From his early hits with the James Gang through to his tenure with the Eagles -- as well as a successful solo career -- Joe Walsh remained one of the most colorful characters in rock & roll, lending his distinctively reedy vocals, off-the-wall lyrics, and expansive guitar leads to a series of AOR staples including "Funk #49," "Rocky Mountain Way," and "Life's Been Good." Born November 20, 1947 in Wichita, Kansas, Walsh initially studied the oboe and clarinet, later playing bass in local bands the G-Clefs and the Nomads; while attending Kent State University, he finally picked up the guitar, fronting the collegiate combo the Measles from 1965 to 1969. He then joined the Cleveland-based hard rock trio the James Gang, appearing on their debut LP Yer' Album. The trio's 1970 album, The James Gang Rides Again, proved the group's commercial breakthrough, launching the FM radio favorite "Funk #49" and achieving gold status. While the follow-up, Thirds, was another success, yielding the classic "Walk Away," Walsh found the James Gang's power trio format too confining and left the group soon after.