Joel’s best moments are the ones that combine his talent for incisive observations with punchy pop-rock that updates the templates laid down by Buddy Holly and the Beatles in a way that lets in the occasional flex of instrumental prowess.
billy joel songs for mother son dance – Billy Joel Concert At MSG In New York, NY September 27, 2019
In show #114 at Madison Square Garden, Billy Joel let the audience choose what set list of songs would be played The ALBUM TRACKS OR THE HITS LIST! Billy Joel received Grammy awards for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1978 for his song Just the Way You Are”; Album of the Year in 1979 for 52nd Street”; and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1979 for 52nd Street” and in 1980 for Glass Houses” In 1990, he was presented with a Grammy Legend Award. Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1992, he was also presented with the Johnny Mercer Award in 2001. In 1999 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in 2004 received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His other awards include the ASCAP Founders Award, the BMI Career Achievement Award, the American Music Awards Award of Merit, and the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal.
With the momentum of a Top 20 single (“Piano Man”) to his name, Joel began recording new songs and albums, coming out with Streetlife Serenade in 1974. Many of his songs related to a growing frustration with the music industry and Hollywood, foreshadowing his exit from Los Angeles in 1976. As the years passed, Joel’s style began to evolve, showing his range from pop to the bluesy-jazz stylings that are now closely associated with his name. The Stranger (1977) was Joel’s first major commercial breakthrough, landing him four songs in the Top 25 of the U.S. Billboard charts. By 1981, Joel had collected a slew of awards, including a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance and a People’s Choice Award.
Playboy: Your songs are often contradictions within themselves: A fairly tough, raw statement comes packaged in a sweet melody. From Madison Square Garden to Wrigley Field, Wesielewski has been to nine Joel concerts so far.
Joel: It took a while. Piano Man was pretty uninteresting melodically. The lyrics are probably stronger than the melody. It surprised me that it was a hit. It made some noise. The album eventually went gold. Whack! He smacks another fly. Since Piano Man was the single, I got pegged right away. A lot of people confused it with Taxi, the Harry Chapin song. They thought I was another Chapin, a storyteller. But the album had a lot of other things, like Worse Comes to Worst and Captain Jack, which were very different.
I won’t endorse things commercially for that reason, either—except I endorse Baldwin pianos, because they’re good pianos. I also could see endorsing Harley motorcycles, because I love them. But I turn down incredible amounts of money to endorse all kinds of things. We sell our own T-shirt and stuff like that for the same reason. We don’t want people who trust me to get ripped off. We don’t sell T-shirts for the money; our merchandising company operates at a loss. If people are going to buy that stuff, at least we want them to be able to get good quality. We sell T-shirts, posters and we put out a newsletter. That’s it.
We sat down at a long table and chatted until Elizabeth walked in. Joel’s wife of eight years, Elizabeth is the inspiration for most of his love songs, and she’s preceded by a reputation as a tough cookie; but when she walked in that afternoon, she was open and friendly. Toward Billy, she was loving and motherly. Elizabeth made all the decisions about Billy’s meeting times and places. He deferred continually to her counsel. When she had advised us what time to show up at their new house a couple of days later, she turned to Billy: ‘All set? I’ll race you home!’ They waved goodbye, walked outside and jumped onto their wheels: he on a root-beer-colored 1340-c.c. Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, she on a red 750-c.c. Yamaha Virago. Seconds later, they were tearing down the center of town, side by side.
Joel: I smoked pot when I lived in California. For some reason or another, it made sense. It was just part of what they call the mellow life. Everything was laid back. We got into natural foods. The whole thing. When I got back to New York, I stopped. It just didn’t make sense anymore, and I was eating too many chocolate-chip cookies. I smoked a joint and walked onstage once. It was the worst. I got real paranoid. I wanted to hide under the piano. I started going into this cosmic rap and all the guys in the band were going, Oh, shit, we’re in big trouble tonight.” Somebody’s got to be in control up there. That was the last time I did that. When you’re up there and there are thousands of people going Yeah,” that’s intoxicating on its own.
Born in the Bronx, Joel was raised in the Long Island suburb of Hicksville, where he learned to play piano as a child. As he approached his adolescence, Joel started to rebel, joining teenage street gangs and boxing as welterweight. He fought a total of 22 fights as a teenager, and during one of the fights, he broke his nose. For the early years of his adolescence, he divided his time between studying piano and fighting. Upon seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, Joel decided to pursue a full-time musical career and set about finding a local Long Island band to join. Eventually, he found the Echoes, a group that specialized in British Invasion covers. The Echoes became a popular New York attraction, convincing him to quit high school to become a professional musician.
