Press Release - December 12, 2016

Museum of Pop Culture Honors Guitar Icon Joe Walsh with the 2016 Founders Award


Anita Woo
Elizabeth Freund

Museum of Pop Culture Honors Guitar Icon Joe Walsh with the 2016 Founders Award

Annual Gala Raised Over $1 Million for Youth Education Programs

SEATTLE—On December 8, 2016 the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) presented legendary guitarist Joe Walsh with its Founders Award, an honor given to artists who have made outstanding contributions in popular music. The annual award gala is also a fundraiser for MoPOP’s youth education programs. This year, the event generated the highest revenue in the history of the program, with nearly $1.2 million raised.

This was the first time ever Walsh has been honored for his solo work and there to present the award were Ringo Starr and MoPOP founder, Paul G. Allen, along with musicians Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins (who performed with Joe as a trio—Dave on bass, Taylor on drums—blowing the crowd away with a rare James Gang gem “Lost Woman” and the classic “Walk Away”), Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Noah Hunt (“All Night Long”, “Turn To Stone”), Paul Rodgers (“Pretty Maids All In A Row”, “Life In The Fast Lane”, Robert Randolph (“I Can Play That Rock ‘n’ Roll”) and Todd Rundgren (“In The City”, “Life's Been Good To Me So Far”). The evening’s highlights also included: “Rocky Mountain Way”, with Ringo, Paul Allen and Joe joining Kenny Wayne Shepherd and the house band (Fred Eltringham (drums), Audley Freed (guitar), Robert Kearns (bass), Sadler Vaden (guitar), and Jimmy Wallace (keyboard)) and an All Star jam (with Dave Grohl on drums) for “Funk 49”. 

For the musicians who couldn't be there tribute messages came in from rock's royalty and music's finest including Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Ron Wood, Jeff Lynne, Slash, Billy Gibbons, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Vince Gill, Keith Urban, James Taylor, Jason Isbell, Don Was, Sheryl Crow, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi. 

As the creator of some of rock’s most memorable guitar riffs, GRAMMY® Award-winning and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, Joe Walsh has had a remarkable career spanning nearly five decades and dozens of hit songs. In 1969 Walsh earned attention as guitarist and vocalist for the James Gang and later launched his successful solo career. In 1975 Walsh joined the Eagles, bringing his harder-edged rock sound to Hotel California, which has sold more than 50 million copies and made Walsh and the Eagles superstars. Walsh’s distinctive guitar playing, songwriting, and live performances have inspired countless musicians and fans throughout the world.

Previous Founders Award recipients include:

  • 2007: Ann and Nancy Wilson
  • 2008: Robbie Robertson
  • 2009: Steve Cropper
  • 2010: Billy Cox
  • 2011: Buddy Guy
  • 2012: Carlos Santana
  • 2013: Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • 2014: Jackson Browne
  • 2015: Jimmy Page



Best known for his iconic guitar licks, multi-Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and producer Joe Walsh has entertained the masses and captivated his peers for more than four decades with such classics as “Funk #49,” “Walk Away,” “Life’s Been Good,” “Rocky Mountain Way,” and “In The City.” In 1969 Walsh found success with The James Gang, followed by a stint with Barnstorm, a trio he founded. In 1973 he released his first solo album, which proved him a legitimate solo artist. In 1975 he joined The Eagles, bringing a harder rock sound to the group with the acclaimed Hotel California, The Long Run and Eagles Live. After a 14-year hiatus The Eagles released Hell Freezes Over, which reached #1 on the Billboard charts and sparked one of the most successful tours in music history. The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, the first year they were nominated. In 2001 Walsh received an Honorary Doctorate from Kent State University and in 2012 the Berklee School of Music gave each of the Eagles Honorary Doctors of Music degrees. In 2012 Walsh released Analog Man, his first solo album in 20 years, performing shows around the world to support it. In 2013 the award-winning The History of The Eagles documentary showcased at Sundance, and in February it aired regularly on Showtime. With the DVD release, The Eagles began their extensive The History of The Eagles World Tour. In 2015 Walsh launched his solo Walsh Toor 2015, and on October 4, 2015 he performed at the “UNITE to Face Addiction” rally in Washington, D.C., headlining with friends Steven Tyler, Sheryl Crow and Jason Isbell. 2016 saw Walsh on the road for the One Hell of A Night arena tour, which he co-headlined with Bad Company, followed by more Walsh Toor solo dates. August brought the release of Citizen Soldier, a documentary about an Oklahoma National Guard deployed to Afghanistan for which Walsh wrote original music, and marked the launch of his charity VETS AID. In October Walsh was Grand Marshall for the NASCAR “Citizen Soldier 400” race at Dover Downs. December 2016 saw Walsh become a Kennedy Center Honors recipient as a member of The Eagles, with the award presented by President Obama with Ringo Starr introducing the band at the ceremony itself. A few days later Joe received the Museum of Pop Cultures Founders Award recognizing his solo career and achievements as “shaping the soundscape of popular music,” which Ringo also presented.


MoPOP is a leading-edge nonprofit museum in Seattle, WA, dedicated to the ideas and risk-taking that fuel contemporary popular culture. With its roots in rock 'n' roll, MoPOP serves as a gateway museum, reaching multigenerational audiences through our collections, exhibitions, and educational programs, using interactive technologies to engage and empower our visitors. At MoPOP, artists, audiences and ideas converge, bringing understanding, interpretation, and scholarship to the popular culture of our time. For more information, visit

Photos and Video

Video highlights and images available for download at the link below.

Footage includes remarks from Ringo Starr, Paul G. Allen, Joe Walsh, and excerpts from the tribute concert.

Video courtesy: Museum of Pop Culture
Photo credit on file name (Philip Macias, Brady Harvey, Jim Bennett)

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