Joe Vitale (musician)

For other people named Joseph Vitale, see Joseph Vitale (disambiguation).
Joe Vitale

Vitale at the Capitol Theatre, in 2015
Background information
Birth name Joseph Anthony Vitale
Born (1949-04-02) April 2, 1949
Canton, Ohio, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • composer
  • multi-instrumentalist
  • Vocals
  • drums
  • synthesizer
  • keyboards
  • flute
  • bass guitar
Years active 1969–present
Associated acts

Joseph Anthony "Joe" Vitale (born 2 April 1949) is an American singer, songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Vitale has played with many of the top names in music during a career dating back to the 1970s.[1]

Vitale pursued a solo career and released his debut album Roller Coaster Weekend in 1974. Since then, he has released two studio albums. His only single to chart is "Lady on the Rock".

Early life

Joseph Anthony Vitale was born and raised in Canton, Ohio. He started playing the drums at an early age, as his father was a barber, and would trade haircuts for drum lessons. The Vitales moved to Florida for a short time, where Joe played in a youth orchestra, but they soon moved back to Ohio.

In high school Vitale played for a while with a band called the Knights. He formed a polka band with his brother and father called the "Tony Vitale Trio", with his father on accordion and his brother on bass, but the band was short-lived and didn't make any studio or live recordings.[2] In 1965 the polka band and a rock band called The Echoes were both playing at the Magnolia Homecoming. The Echoes’ drummer didn't make it to the gig, so Vitale played drums for them. As a result, he joined The Echoes as their regular drummer.[3]

Musical career

Vitale started his official music career with The Echoes, who signed with Warner and became The Chylds (1964–68). He gained valuable experience with the band and sang vocals on their single "I Want More (Lovin’)."[2] He eventually enrolled at Kent State University, and was attending during the May 4, 1970 shootings. His first national break came when Ted Nugent hired him to play drums in the Amboy Dukes in 1971.[4] That fall Vitale was invited by his former Kent State classmate Joe Walsh to join Barnstorm, a new group being formed by Walsh in Colorado. The group recorded two albums together and Vitale and Walsh began a longtime partnership although Barnstorm broke up in 1974.

After the breakup, Vitale was the temporary original drummer for the Michael Stanley Band (before Tommy Dobeck), and he recorded his first solo album 1974's Roller Coaster Weekend,[5] produced by Ron & Howard Albert, with guitar solos contributed by Walsh, Rick Derringer and Phil Keaggy. He then joined the Stills-Young Band for the Long May You Run sessions. Later, Vitale would be one of the musicians that Crosby, Stills & Nash record and tour with beginning with the CSN album and continuing until 2009. He has also co-produced and contributed songs to Crosby, Stills & Nash as well as to solo efforts by Stephen Stills and Graham Nash.

Meanwhile, Vitale's longtime partner Walsh became part of the Eagles and Vitale became part of the Eagles' road band on drums and keyboards, appearing on 1980's Eagles Live. For Vitale's second solo album, Plantation Harbor, produced by Bill Szymczyk and also recorded in 1981, Don Felder also appeared along with Walsh on guitars, and Stephen Stills co-wrote a couple of songs. The Walsh/Vitale song "Pretty Maids All in a Row" appears on the Eagles' album Hotel California.[6] He continued to appear on Walsh solo albums in the early 1990s.

Among other artists with whom Vitale has appeared are Dan Fogelberg, Peter Frampton, John Entwistle, and Zakk Wylde (Book of Shadows).[7]

In 2008 Vitale released Speaking in Drums. The album is a collection of eleven songs written and performed by Joe, his wife Susie, and his son Joe Jr. among other guests. In 2008 he also released Backstage Pass, a autobiography written by his wife.[2]

In 2012, Joe Vitale appeared on the album The Healing Song with self help singer/songwriter Joe Vitale (same name, different artist). Included on the recording are fellow musicians Glenn Fukunaga on bass (Robert Plant), Daniel Barrett on guitar (Porterdavis) and Grammy-winning artist David Darling performing on cello.[8]

Personal life

Vitale married his wife Susie in 1974. She is a graduate of Kent State University and conducted post graduate studies at Malone University and Akron University. She has served as president of The Community Television Consortium in Canton and as host of the TV program "What's Happening in Stark County."[9] They have a son, Joe Vitale, Jr.


Solo albums


  1. Joe Vitale (2008-12-19). "Joe Vitale | Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  2. 1 2 3 "Chylds". Retrieved 3 Feb 2016.
  3. Kane, Don (24 May 2013). "The Chylds had radio hits, signed with Warner Bros., opened for the Beach Boys and more". Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  4. Archived October 13, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. "Joe Vitale". Drum channel. Retrieved 3 Feb 2016.
  6. "Joe Vitale". Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  7. "Joe Vitale - Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  8. "Behind The Healing Song". Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  9. Vitale, Susie (2008). Backstage Pass. Hit Records.
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