Deep Album Cuts Vol. 151: Eddie Money

I actually wasn't going to do an Eddie Money playlist. His status as a guy with a handful of singles everybody knows but no album regarded as an essential masterpiece makes him ideal for my original purpose of the 'deep album cuts' series, and I often use this space to memorialize the recently deceased, but I initially didn't think I'd go deep on Sir Edward Money's catalog after the news of his passing on Friday. But then I had my Amazon Echo play some Money jams over dinner that night, and it kept playing songs I didn't know, some of which sounded really good, especially "Trinidad," so I kind of went fine, okay, maybe this would be fun to explore (and of course we lost another AOR staple, Ric Ocasek, over the weekend, but I've already done a Cars playlist).

Eddie Money deep album cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. Gimme Some Water
2. No Control
3. Trinidad
4. Wanna Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star
5. Stranger In A Strange Land
6. Life For The Taking
7. Passing By The Graveyard
8. Jealousys
9. Nobody Knows
10. Where's The Party?
11. Boardwalk Baby
12. Gamblin Man
13. I Can't Hold Back
14. Million Dollar Girl
15. Rock And Roll The Place
16. Maybe Tomorrow
17. Satin Angel
18. Got To Get Another Girl
19. Prove It Every Night
20. My Friends, My Friends

Tracks 4, 8, 12 and 18 from Eddie Money (1977)
Tracks 1, 6 and 15 from Life For The Taking (1979)
Tracks 3, 9, 14 and 17 from Playing For Keeps (1980)
Tracks 2, 7 and 20 from No Control (1982)
Tracks 10 and 16 from the Where's The Party? (1983)
Tracks 5 and 13 from Can't Hold Back (1986)
Track 11 from Nothing To Lose (1988)
Track 19 from Right Here (1991)

I've always been vaguely pro-Eddie Money. His major label run included two dozen charting singles from the late '70s to the early '90s, and four platinum albums, but by the time I started paying attention to music, his output had been boiled down to 4 or 5 songs in permanent classic rock rotation and nothing else -- no songs on movie soundtracks, no famous covers of his songs, no rehabilitated cult classic (although the title track of Life For The Taking was sampled for an excellent Freeway and Beanie Sigel song). Even at his peak I get the sense he was kind of a perennial underdog -- he never charter higher than #17 on the Billboard 200, and it's crazy to think that someone who sold millions over the space of a decade never had a top 10 album.

Once I started looking, though, a canon of Eddie Money deep cuts emerged. "Gimme Some Water" and "Passing By The Graveyard (Song For John B.)" are in Money's top 10 most played songs on Spotify, and it surprised me to see any album tracks there considering he had over 20 charting singles. "Water" and "Trinidad" and "Wanna Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star" and "No Control" were among his most frequently played live songs, and many of his 'greatest hits' compilations include songs that were never hits like "Trinidad," "Where's The Party?" and "Got To Get Another Girl." I'm really not sure why "Passing By The Graveyard" has almost 2 millions plays on Spotify, though, it's a good song, apparently Eddie Money became friends with John Belushi when he performed on "Saturday Night Live."

Eddie Money was kind of a unique rock star, he was almost 30 when he started making records, a shaggy-haired guy in a necktie who looked like he just got tired of his day job and walked out one day and became a rock star. It was widely reported after his death that he was an NYPD officer for a couple years, but he was actually a police academy dropout (which seems fitting since it's so easy to picture him as a character in the Police Academy movies).

Eddie Money's career peaked in that '80s moment when there were a lot of the guys who celebrated rock'n'roll most proudly were suddenly solo acts instead of bands -- Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Tom Petty, John Mellencamp, and Huey Lewis on the more bubblegum crossover side along with Eddie Money. He was also part of that post-Springsteen wave of pop/rock where he didn't have a whole horn section but often a lone saxophone playing lead lines and solos, except Money was the rare rock singer who himself played sax (his best performance is probably "Maybe Tomorrow").

