Eddie Money, a staple of 1970s and ’80s rock radio with hits like “Two Tickets To Paradise” and “Take Me Home Tonight,” has died, Variety reports. He had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. A statement from the family reads, “The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning. 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.” He is survived by his wife and five children; his family appeared with him in the AVX TV reality series Real Money.
Money was born Edward Joseph Mahoney in Brooklyn to an Irish Catholic family; his grandfather, father, and brother were members of the New York Police Department. Although briefly an NYPD trainee himself, Money moved to California in 1968 to pursue a career in music. After signing to Columbia, his 1977 self-titled debut included the still classics “Two Tickets To Paradise” and “Baby Hold On,” as well as a cover of Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got A Hold On Me”; Money would continue to revisit his love for Motown throughout his career. His 1978 followup Life For The Taking wasn’t quite as successful, although single “Gimme Some Water” had significant traction. His third album, 1980s’s Playing For Keeps, was considered a bit of a misstep, as Money shifted his raw rock sound into a glossier pop production.
Money rallied with his fourth album: 1982’s No Control. As the MTV video era dawned, unlike many of his rock contemporaries Money embraced it, posing as a lovelorn vampire for “Think I’m In Love” and getting dragged into a drag race on “Shakin.’” The title track addressed the substance abuse issues he was grappling with, based on a 1981 alcohol and Fentanyl overdose that “killed the sciatic nerve on my left leg, knocked my kidneys out,” Money told People in 2003. “Doctors told me I was never gonna walk again.”
His next release, 1983’s Where’s The Party, didn’t fare as well. Then Money made yet another comeback with Can’t Hold Back in 1986, which featured one of his biggest hits, “Take Me Home Tonight,” as The Ronettes’ Ronnie Spector sang “Be My Baby” in the background; the nostalgic “I Wanna Go Back” and “Endless Nights” also charted. That momentum carried into 1988’s Nothing to Lose, with the Top 10 hit “Walk On Water” (1988) and the Top 40 hit “The Love In Your Eyes.”
Money married his wife Laurie in 1999, and eventually went to rehab in 2001. He told People in 2003: “I made a promise to my wife and kids that I was gonna change… I came to the realization that I didn’t really need [drinking] for my quick wit.” He eventually released a dozen studio albums in total (including Brand New Day this year). His long collection of radio rock hits meant he could continue touring as long as he wanted, and enthusiastically did so. He told Rolling Stone last year, “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.” He also was able to incorporate his family into the act: “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.” He toured until his health issues forced him stop this past July.
Eddie Money was 70.