How Eddie Money’s Career Got a Kickstart from Bill Graham
It all started when the singer appeared at iconic music promoter Bill Graham’s Winterland Arena in San Fransisco, and he remained grateful to Graham for the rest of his life, as he told UCR in a previously unpublished interview from 2014.
“I was out of a very large college town, Berkeley, California, and Bill Graham was right across the Bay in San Francisco,” Money recalled. “I got signed on amateur night. We’d already written Baby Hold On, Two Tickets To Paradise, Everybody Rock and Roll The Place, Life For The Taking – all of those songs were written before I got my record deal.”
He continued: “I did amateur night at Winterland… it was a rainy Tuesday night and I had everybody come up close to the stage so it looked like the place was a little bit more crowded than it was.” The resulting video recording impressed Graham, who cut a deal with Columbia, leading to Money’s success.
He said his favorite memory of Graham was his appearance at the 1982 US Festival, “in front of 650,000 people and it had to be about 94 degrees.” He continued: “We both decided, ‘Let’s do that song “Gimme Some Water” and spray the crowd with the hoses.’ We played ‘Gimme Some Water’ and shot the crowd with some mist – and, you know, it was the highlight of my career and a lot of fun.”
Describing Graham as a “great manager,” Money reflected: “I got to play Madison Square Garden; I played Budokan, Japan; I played Amsterdam and all over Germany. What a great guy. I get choked up even thinking about losing him. … Unfortunately he died tragically in a helicopter accident, coming back from a Huey Lewis show. He hit one of these towers that didn’t have a red light on it. It’s a real shame. I miss him so much to this day. … He was like a second father to me.”