Joe Walsh: My Life in 15 Songs

Guitar legend looks back on more than 40 years of music and mayhem with James Gang, Eagles and beyond

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"Song for Emma" (1974)

I was married at the time and living in Boulder. My wife was taking our four-year-old daughter to school and some lady ran a stop sign and creamed our car. And I lost my daughter. And it was gory and all that. To help with closure, I wrote this song for her. And over the process of the next year, my wife and I, we just weren't strong enough to get through the grief and so we separated and eventually got divorced. But I met a girl in Los Angeles, and my song "Help Me Through the Night" was to her about being there for me. Because I was a wreck. But she was there so that I could grieve Emma.

Both of those songs were on my next album, So What. I called it that because I had this "so what" attitude. I was angry. I was really mad at God. And I felt that was a great reason to drink. "Poor me. God took my daughter away." And so I got an attitude, like, "This is the worst thing that's ever happened. I don't care about anything." Just to justify that it was okay to get screwed up.

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