Artist Biography: Walter Egan
Walter Egan, June 5, 1980
Walter Eganís first three albums firmly established him as one of the brightest young talents in the rock music world, a masterful craftsman with an uncanny flair for the memorable hook. His new Columbia album, The Last Stroll, continues on the road he blazed with Hi-Fi; to the pop reputation he earned with "Magnet and Steel," you can now add the credential of Walter Egan, the accomplished dyed-in-the-wool rocker.
Eganís love affair with rock music began in New York when his ear was permanently glued to the sounds of Brill Building pop, The Beatles and The Beach Boys coming from a transistor radio. He began his musical career with The Malibooz before joining Sageworth after moving to Washington, D.C., to study sculpture at Georgetown University. While Sageworth remained based in Washington, Walter became friends with Chris Darrow, a folk-based singer and songwriter of some note, as well, as Linda Rondstadtís tour manager, and co-composer of "Hearts On Fire" which Gram Parsons would later record on his classic Grievous Angel album, with Emmy Lou Harris. He stuck with Sageworth until 1973 before heading to southern California where he rejoined forces with Darrow for a 1974 English tour supporting Welsh band Man.
Egan returned to California to concentrate on writing songs and briefly joined Southpaw, a band assembled around Jules Shear that fell apart shortly after A & M passed on them. Subsequently Walter formed Wheels and a showcase performance at Hollywoodís Troubadour in February, 1976, won Walter a solo recording deal with United Artists overseas; an American deal with Columbia followed shortly thereafter.
"It was funny because I hadnít been a lead singer since high school so I had to find the spot where I felt most comfortable as a singer and performer,Ē he recalls. ďI felt that I was a rock Ďní roller because I donít feel that Iím a crooner. My voice is better suited to going out there and giving it the energy."
"Itís the same thing with the songs. Iíve been writing songs since I was 16 and I donít limit myself to writing one type of song but when it comes time to choose the songs I want to do myself, Iíve been picking the rock Ďní roll songs."
Fundamental Roll impressively introduced the rock world to his talents and Not Shy, powered by the gold hit single "Magnet and Steel," confirmed his position as a rising young star. Six months of intensive touring opening for the likes of Foreigner, Heart, Kansas and Tom Petty convinced fans across the country that Egan and his band were more than capable of holding their own with the best.
And now, on the heels of the rocking Hi-Fi album, comes his most striking effort to date, The Last Stroll.
"The basic idea of this album was a little different," he explains. "The big difference between The Last Stroll and Hi-Fi is that itís probably a little slicker. On Hi-Fi, we pretty much wanted to portray the live sound of the band after weíd been on the road for six months. With The Last Stroll, I was trying to get the same feeling across without it being a Ďliveí record."
The Last Stroll, produced by Walter with Earle Mankey (whose past credits include 20/20, The Pop! and a long engineering stint with The Beach Boys), fully realizes that goal. Walter's crack backing band is augmented on the record by special guests Deke Leonard (the guitarist-singer formerly with Man) and Annie McLoone (who left the band shortly before the album to launch her own solo career) among others.
But the icing on the cake is ten vital new songs, nine penned by Egan and one penned by Earl Shackelford. The material again displays Walter's finely honed melodic instincts and provacative lyrics welded to the potent drive of a true rocker.
The material ranges from the jaunty single "Baby, Let's Run Away" to "Motel Broken Hearts" ("It's kind of a 1980 version of 'Heartbreak Hotel'," he says) and "Why Me (The Last Stroll)," a song that follows "Magnet and Steel" and "Love at Last" in its use of the stroll beat.
All in all, The Last Stroll is certain to add even more luster to the considerable reputation of Walter Egan, rocker.