Life's Been Good
|"Life's Been Good"|
|Single by Joe Walsh|
|from the album But Seriously, Folks...|
|B-side||"Theme from Boat Weirdos"|
|Genre||Hard rock, blues rock, reggae rock|
(album version w/ hidden track)
(album version w/o hidden track)
|Producer(s)||Joe Walsh, Bill Szymczyk|
|Joe Walsh singles chronology|
"Life's Been Good" is a song by American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joe Walsh that first appeared on the soundtrack to the 1978 film FM. The original eight-minute version was released on Walsh's 1978 album But Seriously, Folks..., and an edited four-minute single version peaked at No. 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100, remaining his biggest solo hit.
In the song, Walsh satirically reflects on the antics and excesses of the era's rock stars, with nods to Keith Moon and others: "I live in hotels, tear out the walls/I have accountants pay for it all", and "My Maserati does one-eighty-five/I lost my license, now I don't drive".
The 1979 Rolling Stone Record Guide called it "riotous", and "(maybe) the most important statement on rock stardom anyone has made in the late Seventies". His later Ordinary Average Guy is written as a late-life followup.
The song is used in the Kevin Smith film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back during the opening of the movie, where the titular characters are left outside of a quickstop (from Smith's earlier film Clerks) by their respective parents. However, it did not appear on the soundtrack album.
"Life's Been Good" has a mid-tempo, reggae-like groove marked by bedrock guitar riffs, synthesizers, and humorous lyrics. According to Billboard Magazine, the lyrics are at least partially autobiographical. Walsh's ARP Odyssey synthesizer riff accompanies the lead guitar in the middle of the song. The lead guitar in the outro is accompanied by the main riff. Bill Szymczyk and Jody Boyer perform the backing vocals.
The pre-chorus section on the second and third verses uses a call and response pattern.
- Joe Walsh: "Lucky I'm sane after all I've been through"
- Call: Bill Szymczyk: "Everybody say I'm cool"
- Response: Jody Boyer: "He's cool"
- Joe Walsh: "They say I'm lazy but it takes all my time"
- Call: Bill Szymczyk: "Everybody say, "Oh, yeah""
- Response: Jody Boyer: "Oh, yeah!"
At the end of the LP, there is a clip of an inside joke stating "uh-oh, here comes a flock of wah wahs", recorded from inside the studio. After the music has faded away into silence, there's a 10-second gap before the inside joke. That inside joke would also be included at the end of disc one of the Eagles' box set, Selected Works: 1972–1999.
Made after Walsh had joined the Eagles, "Life's Been Good" was incorporated into that group's concert repertoire, appearing in shows at the time as well as reunion tours. It remains a staple of classic rock radio playlists. A live version of the song with the Eagles appears on the 1980 album Eagles Live, where some of the lyrics are changed.
In a 2012 concert at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California, Walsh explained that the song's lyrics are true. He said that he purchased a home in Santa Barbara, California, shortly before he joined the Eagles. He then spent the next two years touring or recording albums, and spent very little time at the home. Rather, he spent most of his time living in hotels. He preferred hotel rooms with adjoining rooms. If a hotel room did not have two adjoining rooms available, he would rent two rooms next to each other. He would then make a connection to the other room by "tearing out a wall". He did not own a Maserati. He lost his wallet, and his driver's license was in the wallet. His license was not taken away by the government. He often rode in limousines. He does have an office with gold records on the wall and an answering machine. Walsh said he had been to parties and stayed late on many occasions. On one occasion, he attempted to leave the party in the early morning hours. However, rather than going out the front door of the house, he walked into a closet.
- "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard. June 10, 1978. p. 82. Retrieved July 9, 2020.
- on YouTube
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- "Top Singles – Volume 30, No. 14, December 30 1978". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2014.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
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