Happy 70th birthday to "Average Joe" Walsh, singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/producer, born Joseph Fidler Walsh on this day in Wichita, Kansas! He began his music career while attending Kent State University in the 60s, jamming with several Cleveland area bands. He made his 1st recordings in 1965, as lead vocalist on two tracks for Ohio garage bar band the Measles. Around Christmas 1967, Walsh heard that local guitar hero Glenn Schwartz had gone AWOL from both the army and his area rock band, the James Gang, so he auditioned and became the group’s guitarist/vocalist. In 1968, whittled down to a trio by absences, they opened for Cream at the Motown Grande Ballroom in Detroit. They decided to remain a trio, got a record deal, and enjoyed modest success through 1971, when Walsh left the band, moved to Colorado, and formed Barnstorm. Although officially credited to Walsh, the blues rock jam “Rocky Mountain Way” is a Barnstorm single. In 1975, he was invited to join the Eagles, though some considered him too wild for the über-mellow country-rock group; his wacky stage histrionics and the goofy sense of humor often displayed in his lyrics have earned him the sobriquet "The Clown Prince of Rock". His 1st LP with the Eagles was “Hotel California” (1976), now ranked by Rolling Stone as the 37th Greatest Album of All Time. Walsh has also played with The Party Boys, Ringo’s All-Starr Band, and had success a solo artist and session musician. RS ranks him as the 54th Greatest Guitarist and his work in "Hotel California" is considered one of the best guitar solos of all time. His skills have been praised by Page, Clapton, and Townshend, among others. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the Eagles in 1998 and he's won 5 Grammys with the group. Today’s featured album is “Thirds” (1971), the James Gang’s 3rd studio LP and Walsh’s last with the outfit. The album went Gold and produced the band’s highest-charting single, the swaggering hard rocker “Walk Away”, on which Walsh is credited with “guitar, vocals, and train wreck”. It’s the best song on an uneven album, but other Walsh highlights include “Midnight Man” and “Again”.