Eddie Money, the prolific singer and songwriter whose songs “Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets to Paradise,” “Shakin’” and “Take Me Home Tonight” soundtracked popular music in the 1980s, died Friday (Sept. 13). He was 70.
A statement provided by his 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.”
Money recently revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer.
A reality television series about Money and his family, “Real Money,” had aired on AXS TV starting in April 2018. It chronicled his life at home, on the road and with his family, as well as his health struggles.
Money made his home in the Bay Area in the 1970s where he performed at the city’s clubs regularly. A star of MTV’s formative years, he saw major chart success with such songs as “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise” and, in 1986, “Take Me Home Tonight,” a duet with Ronnie Spector, his biggest radio hit. He was signed to Columbia Records and released 11 albums throughout his career, starting with his self-titled debut in 1977 which saw three songs chart, “Baby Hold On,” “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me.”
Born Edward Joseph Mahoney in Brooklyn, New York, Money, who grew up on Long Island, originally started out in law enforcement, his father’s profession, spending two years as a New York City police officer before deciding to try music. In Berkeley, Calif. following his move out west, he palled around with local musicians of the San Francisco club scene which led him to legendary promoter Bill Graham, whom Money met in 1976. Graham would become Money’s manager helping him achieve multi-platinum album sales in the 1980s.
Money’s arsenal of hits includes 1978’s”Baby Hold On” (peak position on the U.S. chart: No. 11) and “Two Tickets to Paradise” (No. 22), followed by “Maybe I’m a Fool” the following year (No. 22), “Think I’m in Love” (No. 16) and “Shakin’” (No. 63) in 1982, “Take Me Home Tonight” in 1986, which reached No. 4 (his highest charting song) and “Walk on Water” (No. 9) in 1988.
During that decade-plus, Money also descended into drug and alcohol abuse, nearly dying of an overdose that left him unable to walk for a year.
Eventually working his way back to performing live, Money was featured on a 2016 episode of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” That led to the series “Real Money,” which debuted on AXS TV in 2018 and was on its second season.
Occasionally, Money was also the subject of controversy. Most recently, and not of his doing, music industry pundit Bob Lefsetz took issue with a crack Money made during a talk at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, calling it anti-Semitic. As Money explained to Rolling Stone: “I said, ‘My wife always looks like a million bucks and she spends so much money on clothes and I hate it. It’s the Jew in me.’ And when I said that, because my mother is Jewish, Bob didn’t realize that and mentioned it [in his popular newsletter]. He thought I was Irish Catholic, Polish or German or something and all of a sudden he said I was anti-Semitic. … It was a misunderstanding and I thought it was a funny joke because I got Jewish blood in me.”
More than anything, Money’s music was considered blue-collar at its core, which led him to be featured on “The King of Queens” in 2002, where he performed a selection of his hits for friend and star Kevin James.
Known also for his comedic manner, both in his music videos and in interviews, he said last year that, despite his string of hit songs, he “missed the boat when it [came] to the big money.” In his typically self-deprecating manner, Money capped the conversation with this view: “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.”
Money is survived by his wife Laurie and five children, daughter Jesse Money, and sons Zachary, Joseph, Desmond and Julian.
Said Mark Cuban, founder of AXS TV: “We are deeply saddened that we have lost the incomparable Eddie Money. Eddie was a true American original and a rock legend through and through. His enduring hits have been the soundtrack for generations of fans, and his one-of-a-kind sense of humor endeared him instantly to everyone he met. We have sincerely enjoyed working with him and his entire talented family on his reality show ‘Real Money’, and we extend our deepest condolences to his wife, Laurie; their children Zach, Jesse, Joe, Dez and Julian; and his many friends during this difficult time. He will be missed immensely by all of those who knew and loved him. But, if we know Eddie, he’s rocking right now in heaven, doing what he always loved.”
Donations on behalf of Eddie Money can made to the Eddie Money Cancer Research Fund at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.