Eddie Money’s Definition Of Paradise

by Kevin Burton

   A song that Cash Box called “an excellent punchy rocker” has become a necessary part of our shared musical vocabulary.

   The signature song of the late Eddie Money, “Two Tickets To Paradise,” peaked at number 22 on the American chart. So it has a place in our 2022 series.

   If you have travel plans, this song will probably leap to mind. 

   One thing songwriters try to do is allow listeners to put themselves into the song. Some things are left general, you fill in the details. So it is with paradise in this song.

   Just now thinking, I can’t come up with one go-to paradise travel destination. It could be London, Cuernavaca (Mexico), Montreal, Bermuda. Basically anywhere my wife Jeannette is, is paradise on earth to me. 

   My definition of paradise in the vacation sense, sometimes would be “anywhere.” It’s helpful that the syllables fit in the song. “Two tickets to a-ny-where!”

   We’ve all been there right? Crazy stir crazy. To put it in a way Otis Redding would recognize, I’d say “I got”to get out of Dodge!

   We linger in Money’s repeated “waited so long” lyric and again fill in the blanks with our own story. Two tickets to paradise sounds fantastic with Valentine’s Day coming up. But really it’s a thought and a song for any time.

   Wait till you hear how Money defined paradise.  These details come courtesy of www.songfacts.com.

   Money had met a sorority girl at Cal Berkeley, according to Songfacts. “She was well off and well-heeled; Eddie was working his way through college as a receiving clerk at JC Penney while playing in bands on weekends.”

   “Her mother would do anything in the world to get her away from me on weekends so she could meet a nice young doctor or lawyer or CPA,” Money said.

   “I wrote ‘Two Tickets to Paradise’ about taking a bus ride to the California redwoods,” Money said. “I had been up there going to court in Arcadia, which is in northern California, for something I was holding that wasn’t mine…but we won’t get into that.”

   “I wanted to take her on a bus ride up to the redwoods. ‘Two tickets to paradise’ could be anywhere; could be Hawaii, could be anywhere,” Money said. “It’s a state of mind.”

   That trip to the redwoods never happened. The girl dumped Money before he got the chance, according to Songfacts.  As for manipulative mommy, who steered her dearie away from Eddie (his real name was Mahoney), her money-sniffer failed her that time. 

   Money grew up listening to groups like The Rascals and Dion and the Belmonts, according to Songfacts. “One thing he learned about songwriting was that words didn’t have to rhyme exactly, they just had to come close and sound right. When he hit on ‘paradise’ as a close-enough rhyme for ‘tonight,’ he knew he had a winner.”

   Money’s 1978 trip to the twenty-something range on the Top 40 with Two Tickets To Paradise was not his last. The next year he took “Maybe I’m A Fool,” a disco-light song, to number 22. He would later have “Endless Nights” and “I’ll Get By” peak at number 21, and “The Love In Your Eyes” at 24.

   Songfacts says Money at first tried to become a police officer, like his father and brother. That didn’t feel right, so off he went to study at Cal Berkeley. He got within six credits of graduating, but then dropped out when he got a deal with promoter Bill Graham, who became his manager and got him a record deal with Columbia. 

   Then came “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets To Paradise.”  Money sang those two hits when he was musical guest on Saturday Night Live on March 18, 1978.

   In 2012 Money’s signature song got him a national commercial with Geico Insurance. He played a very enthusiastic travel agent, singing Two Tickets To Paradise to a family whose trip isn’t for another month.  The tagline: “Geico makes you happier than Eddie Money running a travel agency.”

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