Our modern conception of a rock star is more of someone tortured or moody, with an artistic temperament and/or a more emotional or intellectual bent to what drives them to make loud music. In that sense, Eddie Money is kind of an anomaly, a happy-go-lucky adult in the mold of rock's earliest stars (Bill Haley and Chuck Berry both became rock stars at around 30, although of course rock didn't exist when they were 20). His persona was more unassumingly goofy than a clown prince like Steven Tyler and David Lee Roth and the hair metal frontmen who followed them. A few of his songs have the solemn air of a brooding rock anthem, but "Rock And Roll The Place" more accurately lays out his philosophy. Looking at his catalog, most of his records have the most generic rock album titles you can imagine like Playing For Keeps and Can't Hold Back, with the exception of Where's The Party? being the kind of title that only Eddie Money could pull off.

Although Eddie Money did play saxophone and the occasional harmonica or keys, he was not a guitarist. So Jimmy Lyons, who was the primary guitarist on Money's first 4 albums and co-wrote about a dozen songs, including "Baby Hold On," deserves a lot of credit for his sound (he came back later to guest on Money's last top 10 hit, 1988's "Walk On Water"). I covered Money's career up through his first 8 albums for Columbia Records -- two albums after "Take Me Home Tonight," he was dropped from the label and ceased to chart on the Hot 100 (only one of his 4 later independent albums are even on streaming services).

While Eddie Money wrote most of his own songs and had a pretty strong sense of himself and what his music was, I will concede that he doesn't come across as much of an auteur or original. He has the albums of a quintessential singles artist -- sometimes a single I wasn't familiar with would come on and it would still immediately stand out as more immediate and radio-friendly than the rest of the album. But Eddie Money and Playing For Keeps are pretty solid front-to-back albums, I was a little impressed and surprised by how good they are.

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic
Vol. 69: Chevelle
Vol. 70: Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
Vol. 71: Fantasia
Vol. 72: Heart
Vol. 73: Pitbull
Vol. 74: Nas
Vol. 75: Monica
Vol. 76: The Cars
Vol. 77: 112
Vol. 78: 2Pac
Vol. 79: Nelly
Vol. 80: Meat Loaf
Vol. 81: AC/DC
Vol. 82: Bruce Springsteen
Vol. 83: Pearl Jam
Vol. 84: Green Day
Vol. 85: George Michael and Wham!
Vol. 86: New Edition
Vol. 87: Chuck Berry
Vol. 88: Electric Light Orchestra
Vol. 89: Chic
Vol. 90: Journey
Vol. 91: Yes
Vol. 92: Soundgarden
Vol. 93: The Allman Brothers Band
Vol. 94: Mobb Deep
Vol. 95: Linkin Park
Vol. 96: Shania Twain
Vol. 97: Squeeze
Vol. 98: Taylor Swift
Vol. 99: INXS
Vol. 100: Stevie Wonder
Vol. 101: The Cranberries
Vol. 102: Def Leppard
Vol. 103: Bon Jovi
Vol. 104: Dire Straits
Vol. 105: The Police
Vol. 106: Sloan
Vol. 107: Peter Gabriel
Vol. 108: Led Zeppelin
Vol. 109: Dave Matthews Band
Vol. 110: Nine Inch Nails
Vol. 111: Talking Heads
Vol. 112: Smashing Pumpkins
Vol. 113: System Of A Down
Vol. 114: Aretha Franklin
Vol. 115: Michael Jackson
Vol. 116: Alice In Chains
Vol. 117: Paul Simon
Vol. 118: Lil Wayne
Vol. 119: Nirvana
Vol. 120: Kix
Vol. 121: Phil Collins
Vol. 122: Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Vol. 123: Sonic Youth
Vol. 124: Bob Seger
Vol. 125: Radiohead
Vol. 126: Eric Church
Vol. 127: Neil Young
Vol. 128: Future
Vol. 129: Say Anything
Vol. 130: Maroon 5
Vol. 131: Kiss
Vol. 132: Dinosaur Jr.
Vol. 133: Stevie Nicks
Vol. 134: Talk Talk
Vol. 135: Ariana Grande
Vol. 136: Roxy Music
Vol. 137: The Cure
Vol. 138: 2 Chainz
Vol. 139: Kelis
Vol. 140: Ben Folds Five
Vol. 141: DJ Khaled
Vol. 142: Little Feat
Vol. 143: Brendan Benson
Vol. 144: Chance The Rapper
Vol. 145: Miguel
Vol. 146: The Geto Boys
Vol. 147: Meek Mill
Vol. 148: Tool
Vol. 149: Jeezy
Vol. 150: Lady Gaga
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