Eddie Money set to open Rockin’ the Downs series on Friday

Jun 21, 2018

Eddie Money kicks off the second season of the Batavia Downs Rockin’ the Downs Summer concert series on Friday. It’s been slightly less than a year since The Money Man performed at Batavia Downs, but in that short time Money’s star has risen regionally and nationally.

Earlier this year, Money’s autobiographical play, “Two Tickets to Paradise: The Musical,” took Rochester by storm. The play featured a cast with several Niagara University alumni and Rochester based actors, giving the play and Money a solid Western New York connection.

As if that were not enough, to add to his bio, AXS TV recently renewed Money’s reality television series, “Real Money,” for a second season. The show is similar in style to “The Osbournes,” and follows Eddie and his family around.

If you are a fan of the show you know three of Eddie’s kids are in his backing band. His daughter Jesse has long played a prominent role in Eddie’s live show, handling backing vocal duties and singing the occasional lead.

Even though Eddie turns 70 next year, his vocals have never showed any signs of deterioration, which is one of many reasons he has been able to become a perennial favorite in many markets, including Western New York.

Money, born Edward Joseph Mahoney, has a unique backstory. Money’s grandfather, father and one of his brothers were New York City Police officers and Eddie was planning to follow in their footsteps before deciding to quit his police training to pursue a career in music.

In 1977, Eddie Money signed with rock impresario Bill Graham’s record label and released his debut album. Graham was also Money’s manager, which gave him instant credibility in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Eddie capitalized on his relationship with Graham by creating two early hits, “Two Tickets to Paradise” and “Baby Hold On.”

There is another Western New York connection on Money’s first album. That is Money’s drummer on the album, Gary Mallaber, who graduated from Lafayette High School and grew up in Buffalo. Mallaber appeared on select tracks on the first five Eddie Money albums.

In 1980, Money’s career almost derailed after a drug overdose on fentanyl that put the singer in the hospital and left him barely able to walk for nearly a year. The incident inspired the title track to his “No Control” album, which thrust Money back into the spotlight on the strength of hits like “Shakin’” and “Think I’m in Love,” both of which garnered heavy airplay on MTV.

Money’s highest charting hit came in 1986 with “Take Me Home Tonight,” a duet with Ronnie Spector. In 1988, Money had another hit with “Walk on Water.”

Even though it has been nearly two decades since Eddie Money has released an album of new music, Money’s back catalogue remains popular. “Two Tickets to Paradise” was featured in a ubiquitous GEICO commercial in 2012, and it has appeared in numerous television shows, video games and motion pictures.

Tickets for the show are available at Batavia Downs or through Ticketfly.com.

By Thom Jennings, Batavia Daily News