Walter Egan was born July 12, 1948 in Jamaica, New York. Alongside guitarist John Zambetti, he first surfaced in a surf rock band dubbed the Malibooz, which earned a devoted local following and even performed at the 1964 New York World's Fair. Relocating to Washington, D.C., Egan and Zambetti re-teamed in the folk-rock group Sageworth and Drums, a product of the same fertile D.C. scene that also launched the careers of Emmylou Harris, Roy Buchanan, and Nils Lofgren. Sageworth and Drums relocated to Boston in 1971, disbanding after a record deal with Warner Bros. collapsed; Egan then followed Emmylou Harris to Los Angeles, where she recorded the Egan composition "Hearts on Fire" with Gram Parsons on the country-rock immortal's 1973 LP, Grievous Angel.
Egan backed artists as varied as Jackson Browne and David Lindley before being spotted by Columbia executives while performing at a Hoot Night at the Troubadour club in 1976. His debut album, Fundamental Roll, followed in 1977, and a year later Egan released the Lindsey Buckingham/Richard Dashut-produced Not Shy, scoring a major hit with the single "Magnet and Steel." Subsequent efforts like 1979's Hi-Fi and 1980's The Last Stroll did not fare as well, however, and in 1981 he reunited with Zambetti to re-form the Malibooz, releasing Malibooz Rule on Rhino later that year. Apart from a 1983 solo release, Wild Exhibitions, Egan maintained a low musical profile during the remainder of the decade, increasingly turning his energies toward graphic art.
Egan resurfaced on the Malibooz's Malibooz Yule: A Malibu Kind of Christmas, and in 1999 released the solo Walternative. The Lost Album, released in 2000, was originally recorded in 1985 and featured guest appearances from Jackson Browne, Christine McVie, and Randy California. It was followed in 2002 by Apocalypso Now, another winning collection of sophisticated pop/rock. In 2005, the Acadia label reissued Egan's first four records on two double-disc sets. In 2014, Egan returned with an ambitious new album, Myth America, and he continued to make occasional live appearances while also exhibiting his visual art.