Joseph Fidler Walsh (born November 20, 1947) is an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. In a career spanning more than 50 years, he has been a member of five successful rock bands: James Gang, Barnstorm, Eagles, the Party Boys, and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Walsh was also part of the New Zealand band Herbs. In the 1990s, he was a member of the short-lived supergroup The Best.
Walsh has also experienced success both as a solo artist and as a prolific session musician, being featured on a wide array of other artists’ recordings. In 2011, Rolling Stone placed him at the No. 54 spot on its list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
In the mid-1960s, after attending Kent State University, Walsh played with several local Ohio-based bands before reaching a national audience as a member of the James Gang, whose hit song “Funk #49” highlighted his skill as both a guitarist and singer. Roger Abramson, a concert producer and artist manager, signed the James Gang to a management agreement with BPI in Cleveland. After leaving the James Gang in 1972, he formed Barnstorm with Joe Vitale, a college friend from Ohio, and Kenny Passarelli, a bassist from Colorado, where Walsh had moved after leaving Ohio. While the band stayed together for three albums over three years, its works were marketed as Walsh solo projects. The last Barnstorm album, 1974’s So What contained significant guest contributions from several members of the Eagles, a group that had recently hired Walsh’s producer, Bill Szymczyk.
At Szymczyk’s suggestion, Walsh joined the Eagles in 1975 as the band’s guitarist and keyboardist following the departure of their founding member Bernie Leadon, with Hotel California being his first album with the band. In 1998 a reader’s poll conducted by Guitarist magazine selected the guitar solos on the track “Hotel California” by Walsh and Don Felder as the best guitar solos of all time. Guitar World magazine listed it at eighth of the Top 100 Guitar Solos.
Besides his work with his several bands, he has released twelve solo studio albums, six compilation albums and two live albums. His solo hits include “Rocky Mountain Way”, “Life’s Been Good”, “All Night Long”, “A Life of Illusion” and “Ordinary Average Guy”.
As a member of the Eagles, Walsh was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, and into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001.