Eddie Money, longtime fixture at Pine Knob/DTE, dies
Eddie Money, the New York rocker and perennial season-opener at DTE Energy Music Theatre and Pine Knob, has died. He was 70 years old.
A classic rocker who scored with his 1980s hits “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Take Me Home Tonight,” Money became an annual fixture at the Clarkston amphitheater. It simply wasn’t summer until the Money Man hit the stage.
"It's the biggest show I have every year. Just to have me open it up every year, it's a real feather in my cap," Money told the News in 2009.
Money opened the Pine Knob/ DTE summer season every year since 1992. Overall, he performed 38 times at the venue, dating back to his first concert there in 1983.
Cindy Ronzoni, his publicist, provided a statement from the family saying Money died peacefully Friday morning in Los Angeles.
“It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our loving husband and father,” the statement said. “It’s so hard to imagine our world without him; however, he will live on forever through his music.”
313 Presents expressed "tremendous sadness" upon receiving news of Money's passing.
"Eddie Money graced the stage of DTE Energy Music Theatre dating back to 1983 and hosted an amazing run as the venue’s season opening act over the last 28 years," the company said in a statement. "It’s been a great tradition that has marked the beginning of summer for Detroit concertgoers and created countless memories for those who made his performances a “must-see” event over the years.
"Eddie consistently expressed his excitement to kick off the concert season in Detroit each year, was gracious with his time and was a friend to 313 Presents, the local media and those who helped make his shows a success each year. He will be missed.
"We send our deepest condolences to Eddie’s wife, Laurie, his entire family and his countless friends and fans during this difficult time."
Money recently had announced he had stage 4 esophageal cancer via a video last month from his AXS TV reality series “Real Money.” In the video, Money says he discovered he had cancer after what he thought was a routine checkup. He said the disease had spread to his liver and lymph nodes.
Money said it hit him “really, really hard.”
The colorful performer with the thick New York accent joked that his guest list was so large for the DTE shows that venue officials would joke if it was an Eddie Money concert or a Rolling Stones concert.
"I've played Madison Square Garden. I've played the Hollywood Bowl. I've played really big venues in Toronto. But to me, Detroit, playing DTE, that's where my throne is," Money said. "I'm not saying I'm the king of rock and roll, but I'm the prince of rock, and this is my kingdom."
The cancer announcement forced him to cancel a planned July concert at Woodhaven’s Uncle Sam Jam, which followed his May performance at DTE.
The New York City native was born Edward Joseph Mahoney, Money grew up in a family of police officers and was training in law enforcement himself before he rebelled and decided he’d rather be a singer.
“I grew up with respect for the idea of preserving law and order, and then all of a sudden cops became pigs and it broke my heart,” Money told Rolling Stone in 1978.
“Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On” both reached the top 30 in the late 1970s and his self-titled debut album went platinum. In 1987, he received a best rock vocal Grammy nomination for “Take Me Home Tonight.” The song featured a cameo from Ronnie Spector, who reprised one of her signature hits from the 1960s as she crooned “Be my little baby,” which she first sang on the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby.” Money remembered calling Spector, still traumatized from her years with ex-husband-producer Phil Spector, and convincing her to sing on his record.
“I said, ‘Ronnie, I got this song that’s truly amazing and it’s a tribute to you. It would be so great if you came out and did it with me,’” he told hippopress.com in 2015. “When she got there, she didn’t even remember it; she had a mental block against (Phil) Spector. But then she came out and did the song.”
Money’s other hits included “Maybe I’m a Fool,” “Walk On Water” and “Think I’m in Love.” He had few successes after the 1980s, but he continued to tour and record. Meanwhile, “Two Tickets to Paradise” became a favorite on classic rock radio stations and was heard everywhere from “The Simpsons” to “The Office.” The song was also featured in a Geico commercial, with Money himself appearing in the ad as the hammy owner of a travel agency.
For years, he lived too much like a rock star. In 1980, he sustained nerve damage in his legs after overdosing on alcohol and barbiturates, a near-tragedy he wrote about on his hit 1982 album “No Control.” He continued to struggle with alcohol addiction before joining a 12-step program in 2001. “I came to the realization that I didn’t really need (alcohol) for my quick wit,” he told CNN in 2003.
Money did manage the rare rock achievement of a long-term marriage, more than 30 years to Laurie Harris, who would say that at first she confused him with John Mellencamp. The Moneys had five children, Zachary, Jessica, Joseph, Desmond and Julian.
A born troublemaker, he was thrown out of one high school for forging his report card. He later moved to Berkeley, California, changed his name to “Money” and had enough success in the Bay Area clubs, even performing for a time with Janis Joplin’s former backing group, to attract the attention of famed rock promoter Bill Graham. Money was signed by Columbia Records and by the end of the decade was a big enough act to open for the Rolling Stones, although the job didn’t last as long as expected.
“I had a hit with ‘Two Tickets’ and everybody loved me; I was getting too many encores,” Money told hippopress.com. “We were supposed to have six dates (with the Stones), and we only worked four. The way I see it is this – if you’re gonna get fired from a Rolling Stones tour, get fired for being too good.”
Associated Press contributed.