Eddie Money, the singer-saxophonist whose string of hits include “Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Take Me Home Tonight,” died Friday in Los Angeles at the age of 70.
“The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning,” the family said in a statement to Rolling Stone. “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.”
Money suffered a series of health problems in recent years, and revealed in August that he was battling stage 4 esophageal cancer in a promo for the upcoming season of Real Money, a TV series about the rocker’s life.
“What I don’t want to do is … keep the fact that I have cancer from everybody,” Money said. “It’s not honest. I want to be honest with everybody. I want people to know that cancer [treatment] has come a long way and not everybody dies from cancer like they did in the Fifties and Sixties. Am I going to live a long time? Who knows? It’s in God’s hands.”
In July, Money canceled his summer tour after developing pneumonia while recovering from his recent heart valve surgery. “The heart issue was a condition unrelated to his cancer,” AXS TV noted. Despite the multiple health issues, Money still planned on returning to the road later this year.
The Brooklyn-born, Long Island-raised rocker born Eddie Mahoney broke into the music scene after moving to Berkeley, California in the late-Sixties; after nearly a decade honing his craft on the Bay Area rock scene with manager Bill Graham, Money inked a deal with Columbia Records, which distributed his self-titled album in 1977. Eddie Money opens with perhaps the singer’s most enduring hit, “Two Tickets to Paradise.”
“Well, I was going with a girl at the time. She was in college and I was in college and her mother wanted her to meet somebody that was actually making a living,” Money told Rolling Stone of the song’s inspiration in 2018. “She had been dating the mayor’s son and I didn’t have any money to take her to Bermuda or Hawaii or anything else like that. So I wanted to take her on a Greyhound bus ride to the California Redwoods. It would only cost maybe 62 dollars for the both of us. But she dumped me and it never happened, so who knows?”
Eddie Money went double-platinum and both “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On,” Money’s first single, landed in the upper quarter of the Hot 100, beginning a decade-long stretch where the singer’s tracks routinely charted, despite being largely disregarded and derided by rock critics at the time.
“They used to call me ‘Freddie Foodstamps’ or ‘Eddie No Money,” the singer told Rolling Stone. “You read reviews and people get ‘shortchanged by the Eddie Money show.’ These critics are soooo clever with the words, but if you got a name like Money, people are gonna love it or hate it.”
In the early Eighties – following a 1981 incident that gave Money the unfortunate distinction of being the first rocker to overdose on fentanyl – Money made a comeback with his platinum-selling 1982 album No Control and its Hot 100 hits “Shakin'” and “Think I’m in Love.” While the rocker continued pumping out radio gold like “Club Michelle” and “The Big Crash,” 1983’s Where’s the Party? marked the lowest-charting album of his career at that point. However, following another battle with addiction, Money scored the biggest hit of his career in 1986 with “Take Me Home Tonight,” a duet with Ronnie Spector.
Money continued to register hits throughout the late Eighties but slowed his output over the next decade, releasing only three albums including 1999’s Ready Eddie, his last LP of original music. Beloved by his fanbase, Money spent the next two decades as a workhorse-touring artist before health issues slowed him in recent years. The always-quotable Money was also the star of the AXS TV reality series Real Money, which focused on the rocker and his family life. (On Friday, the network announced it would air the remaining five episodes of the series on Thursdays alongside a day-long tribute this Sunday featuring Eddie Money: The Real Money Concert and his interview with Dan Rather on The Big Interview.)
“I don’t want to retire, because I get the chance to dress up, I can shave and shower and get a haircut and go out there and do ‘Two Tickets to Paradise’ and ‘Baby Hold On’ and the fans love it. I’m helping my kids out. I got my son back there on drums, my other kid’s great on rhythm guitar, my daughter is dancing around like it’s her first gig. I feel very fortunate that I’m still doing what I’m doing,” Money told Rolling Stone in 2018.
“I’m gonna stop when I’m rich, and I don’t think that’s ever gonna happen,” he added. “For some reason, I missed the boat when it comes to the big money. I don’t know what happened, you know? I’m not really getting rich out here. But I look at it like this: The kids aren’t in jail, they’re not in rehab, nobody’s wrecked the car this week and there’s still milk in the refrigerator. I’m having a good month.”