Happy Birthday to Lubbock Legend Joe Ely
Oh, you don't know Joe? There was a time, in fact several, where Joe was a regular on our airways.
In 1981, he dropped Musta Notta Gotta Lotta, then he came back in '84 with Hi-Res, which was a real high watermark around the Hub City. Then in '87, he reappeared with Lord Of The Highway.
Being a rockabilly and rock fan, Joe Ely was right up my alley. I saw him multiple times at Midnight Rodeo and even spent New Year's Eve with him at Liberty Lunch in Austin. Best of all, I appeared (well, really just my hands) in his Don't Mess With Texas video.
Joe spent some time hanging around with The Clash (he did backing vocals on Should I Stay or Should I Go) and with The Eagles. Supposedly, the line "warm smell of colitas" was how Joe's maid translated "warm smell of little buds" in the song Hotel California.
Joe may be the only popular star that Lubbock didn't kick out. Whereas Buddy Holly and Natalie Maines were never really accepted in the Hub City, everybody seems to like Joe.
He's returned to Lubbock in many shapes and forms and always seems to bring something new to the table. Joe is and was the heart and soul of the legendary Tornado Jams and is probably more responsible than you know for getting the likes of Linda Ronstadt to be a part of that giant mud pit of a concert.
Joe was born in Amarillo, but moved to Lubbock at age 12. I don't remember when he officially slid from Lubbock to Austin and/or parts unknown. All I know is there was a time when you'd see Motorhead and Riot at the Coliseum on a Thursday, then go see Joe on a Saturday.
I can't speak to his later days anymore than his early days. All I, and a lot of Lubbock can do, is thank him for that very, very sweet spot in the middle. Joe turns 69 today.