The Eagles Icon Joe Walsh’s Emotional Tribute To His Late Daughter Emma
Joe Walsh joined Eagles in 1975, just in time for their ‘Hotel California’ craze to begin. He established a long-going successful career as the guitarist and keyboardist of the band. However, before joining the band as a long-time member, the guitarist had the worst experience a person could probably go through.
He was married to Stefany Rhodes from 1971 to 1978, and they had a daughter named Emma, who was born in the first year of their marriage. Unfortunately, Emma was only three years old when Stefany had a car accident while her daughter was with her on their way from their usual playground North Boulder Park. A reckless driver didn’t stop at the stop sign and caused a lot of head injuries to the three-year-old child.
Emma suffered from a heavy head injury that day, and she was pulled out of the life support unit the same night. Her organs were donated, and her parents started suffering from lifelong trauma. Walsh was on his way back from a tour he had been away for, and he came home only to find out he will never see his daughter again.
How Did Joe Walsh And Stefany Cope With The Death Of Emma?
This tragedy caused the couple’s separation and eventually divorce. They both grieved their loss in their own different ways. However, Walsh’s grief did not start until he began pouring his feelings into songs and getting closure in his head. He released ‘Song For Emma‘ in 1974 as a tribute to his daughter. In a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, the musician talked about his feelings after Emma’s death, his relationship with his wife, and how they are tied to this song. He was angry at God and careless about his own life.
Here is what he stated:
“I was married at the time and living in Boulder. My wife was taking our four-year-old daughter to school, and some lady ran a stop sign and creamed our car. And I lost my daughter. And it was gory and all that. To help with closure, I wrote this song for her.
And over the process of the next year, my wife and I, we just weren’t strong enough to get through the grief, and so we separated and eventually got divorced. But I met a girl in Los Angeles, and my song ‘Help Me Through the Night’ was to her about being there for me. Because I was a wreck, but she was there so that I could grieve Emma.
Both of those songs were on my next album, ‘So What.’ I called it that because I had this ‘so what’ attitude. I was angry. I was really mad at God. And I felt that was a great reason to drink. ‘Poor me. God took my daughter away.’ And so I got an attitude, like, ‘This is the worst thing that’s ever happened. I don’t care about anything.’ Just to justify that it was okay to get screwed up.”
How Did Joe Walsh Grieve Afterwards?
Considering alcohol and drugs as a safe haven, Walsh started to surrender himself to bad habits. However, he was also a romantic, and he built a memorial fountain to Emma’s name in North Boulder Park.
When he first started dating Stevie Nicks, he took her to that drinking fountain, and the two connected on grief. He inspired Nicks’ song ‘Has Anyone Ever Written Anything For You,’ and they established their relationship on getting high and drunk.
The couple broke up because they would encourage each other’s addictions, and they knew it wasn’t the right thing to do. Nicks named Walsh as the love of her life and the only man she truly felt like she could marry and named the day at the fountain as a bonding point.
Throughout the years, the fountain got vandalized and its foundation started to rot. Currently, there aren’t any plans to restore it, but Emma still lives in her father’s heart even after 47 years passed since her death.