie Money in, y'know, not really an earring, or a goatee. It's usually a shirt and tie kinda guy and with a. . . Sears & Roebuck jacket on (laughs).”
Eddie Money said he didn't mind that he was never deemed a rock superstar like his original Columbia Records labelmates such as Aerosmith, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen, despite his string of 1970's and '80s hits: “But y'know what, at that point in my career, getting to play with Santana at Madison Square Garden, or doing all those big shows — or getting to open up for the Rolling Stones, or play with the Who at the Silverdome in Detroit. I couldn't really bitch and moan. It got to the point that we were shipping gold. And I was doing a show, in the old days, I was doing a 75 minute show for a $1,000 a minute, (laughs) pretty good money, y'know?”
Amazingly, although Eddie Money was a household name since his 1977 self-titled debut album, it took a full decade for his songs to find a home in the Top 10: “Y’know, like, with 'Walk On Water' I wasn’t crazy about the song: 'Na, na, na, na, na, na, na' — but I knew it was gonna be a big hit, and you gotta figure out what the label wants. You gotta be a business man — not just a writer. You gotta figure out what record they wanna push. I knew 'Take Me Home Tonight' was going to be huge, because it had two choruses. And I called up Ronnie (Spector) — and she’s such a sweetheart — to come down and do that cut with me. And the video looked amazing. So, that was a big hit for me. That was a lot of fun.”
When we last caught up to him, Eddie Money told us that he still lived for the road and hits the ground running every night on tour: “It’s a great show, it’s really fantastic. I start off with, 'Baby Hold On. . .' Well, y'know, I had 14 songs in the Top 100. The big guy upstairs has been very good to me in that angle.”
EDDIE MONEY REMEMBERED
Ronnie Spector: “Eddie’s voice was soulful Rock & Roll, I just loved it. That’s really why we got together in the first place. I loved his voice, he loved mine. He introduced me to a whole new generation of fans in the 1980's with our recording and video of 'Take Me Home Tonight.''”
Sammy Hagar: “RIP my friend. Memories like this and your music will live forever. Our love goes out to your wonderful family. I know you and Bill are rocking. May every cover band play an Eddie Money song tonight.”
Alice Cooper – via Billboard: “I first met Eddie when we did some shows together early in his career, and we’ve crossed paths many more times along the way. He kept having huge hits, which was no surprise because he seemed to have a voice that was made for the radio. But of the things I can most relate to about Eddie is that like myself, Eddie had his struggles with addiction and he found his way out of it with the help of his family. Another thing about his family is that Eddie brought them all on the road with him. They all performed on stage with him in his band, and that’s the way my family works as well, we have that in common. Eddie Money is and always will be an American icon of Rock N Roll, and I love playing his music on my radio show every night. My condolences to his family and fans around the world.”
Paul Stanley: “EDDIE MONEY RIP. So sad to hear of his passing. I remember his first album which I LOVED. A fine singer through the years. My condolences to his family.”
George Thorogood & The Destroyers: “Our sincere condolences go out to Eddie’s wife and family. We are holding you all close in our hearts during this difficult time. Much love, George Thorogood and The Destroyers”
MTV's Martha Quinn: “One ticket to paradise, please.”
Foreigner's Kelly Hansen: “RIP Eddie. You were our friend, tour mate and a real guy in rock star skin. Enjoy paradise, we’ll miss you”
Dee Snider: “So sad to hear about the passing of @ImEddieMoney. He was a really great guy and I considered him a friend. Condolences to his family from mine. It sounds trite I know, but we WILL always have his voice and music. “
Slash: “RIP #EddieMoney”
Rob Zombie: “Metallica played sort of like a special show at the Palladium in L.A. right after they appeared that night on the Grammys with Lady Gaga, and I was up in the VIP section watching Metallica and Eddie Money was up there. And I was just hanging out with him, talking, and he was like super nice and really funny, just like. . . He talks in that sort of like your inappropriate uncle at Christmas or something — 'Lemme tell ya!' He had that very distinctive voice. And he was just one bad joke after another after another. He was really super cool.”
Rick Springfield: “So sad to hear our rock and roll brother Eddie Money passed away this morning. Love to your family and great memories of you Eddie”
Bret Michaels: “My deepest condolences go out to the family & friends of @ImEddieMoney. My thoughts & prayers are with you.”
The Brady Bunch's Maureen McCormick: “Rest In Peace My Dear Friend Eddie Money. I was so honored to be one of your background singers. Sending all my heartfelt condolences to Laurie and the family.Thinking of you and sending my love.”
Richard Marx: “Such a sweetheart. Saw him in January at our benefit for the Malibu fires/Borderline shooting victims and hadn’t seen him in years. He gave me a big hug and immediately, while still hugging me, whispered a dirty joke in my ear. 'So this guy’s wife. . .'”
NYPD Counterterrorism: We are saddened to hear the passing of singer & former member of the #NYPD Eddie Money. @ImEddieMoney was a Brooklyn native before moving to California at age 19 & came from generations of police officers. You were a legend that will be remembered forever.”