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You Didn’t Know That? The Richard Marx Edition

Late last week, someone made reference to Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh contributing his signature guitar licks to Richard Marx's rockin' debut single "Don't Mean Nothing'." The tune went Top 5 for Marx - not bad for an opening shot, and as you know now, the track was the first of four massive hits for Marx from his 1987 self-titled debut, including an eventual number one chart notch with "Hold On To The Nights."

I was floored. I had NO idea.

When I mentioned the Walsh connection on Twitter, I got quick reaction from @JacobyDave:

"You didnt know that? I knew that was Joe Walsh when it was new!"

Richard Marx - Don't Mean Nothing

As soon as I heard the Walsh tidbit, I could immediately hear it in my head. How could I have missed this one? As a liner notes junkie, it was a shameful moment. I kid you not, "Don't Mean Nothing" was one of my favorite tunes of the 80's, with the previously mentioned "Hold On To Nights" eventually snagging the top spot among my favorite Marx tunes, thanks to this famous live version released as the official video.

But today, we're talking about "Don't Mean Nothing," a track that featured not only Walsh, but also fellow former Eagles members Timothy B. Schmit and Randy Meisner on background vocals. As Marx notes in the video below, it was the first time that Schmit and Meisner had sung together in the studio, since they weren't actually in the Eagles together. In fact, Schmit had been Meisner's replacement twice - first in Poco in 1970, and later in 1978 in the Eagles after the Hotel California tour.

Marx comments on the writing and recording of "Don't Mean Nothing."

The Marx incident reminded me of another famous guest appearance that always makes for good conversation - George Harrison's solo on Belinda Carlisle's solo hit "Leave A Light On."

Belinda Carlisle - Leave A Light On

Some info from

In the 1980s and '90s George Harrison didn't work with many other people, and after his death, Olivia Harrison told Belinda Carlisle that he agreed to work on her album because he loved her voice. George Harrison wrote Rick Nowels a letter saying he "Hopes he likes his guitar work because he got a blister playing it."

Harrison also played 12 string and bass on "Deep Deep Ocean," another track on the same Runaway Horses album that contained "Light."

Here's a humorous video interview with Eric Clapton and George Harrison during their 1991 Japanese tour. During the interview, Clapton references a current single on the radio with a guitar player that sounds a lot like George. Clapton is talking about "Leave a Light On," and it's funny to watch the two of them trying to figure out the song that Clapton is referencing. The interview portion begins at about 1:50 in on the video below.

What are some of your favorite little-known guest appearances on songs that were huge?

  • Rob Lambert

    Wow, I never knew the Joe Walsh bit either. Now, listening to it, it just oozes Joe Walsh … it’s so obvious … donno why I never picked it up. Richard it right, the song could have fit in on The Long Run.

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Gail

    Hum the tune to “Don’t Mean Nothing” and then hum Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good.” Such obvious similarities in those tunes should make Walsh’s playing leap to mind immediately. :)

  • Amy

    I think I was about 15 or 16 when “Don’t Mean Nothing” came out. I immediately thought “this sounds like the Eagles”. And I was already a huge Eagles fan at that point. After I got Richard Marx’s album and started reading the liner notes, I immediately understood why it sounded like the Eagles. The pop music scene desperately needed a dose of the Eagles then, as it does now.

  • Matt Wardlaw


    I was about the same age. I hadn’t really discovered the total genius of the Eagles at that point…but I was totally enthralled with the song itself.

    I’ve had the album since shortly after it was release….and as big of a liner notes junkie as I am, it’s crazy that I missed this one!

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