Ed­die Money suc­cumbs to can­cer

The 1970s pop-rock star who sang “Two Tick­ets to Par­adise” and “Baby Hold On,” died Fri­day in Los An­ge­les. He was 70.

The Morning Call - - FRONT PAGE - By Har­ri­son Smith

Ed­die Money, a one­time po­lice of­fi­cer trainee who sang his way to pop-rock star­dom in the late 1970s with songs such as “Two Tick­ets to Par­adise” and “Baby Hold On,” died Fri­day in Los An­ge­les. He was 70.

His fam­ily an­nounced the death, ac­cord­ing to The As­so­ci­ated Press. Money un­der­went heart valve surgery in the spring, can­celed con­cert dates be­cause of pneu­mo­nia and re­vealed in Au­gust that he had Stage 4 esophageal can­cer.

A singer-song­writer who also played the sax­o­phone, key­boards and har­mon­ica, he spe­cial­ized in blue-col­lar rock — no­tably in “Take Me Home Tonight” (1986), which fea­tured for­mer Ronettes vo­cal­ist Ron­nie Spec­tor.

The sin­gle re­vi­tal­ized Spec­tor’s singing ca­reer, earned a Grammy nom­i­na­tion and be­came Money’s big­gest com­mer­cial suc­cess, reach­ing No. 4 on the Bill­board charts.

Its pop­u­lar­ity capped a re­mark­able decade­long run for Money, a Long Is­land rocker who was plucked from ob­scu­rity by rock im­pre­sario Bill Gra­ham; opened for San­tana, the Rolling Stones and the Who; nearly crip­pled him­self from a drug over­dose; and re­cov­ered in the early 1980s to be­come a shag­gy­haired fix­ture of the newly created tele­vi­sion chan­nel MTV.

“Ever since I was young I’d sing in my home/ Those crazy songs I heard on the ra­dio,” he de­clared in “Wanna Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star,” from his 1977 self­ti­tled de­but. He wanted “a man­sion on the hill” and “thou­sand dol­lar bills” to burn, he said, and to some de­gree he got it — cer­ti­fied plat­inum records, if not wheel­bar­rows of cash, and a de­voted fol­low­ing that per­sisted into re­cent years, when he con­tin­ued tour­ing and starred with his fam­ily in an AXS re­al­ity se­ries called “Real Money.”

La­beled “rock’s Rod­ney Danger­field” by Rolling Stone, Money had ini­tially pur­sued a far more con­ven­tional life­style, fol­low­ing his fa­ther and grand­fa­ther into the New York Po­lice De­part­ment. He worked for two years as a clerk and typ­ist, but in 1968 he either quit or was fired — he told both ver­sions of the story, in­vari­ably cit­ing his de­sire to grow out his hair — and moved to Berke­ley, Cal­i­for­nia.

He sup­ported him­self by sell­ing bell-bot­tom blue jeans and, peren­ni­ally broke, adopted a tongue-in-cheek stage name, drop­ping a few let­ters from his sur­name, Ma­honey, to be­come Ed­die Money.

Money said he linked up with Gra­ham af­ter play­ing in a bat­tle of the bands con­test at the pro­moter’s Win­ter­land Ball­room venue in San Fran­cisco. With Gra­ham’s help, he signed a con­tract with Columbia Records, re­sult­ing in a stu­dio de­but that spawned two Top 40 sin­gles, “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tick­ets to Par­adise.”

Money found mixed suc­cess with a pair of fol­low-up records and had fin­ished a tour for “Play­ing for Keeps” (1980) when he snorted a bar­bi­tu­rate, phe­no­bar­bi­tal, ap­par­ently be­liev­ing it was co­caine. Amid a night of heavy drink­ing, he “went into a semi-cata­tonic state,” he said, dam­ag­ing his kid­neys and the sci­atic nerve in his left leg.

He was un­able to walk for nearly a year.

“Ed­die Ma­honey didn’t do this to him­self, Ed­die Money did this to Ed­die Ma­honey,” he told Rolling Stone while re­cov­er­ing.

His fol­low-up, “No Con­trol” (1982), in­vig­o­rated his ca­reer and launched him to promi­nence on MTV.

Into the early 1990s, Money had hits such as “I Wanna Go Back,” “Peace in Our Time” (orig­i­nally re­leased by Jen­nifer Hol­l­i­day), “I’ll Get By,” “End­less Nights” and “Walk on Wa­ter,” which peaked at No. 9 on the charts.

Ed­ward Joseph Ma­honey was born in Brook­lyn on March 21, 1949, and raised in Le­vit­town, New York. He mar­ried Lau­rie Har­ris in 1989 and had five chil­dren. Sev­eral per­formed with him in re­cent years. A com­plete list of sur­vivors was not im­me­di­ately avail­able.

CHAR­LIE RIEDEL/AP

Ed­die Money, shown in 2010 singing the na­tional an­them be­fore a col­lege bas­ket­ball game, died Fri­day.

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