A Life Of Illusion

Album: There Goes The Neighborhood (1981)
Charted: 34
  • Life's been good to Joe Walsh, but what's it all about? Sometimes it seems like life is just an illusion, and just when you start to comprehend it, it hits you right between the eyes.

    Many musicians of his era looked to gurus or other zen masters to figure it all out, but Walsh seems to have sorted it out in this song, where he concludes that letting it all get to you is a waste of your day.
  • This song began as an instrumental track written by Kenny Passarelli when he was the bass player in Walsh's band Barnstorm, which was active from 1972-1974. Barnstorm never released it, but Walsh and Passarelli worked it up for Walsh's first solo album, The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get, in 1973, with Walsh adding the lyrics. It didn't make it to vinyl, so Passarelli shopped it around, pitching it to Elton John and Hall & Oates. When Walsh was working on his 1981 solo album, There Goes The Neighborhood, he and Passarelli finished the song, which finally got its release.
  • The Mariachi trumpets, played by the song's co-writer Kenny Passarelli in what Walsh described as "a drunken stupor," are nonsensical in a way that suits the song perfectly. Why are they there? Well, why are any of us here?
  • The phrase "a life of illusion" was used three years earlier in the title track to the film Grease, where Frankie Valli sings:

    This is the life of illusion
    Wrapped up in trouble
    Laced with confusion

    That song was written by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees.
  • This was featured in the opening credits of the 2005 movie The 40 Year Old Virgin. It also appears in the 2010 movie Grown Ups and in the 2010 CSI: Miami episode "L.A."

Comments: 7

  • William Ken from NashvilleExcellent song!! Always liked Joe Walsh.
  • Jim from PittsburghRemember when this song was released... was very Surprised to hear it in the 40 year old virgin. I had the album in '81... it's called there goes the neighborhood. A bunch of other great songs on that LP as well.
  • Bazzaman from Johnson, VtOne of Joe's best, but then again, he has a lot of those to my tastes!
  • Jim from Philadelphia, PaI heard this song the other day, and I immediately became captivated by it tune and lyrics. I especially enjoy the Mariachi Trumpets - great stuff!
  • Tony from Chicago, IlI first heard this song in the 40-year old virgin, I 've loved ever since!!!
  • Jess from Melbourne, AustraliaFoo Fighters covered this. it's a bside to one of their singles. Taylor the drummer sings it.
  • Justin from Georgetown, Inthe intro this song is amazing
see more comments

Scott Gorham of Thin Lizzy and Black Star RidersSongwriter Interviews

Writing with Phil Lynott, Scott saw their ill-fated frontman move to a darker place in his life and lyrics.

Brandi CarlileSongwriter Interviews

As a 5-year-old, Brandi was writing lyrics to instrumental versions lullabies. She still puts her heart into her songs, including the one Elton John sings on.

Frankie ValliSong Writing

An interview with Frankie Valli, who talks about why his songs - both solo and with The Four Seasons - have endured, and reflects on his time as Rusty Millio on The Sopranos.

George ClintonSongwriter Interviews

When you free your mind, your ass may follow, but you have to make sure someone else doesn't program it while it's wide open.

Hawksley WorkmanSongwriter Interviews

One of Canada's most popular and eclectic performers, Hawksley tells stories about his oldest songs, his plentiful side projects, and the ways that he keeps his songwriting fresh.

Gary Louris of The JayhawksSongwriter Interviews

The Jayhawks' song "Big Star" has special meaning to Gary, who explains how longevity and inspiration have trumped adulation.