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Rocky Mountain Way

by

Joe Walsh



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

After his group the James Gang at the end of 1971, Joe Walsh moved from Cleveland to Boulder, Colorado, where he wrote this song, which celebrates the scenery and the lifestyle of Colorado. In some ways, the song is a Rocked-up version of John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High, which was released the previous year. Both songs use the famous Rocky Mountains as a focal point for the virtues of Colorado.
Joe Walsh left the James Gang just as they were building momentum, having scored minor hits with "Walk Away" and "Funk #49." Splintering the band as they were on the verge of stardom didn't go over well with Walsh's bandmates or their record company, but Joe felt creatively limited in the 3-piece band and wanted out. Colorado put him near James Gang producer Bill Szymczyk, who continued to work with Walsh and produced this album.

"Rocky Mountain Way" reflects Walsh's range of emotions after making the big move. He explained in the book The Guitar Greats: "I got kind of fed up with feeling sorry for myself, and I wanted to justify and feel good about leaving the James Gang, relocating, going for it on a survival basis. I wanted to say 'Hey, whatever this is, I'm positive and I'm proud', and the words just kind of came out of feeling that way, rather than writing a song out of remorse. It was special then, and the words were special to me, because the words were like, 'I'm goin' for it, the heck with feeling sorry for this and that', and it did turn out to be a special song for a lot of people. I think the attitude and the statement of that have a lot to do with it – it's a positive song, and it's basic rock'n'roll, which is what I really do."
When Walsh moved to Colorado, he formed a band called Barnstorm, whose first, self-titled album came out in 1972. Their next album was The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get, which contained this track. The song was co-written by the group: Rocke Grace (keyboards), Kenny Passarelli (bass), Joe Vitale (drums), and Walsh. The music was written before Walsh added the lyrics.

As for Barnstorm, they played up to their name and did over 300 gigs in 1973. The band broke up after the two albums, which have since been more commonly credited as Joe Walsh solo works.
This was one of the first songs to feature a talkbox, which allows a guitarist to make distorted vocalizations with his mouth. Peter Frampton is probably the most famous talkbox practitioner, and his use of the device is prominent on his famous 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive. (thanks, Aaron - Manistee, MI)
Walsh is a big baseball fan, and this song has become associated with the game because of the lyrics "Casey's at bat," which is a reference to a famous baseball poem. When the Colorado Rockies baseball team formed in 1993, this became a popular song at their stadium, Coors Field, where the song is played after the Rockies win.
Joe Walsh
Joe Walsh Artistfacts
More Joe Walsh songs
More songs inspired by places
More songs about change
More songs commonly played at sporting events
More songs featuring a talkbox
More songs about nature

Comments (20):

At almost every Eagles concert, Joe performs this song along with Life's Been Good. He's also done Walk Away and Funk #49 at Eagles' shows.
- Ken, Louisville, KY
"Ozark Mountain Daredevils" ... hence the stunt plane.
- Matt, Washington, DC, DC
I originally heard this song on an album that credited "Joe Walsh and the Ozark Mountain Daredevils." The latter portion flew under the banner bearing Walsh's name at a thickness identical to the banner that carries the album title "The Smoker You Drink, The Player You Get." And this song's strongest hook is virually copied in The Steve Miller Band's "The Stake" which appeared in 1977.
- Matt, Washington, DC, DC
This song is about a bunch of hippies smoking dope in a field. "Out to pasture, think it's safe to say, time to open fire" means lighting up.
- Darrell, Dallas, TX
To Don in Indy, good thing Reagan slammed the ball into RIGHT field for a home run, eh!?!
- Scotty, Cheyenne, WY
Michael Bolton recorded Rocky Mountain Way in the 1970's when he used his real name Michael Bolotin. I remember the local FM station playing it because he was from New Haven. Joe and Barnstorm were the originals.
- Steven, Storrs, CT
i think he meant the guy from Office Space
- Josh, Westborough, MA
As far as I know, from anything I can find, I don't see how anyone can think Michael Bolton had a darned thing to do this song. It's Walsh and Barnstorm, and as Philip from Akron pointed out, written by Rocke Grace, Kenny Passarelli, Joe Vitale, and Joe Walsh...who of course were all in Barnstorm.
- BazzaMan, Johnson, VT
I forgot about a song w/ the same riff & 6/8 time as this one all throughout: "The Stake" by Steve Miller Band. Did they plan that? I like the mentions of baseball in this song. For that same reason I like "Centerfield" by John Fogerty.
- Drew, B\'ham, AL
This riff sounds like the same one from "China Grove" by the Doobie Brothers. Only that's in 4/4 time & this is 6/8 time.
- Drew, B\'ham, AL
Saw the "Reagan's at bat" version when Joe did a guest stint at KISW in Seatlle (1987?)
- dan, calgary, AB
Amen Allie of a little ol town
- Chase, Miami, FL
Philip is right on the songwriters. Michael Bolton??? Pleeeeease.
- John, Cuyahoga Falls, OH
John,Queens,NY
I think that you did the wrong Google search on this one. Yes, it comes up as Michael Bolton lyrics, but I think Joe Walsh wrote this song.
It's probably an James Gang song.
- John, Dundee, United Kingdom
This is one of my favorite rock songs. Walsh's 70s stuff was great. I also enjoyed watching the Eagles play this on their Farewell 1 Tour DVD.
- Eric, Bend, OR
This is an awesome song to play on guitar, Joe was the best thing that happened to the Eagles!!
:0
- Allie, a little ol' town in, MI
Does anyone remember a "LIVE" version of this song that Joe performs while a member of the Eagles, in which he replaces the phrase "bases are loaded and Casey's at bat..." with "bases are loaded and REAGAN'S at bat", in reference to then President Ronald Reagan?
- Don, Indianapolis, IN
I'm surprised that Michael Bolton hasn't try to RECORD it...or put it on a "love songs" album...
- Don, Indianapolis, IN
"Rocky Mountain Way" was written by Rocke Grace, Kenny Passarelli, Joe Vitale, and Joe Walsh.
- Philip, Akron, OH
As hard as it is to believe, this great rocker was penned by none other than Michael Bolton!
- John, Queens, NY
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