30 Years Ago: Eddie Money Releases ‘Can’t Hold Back’
Eddie Money entered the '80s on a hit-making streak, but by the middle of the decade, he'd lost most of that momentum and was in search of a comeback. He found it with his sixth LP, 1986's Can't Hold Back.
Released in October 1986, the album arrived three years after Money's previous effort, 1983's Where's the Party? — which saw his sales suffer a steep decline after the platinum Top 20 success of its predecessor, 1982's No Control. That commercial stumble took place several years after a much-publicized incident in which Money mixed alcohol and barbiturates and passed out for an extended period in a position that ended up damaging his sciatic nerve and leaving him with a permanent limp.
It all added up to the impression that perhaps Money was past his prime. Determine to get himself back on top of the charts with his next release, he took some time off after Where's the Party? tanked, putting extra effort into crafting the best possible LP rather than flailing in vain for a comeback hit. Like every other veteran rocker who wanted to sell records in the '80s, Money knew he needed to stay on the radio; in an effort to put a little extra polish on his sound, he enlisted the aid of a new producer, Richie Zito.
Zito, who'd become familiar to rock fans later in the decade through his work for a list of multi-platinum clients that included Cheap Trick, Bad English and Heart, set about reestablishing Money on the charts in a couple of ways: first, by hooking him up with a new group of session vets like bassist Randy Jackson and Mr. Mister keyboardist Steve George, and second, by rounding up material by outside songwriters.
By his own admission, Money wasn't exactly eager to yield the creative reins to other writers. He was willing to do what was best for the record, though, and that included taking Zito's advice on a group of songs that ultimately included some of the biggest hits of his career — including album opener "Take Me Home Tonight," a song whose chorus lifted a line from the Ronettes' "Be My Baby" with a vocal cameo by Ronnie Spector herself. Released ahead of Can't Hold Back in August 1986, the single soared into the Top 5.
"I didn't like the song, but it was good for Ronnie's career and let's face it — I'm a performer and an entertainer, not just a songwriter, so I gotta get out and do these things," admitted Money. "It helped Ronnie out and it helped me get some of my other material on the album across, so now I'm happy I did it."
Listen to Eddie Money's 'Take Me Home Tonight'
"Take Me Home Tonight" sent Can't Hold Back into the Top 20 on its way to selling a million copies, both of which took Money back to a level of commercial luster he hadn't enjoyed since No Control. The record turned out to have some impressive legs too, spinning off the Top 40 hits "I Wanna Go Back" and "Endless Nights." Just a few years after being relegated to opening-act status, he was on top again.
The formula Money and Zito used for Can't Hold Back would be repeated a couple of years later with his seventh effort, 1988's Nothing to Lose, which produced the Top 10 hit "Walk on Water" and fed into the release of a gold-selling best-of collection to close out the decade. And although his second act proved relatively short-lived — Money parted ways with longtime label Columbia Records after releasing the 1993 live EP Unplug It In — it added another handful of hits to an already impressive discography, helping round out his set list as he aged into heritage act status.
"I never had any doubts that I'd be around for awhile," Money insisted. "If you have a lot of faith in what you're doing, if you love what you're doing, then other people will love it too."
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