James Gang – Midnight Man (1971, Vinyl) - Discogs

2021 Song Draft- Round 3 Pick 5: Badfinger20 selects ‘Midnight Man’- James Gang.

My next door neighbor while growing up was named Clint. He was a teenager my sister’s age. He would sometimes let me tag along with him and his friends. They  would play albums in his room and this James Gang album was one of the most popular. He only let me tag along because he liked my sister…being nice to me didn’t help him in that department but he was a good sport about it.

I knew better than to cause trouble with the guys….I just stayed quiet and listened to the music or I would be kicked out of the room. I was mesmerized by this song as a kid and still am. I was only 7 or 8 but hanging out with older kids was cool and listening to this new…to me…music stirred something in me.

This was about the time in my young life I realized…the Osmonds weren’t cool and I had to tell that to my Osmond obsessed sister…she didn’t give a flip what I thought and continued on with Puppy Love and with her Donny posters.

When I think of the James Gang I think of this simple slower song. Yes Funk #49, The Bomber, and Walk Away are more popular but this song stayed with me. I think Joe Walsh’s guitar tone and voice are absolutely perfect in this song.

In the third verse Joe steps aside and lets Mary Sterpka take it and it works well. When she sings “be mine” and then goes up high…it gives me chills. Joe plays some simple but creative guitar throughout the closing minute but doesn’t over play. I also like the Hawaiian guitar licks which makes the song  different than their other songs.

It peaked at #80 in 1971. Thirds was the last James Gang album made with Joe Walsh. It was never a big song but that doesn’t matter…it filled a musical need when I needed it. Walsh wrote the song.

Thank you Clint for letting a little kid tag along and hear this wonderful music…sorry my sister wasn’t interested. 

I just realized I have picked two Cleveland picks in a row… The Raspberries and the James Gang both are from Cleveland…hey Cleveland Rocks!


  1. Great story Max – I can see the look on your face when you realized that the Osmond’s weren’t cool. Although maybe if your friend had played along more with that idea he might have had a better chance with your sister 😀. Have to say not familiar with James Gang but like the song – esp Walsh’s guitar

    • Thank you Paul. I also remember the song “Walk Away” on that album. Yea he didn’t play it too well but hey…I have to respect a guy that sticks to his guns…although a lonely guy lol.

      I do like the tone of Walsh’s guitar a lot.

  2. Wow, nice choice from the James Gang. You had a good neighbor and sister to introduce you to that range of great music…and well, the Osmonds too. :p Okay yes Cleveland rocks, but I always have to remind people that Joe Walsh is a native of my town, Wichita. 😀

    • Thanks Graham…yea I haven’t found many to really like it as much as me but sometimes it’s the time and place where you hear something.

  3. I only know a few songs by The James Gang, mostly because of working at the classic rock station. Wasn’t familiar with this one, but it is pretty smooth. It’s always interesting to hear how the music influences a person and it was neat to get a peak at “little Max.” Great story for sure!

    Funny you mentioned the Osmonds. I remember my aunt (who was only 4 years older than me) having posters of Donny in her room. She also had Shaun Cassidy on the wall!

  4. Good pick I’m not familiar with, but seems quite good. You’re not likely to go very far wrong with something that had Walsh in it musically. What’s next for you…. did Nine Inch Nails originate in Cleveland? Trying to think of other acts from there… as I think and think til my thinker hurts, I come up with idea that Ohio in general might be a bit under-represented when it comes to pop and rock music…. Pure Prairie League out of Cincinnati, Dave Grohl was born there but didn’t grow up there…
    Sad about Clint. He must’ve really liked your sister to be a James Gang fan putting up with Osmond-mania.

    • Thanks Dave! Devo came from Ohio I think.
      Yes Clint was a good guy. He steered me in the right direction lol. I haven’t ran into many people who know the song…but it did chart barely. Sometimes the time and place you hear something makes a big difference.

    • The Akron, Ohio area- Devo- Chrissey Hynde- Black Keys- Marilyn Manson…. I think Jeff Dahlmer also from that area- he wasn’t very musical though.

    • Oh right – should have remembered Chrissie, given she wrote the song “My City Was Gone” aka “Ohio”! Seems to me too that one of the big Motown acts … Four Tops maybe? … were from Cleveland but relocated to Detroit when signed to the Berry Gordy company

  5. I’ve never heard this but, the James Gang is always good. I love the story. I had a thing for Donny…when I was SIX. I had a thing for Shaun Cassidy (ref. Keith’s comment)…when I was ELEVEN. He was the cuter Hardy Boy.

    Sorry about Clint…☹

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