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Joe Walsh - Life's Been Good

Joe Walsh - Life's Been Good

‘Life's Been Good’ is a song by American singer/songwriter Joe Walsh, which was originally eight-minutes long and was released in 1978 on Walsh's solo album But Seriously, Folks...

A cut-down four-minute version was released as a single and reached No. 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Joe Walsh’s biggest solo hit. The song first appeared, however, on the soundtrack to the 1978 film FM.

Walsh uses the song to present a satirical reflection on the excessive lifestyles of many rock stars of that time, including his friend Keith Moon.

Songwriter:   Joe Walsh
Producers:   Joe Walsh, Bill Szymczyk
Label:   Asylum

SOME INTERESTING FACTS

The quirky and light-hearted Life’s Been Good provided Joe Walsh with a way to humorously reflect on the over-the-top spoils, lifestyle and mentality of the wealthy rock star world, suggesting that while it may have changed everyone else, he remains unchanged.

In numerous interviews and live performances, Walsh has revealed the inspiration and origins of the song, saying in 1981 that, "I wanted to make a statement involving satire and humor, kind of poking fun at the incredibly silly lifestyle that someone in my position is faced with – in other words, I do have a really nice house, but I'm on the road so much that when I come home from a tour, it's really hard to feel that I even live here… it paraphrases anyone in my position… but basically, that's the story of any rock star.” This was demonstrated in Walsh’s purchase of a luxury home in Santa Barbara, California. This was just prior to him joining the Eagles, which led to him touring and recording with the band for the next two years, spending hardly any time at his home.

During this time, Walsh mostly lived in hotels, preferring the additional space of adjoining rooms. If there were no adjoining rooms, two rooms next to each other would suffice, allowing Walsh to create a bigger room by “tearing out a wall”. He has attributed this particular behavior to the influences of friend Keith Moon. Walsh had met and befriended Moon when The James Gang was supporting The Who during their Tommy tour in Europe. Walsh claims that “One of the most terrifying things that ever happened to me was that Keith Moon decided he liked me… during those days he taught me a lot about the finer arts of anarchy, chaos, damage, destruction. All of that mostly being hotels.”

While Walsh did own a Maserati, it was not the cause of him losing his license. The real reason for him losing his driver’s license was that he had lost his wallet. However, Walsh didn’t drive much anyway, preferring to travel in limousines. The office mentioned in the song is real, and yes, it does have gold records on the wall, plus an answering machine.

Walsh also uses the song to poke fun at his own habit of going to parties and staying until the morning hours. On one particular late-night party, he struggled to leave the house during the early morning, accidentally walking into a closet, thinking he was leaving by the front door.

Musically, Walsh has said that Life’s Been Good is a combination of several songs that he had been working on at the time, which explains why there are some significant changes in the key and melody at certain stages of the song.

In 1979, Rolling Stone referred to Life’s Been Good as "riotous", and "(maybe) the most important statement on rock stardom anyone has made in the late Seventies"

Since the song is the final track on the But Seriously, Folks… album, it received a bonus audio treat, where (after thirty seconds of silence) Joe Walsh says "Wha-oh... here comes a flock of wanh-wanhs!", followed by a chorus of Joe and others making duck-like “wahn” noises, and laughing until it fades out.

Although Life’s Been Good is a Joe Walsh solo piece, it quickly became a regular part of the Eagles’ concert playlist, including during their reunion tours, and can be heard on the Eagles Live album, released in 1980.

The song can be heard during the opening scene of the Kevin Smith film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, when their parents drop them outside the quickstop.

The "My Maserati does 185," line from the song, was used in 2005 by the TV show Entourage as the tile of one their episodes.

Joe Walsh treated his fans to a spoken word version of "Life's Been Good" during a concert at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California in 2012, giving the audience some wonderful details surrounding the background of both the music and lyrics of the song.

 
 

SONG LYRICS

[Verse 1: Joe Walsh]
I have a mansion but forget the price
Ain't never been there, they tell me it's nice
I live in hotels, tear out the walls
I have accountants, pay for it all

[Chorus: Joe Walsh]
They say I'm crazy but I have a have a good time
I'm just looking for clues at the scene of the crime
Life's been good to me so far

[Verse 2: Joe Walsh]
My Maseratti does one-eighty-five
I lost my license, now I don't drive
I have a limo, ride in the back
I lock the doors in case I'm attacked

[Verse 3: Joe Walsh]
I'm making records, my fans they can't wait
They write me letters, tell me I'm great
So I got me an office, gold records on the wall
Just leave a message, maybe I'll call

[Chorus: Joe Walsh, Bill Szymczyk & Jody Boyer]
Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through
(Everybody say I'm cool, he's cool)
I can't complain but sometimes I still do
Life's been good to me so far

[Verse 4: Joe Walsh]
I go to parties sometimes until four
It's hard to leave when you can't find the door
It's tough to handle this fortune and fame
Everybody's so different, I haven't changed

[Chorus: Joe Walsh, Bill Szymczyk & Jody Boyer]
They say I'm lazy but it takes all my time
(Everybody say oh yeah, oh yeah)
I keep on goin' guess I'll never know why
Life's been good to me so far

[Spoken Word: ?]
Uh oh, here comes a flock of wah-wahs!
(Wah-wah, wah-wah...)

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