Singer, Songwriter, Saxophonist Eddie Money Dies at 70

Eddie Money, a major hitmaker of the '70s and '80s, always looked like he was having fun.

Eddie Money, the singer, songwriter and saxophonist best known for radio-friendly hit songs like “Baby Hold On,” and “Two Tickets to Paradise,” died from complications from cancer on Friday, Sept. 13, according to Variety. He was 70.

“The Money Family regrets to announce that Eddie passed away peacefully early this morning,” his family announced in a statement. “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 revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer during season 2 of his reality show, Real Money, which aired Sept. 12, 2018.” “What I don’t want to do is I don’t want to keep the fact that I have cancer from everybody,” Money said. “It’s not honest. I want to be honest with everybody. I want people to know that cancer [treatment] has come a long way and not everybody dies from cancer like they did in the Fifties and Sixties. Am I going to live a long time? Who knows? It’s in God’s hands.” The reality television series about Money and his family debuted on AXS TV on April 8, 2018.

Eddie Money was born Edward Joseph Mahoney in Brooklyn. He was raised in Plainedge, Long Island. Most of the men in his family worked as police officers, and Money was a New York cop for two years. He quit the NYPD and moved to Berkeley, California, where he performed as a nightclub singer.

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Money met his manager, legendary rock promoter Bill Graham, in 1976. Money signed to Columbia and released his self-titled debut album in 1977. The album produced two big hits, “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise,” which took on a life of its own. The song only hit number 22 on the Billboard charts, but it is his signature song. Homer Simpsons sang and played air guitar to it the “Homer Loves Flanders” episode of The Simpsons from 1994. Money sang it a GEICO commercial as a travel agent giving a family “Two Tickets to Paradise” to their dream vacation.

Money didn’t come across as merely a performer, but as a fan of the music. “Baby Hold On,” instantly recognizable from the intro guitar lick from Jimmy Lyons, pays homage to the Doris Day song “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).” He put a hopeful spin in the opening by promising “whatever will be, will be, the future is ours to see” in contrast with her song, which sang the future could not be seen.

His biggest hit, the 1986 song “Take Me Home Tonight” from his Can’t Hold Back album, featured Ronnie Spector, the wife of Phil Spector, who was also part of his famous stable of artists. Told it would be impossible to get the former lead singer of the Ronettes to sing the central vocal hook, a line from the song “Be My Baby,” Money invited Martha Davis of the Motels to sing it. Davis told Money to ask Ronnie, which he did, interrupting her dishwashing and retirement. Spector released the solo album Unfinished Business in 1987.  “Take Me Home Tonight” was nominated for a best rock vocal Grammy in 1987.

Money was a constant presence on MTV when it debuted, and his recent tours have featured his daughter Jesse Money, who was on MTV’s Rock the Cradle. He has opened the summer concert season at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Detroit for 28 years. Money released 11 albums throughout his career. His most recent album, Brand New Day, came out two months ago.

Money contributed songs to the movies Americathon (1979), Over the Top (1987), Back to the Beach (1987), Kuffs (1992), and the television series Hardball (1989–1990). Money also worked as an actor, appearing on The King of Queens in 2002, and on The Drew Carey Show.

Money is survived by his wife Laurie and five children.

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Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City’s Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFKRead more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.