Eddie Money: a career of iconic, heartfelt hits

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Eddie Money, born Edward Joseph Mahoney, has made a name for himself in rock music history. With a recording career that dates back to the 1970s, Money has made songs that have a signature sound without a cookie-cutter approach.

With a huge fanbase and a number of hits, Money has become an icon in classic rock. Thus, on Sunday, when HLN announced that the singer has been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer, the news was saddening. Money’s style is one of a kind. His eclectic, but authentic rock ‘n’ roll approach is worth taking the time to appreciate. Money has managed to span decades and generations and take different style moves while remaining true to his own aesthetic.

Eddie Money: the art of the song

Money’s songs thrive in their depiction of human relationships. The couple that needs to get away in “Two Tickets to Paradise”; the criminal on the lam in “Gimme Some Water,”; a man with no time for the plans of others as he fights the world in “Can’t Keep a Good Man Down”; the man struggling to get everything right in “Walk On Water,” and a man, a woman and a borrowed car in “Shakin'” and others. In each song, there is a straightforward rock ‘n’ roll beat, nuanced guitar, and an almost indescribable danceability. On top of all the other qualities in Money’s songs, most of all, there is his voice. A raspy, lower tenor, his voice is surprisingly flexible and gave life to the narratives in the lyrics. Money was introduced to most US audiences through his 1970s radio fare, such as “Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Gimme Some Water” and “Think I’m in Love.” Money was nothing if not consistent. If some young listeners did not remember the Brooklyn-born singer from his successes in the 1970s, then the advent of Music Television and the video for “Shakin'” served to remind them of who Eddie Money was.

What follows is a brief and subjective discussion of Money’s most original songs.

“Shakin'” (1982) by Eddie Money

The video aside, but for those who like exotic women and classic cars with hydraulics, the visual might be important, the song is all things rock ‘n’ roll. Money uses a stylized stutter that plays up his overwhelmed countenance as he describes the antics of a young woman who would steal the keys to her father’s car and take him for a ride. The song is as fun as it is sexy. It is a romp that finds listeners wanting the best for the narrator and the young woman. All that while a guitar screams over the rest of the instrumentation.

“Walk on Water” (1988) by Eddie Money

Such a common thing as high-pitched keyboard accents might not seem to be terribly important in a rock song, but they had to the dynamics in “Walk on Water.” But it is more than keyboards that make the soundscape here. Rhythmic, searing guitar work makes a danceable soundtrack, but doesn’t detract from the overall point of the song. Here, the narrator is a flawed man. Money is clever with words and keeps listeners engaged with allusions and his humble delivery. Phrases like “To err is human/to forgive is divine/” and “I hurt you once/or so you said/just one more chance/is all you get…” and “Didn’t meant to do you wrong again/worse things have been done by better men,” all play up Money as imperfect man trying his best. It is that approach that makes him a rock ‘n’ roll everyman who is never over the heads of his audience. Still, the song from lyrics to music surges forward with an intelligence and an awareness of how human beings behave.

“Take Me Home Tonight” (1986) by Eddie Money and featuring Ronnie Spector

The song is about desire. Money, the narrator, begins by describing his hunger for the object of his affection. The hunger “the kind that tries to keep a man awake at night” drives the song. References to appetites and engines all clue audiences in. Then, Money makes one of his famous allusions, when he sings “Just like Ronnie sang…” and the real Ronnie Spector from the Ronettes chimes in to sing a line from the Ronettes’ famous track, “Be My Baby.” the song has layers and nuances and reminds listeners of the early days of rock ‘n’ roll. The song was released 33 years ago this month, and it plays just as vibrantly as it did then.

For so many reasons, the discography of Money is relevant to the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Fans are hopeful that he makes a full recovery from the current diagnosis.

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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