By Connie Hall-Scott
When I spoke with rock icon Eddie Money he was at home in California watching the news.
A transplanted New Yorker, he has been keeping up with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy; and with only a few days left before the presidential election, Eddie is keeping a close eye on the candidates. When I asked who he will vote for, Eddie declined to go public. However, his telling remarks earned him a playful kick in the ribs from his wife who will be casting her vote in an opposite direction.
Eddie’s wife, Laurie, is from Nashville.
“You don’t want to fight a girl from the south,” Eddie warned, deciding to turn our conversation away from politics and onto the southern region of the United States.
“I love the south,” he said. “Southern people are so cool and friendly. I’m a big Civil War buff, too. I like to visit battlefields and read about history... And, how about those Falcons? They’re 7 and 0.”
Eddie is returning to the home of the Falcons this week, bringing his music back to Atlanta on Friday. He’s set to take the stage at Wild Bill’s in Duluth at 11 p.m., following two of Atlanta’s own 80s rock tribute bands, Shyanne and Mirror, which will play at 8:50 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., respectively.
“I remember getting ready for high school in the 80s,” I told him. “Having my radio set to rock stations 106.5 or 96 Rock every morning, I can’t even tell you how many times I put on my make-up to ‘Take Me Home Tonight’ and ‘Baby, Hold On To Me.’ What was it like to be at the top during that period in time?”
“It was really a lot of fun,” he said. “The 80s were great with REO Speedwagon and so many others. I got to play ‘Saturday Night Live’ and do so many things. Now I just wish I had saved all the money I made!”
He has top 40 hits, platinum selling records, albums featured in film, television and even on video games. Eddie Money is an American music icon with songs heard across the country, on the radio, every day. He writes, sings, plays and is a natural performer. It’s no wonder his tunes have stood the test of time and that young audiences sing his lyrics back to him while he’s on stage with as much enthusiasm as those of us who were around during their debuts.
“What did you think about the ‘Take Me Home Tonight’ video?” Eddie asked me. “When’s the last time you saw it?”
“About half an hour ago,” I told him. “But I’ve seen it hundreds of times. It’s as catchy today as it ever was.”
“They still play it in clubs,” Eddie said. “I have to thank Ronnie Spector for participation in that.”
The song was recorded with Spector singing the chorus from The Ronettes’ hit “Be My Baby,” after Eddie sings “just like Ronnie sang.” The video, shot entirely in black and white, opens with Eddie alone with a metal ladder and a folding chair on an otherwise empty stage. He performs to an absent audience, and Spector is seen in a make-up room during cut-aways. Ronnie’s face isn’t completely revealed until about three-quarters of the way through the video. The two are never together on the stage through the entire video, although they do appear in frame together several times, as Money sings on stage and Spector dances up a walkway leading to the stage.
“The only thing I didn’t like about it is I wanted to keep the jacket I wore in the video and they wouldn’t let me,” Eddie said. “I’d like to wear it someday when I get into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.”
“That’s not cool,” I said. “Who has the jacket now?”
After some conversation about his five kids and my three, life in California versus life in Georgia or New York, the pitfalls of drug useage in the music industry, and a few other things — Eddie is one of the most interesting conversationalists I’ve encountered — he told me the most important thing to him was always making his music.
Giving back is also important to him. Part of the sales proceeds from his merchandise go to two causes he strongly supports: Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (http://www.fallenheroes.org/), an organization serving United States military personnel wounded or injured in service to our nation, and their families; and The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing pediatric HIV infection.
Wild Bill’s is at 2075 Market St. in Duluth. Tickets for Friday night’s show range from $20 to $60. To purchase tickets, visit http://www.ticketmaster.com/; or for more information call (678) 473-1000.