Playboy: A Rolling Stone critics’ poll voted It’s Still Rock and Roll the worst song ever written about rock ‘n’ roll. Riman started playing “Piano Man,” and Joel joined in. The two played a duet together in an empty arena – just two piano men, following their passion.
Joel: Yeah, but it’s funny: Any criticism about my being a chauvinist has always come from guys. I haven’t gotten a complaint from a woman yet. These guys set themselves up as protectors of women, yet they don’t have a clue what it’s all about. If you happen to say that a woman is human, that she has moods, then it’s a chauvinist song.
Billy Joel: Yes, I think it was the coffee Chock Full ‘Nuts in Paramus, because we opened it. The Hassles played at the opening. Um, the first time we ever sold anything… See, I was signed, originally, with the Echoes to Mercury Records. We change the name to The Lost Souls, and we were The Lost Souls for a while, and we made a couple of records. Nothing ever happened. What was the other one.
His first choice to start to build the band was a fellow Long Islander and bass player, Doug Stegmeyer. He asked Stegmeyer if he knew some musicians to help round out the band, and Stegmeyer suggested former bandmates Devitto and Javors, whom Joel had known well from the Long Island music scene, and the band began to rehearse and truly become a unit.
The song “The Great Wall of China” was written about his ex-manager Frank Weber and was a regular in the setlist for Joel’s 2006 tour. “2000 Years” was prominent in the millennium concert at Madison Square Garden , December 31, 1999, and “Famous Last Words” closed the book on Joel’s pop songwriting for more than a decade.
Joel: I liked school at first. I did good without doing any studying or anything. I used to read history books like they were novels to pass the time, since we didn’t have a TV. But in junior high school, I started hanging out with a wild crowd. I started in my first band when I was 14 or so and I would come into school missing three classes. My eyes were red. Teachers thought I was a drug addict. You look stoned.” I said, I’m not stoned. That’s just the way I look naturally.” I would show up and get a B on the tests, but the teachers wouldn’t pass me, because I wasn’t in school enough. I would say, Well, I passed the test. I know the stuff I’m supposed to know. What’s wrong with you?” It’s the same thing—the running battle I have with bureaucracy.
Billy Joel: I wrote it on a guitar, actually. But that was it. That was probably the one song that I had finished, and boom, I’m in the studio and the clock is ticking. There are two instrumentals on that album – the Root Beer Rag,” which is just a piano ragtime thing, and this ersatz, Western movie theme called the The Mexican Connection,” because I was living with L.A. and I was fascinated with Westerns.
During the third song, “Just the way you are” my girl popped the question. Of course I said “Of course.” Other than that memorable moment, it was a killer concert. My first time seeing Billy Joel and I hope it won’t be my last.
Therefore, I decided to make a serious effort to identify the consistent qualities across Joel’s body of work” (it almost hurts to write that) that make it so meretricious, so fraudulent, so pitifully bad. And so, risking humiliation and embarrassment, I ventured to the Barnes & Noble music section and bought a four-disc set of B.J.’s Greatest Hits,” one of which was a full disc of his musings about art and music. I must admit that I also bought a copy of an album I already had—Return of the Grievous Angel, covers of Gram Parsons songs by the likes of the Cowboy Junkies and Gillian Welch, whose Hickory Wind” is just ravishing—so the cashier might think the B.J. box was merely a gift, maybe for someone with no musical taste. Yes, reader. I couldn’t bear the sneer, even for your benefit.
Joel: The band had been under the gun with other producers, having to prove themselves, and also, there were always studio players, who were good but who weren’t me. Phil liked my guys right off the bat. He heard them play the songs and said, Don’t play any different than you play on the road—be the rock-‘n’-roll animals that you are.” We did songs in five takes instead of 15 or 20. He was one of the guys. We’d throw around ideas, kick the songs around, try them different ways and get them right. Sometimes we’d throw pizza at each other. That’s how it was with Phil.
A little over a decade ago I found myself in a hotel on the Lower East Side interviewing Mick Jones of The Clash, and I had a moment that bridged my childhood love of Joel’s music with everything that came after.
Known for his deep connection to his hometown and his inspired and inspiring storytelling, Billy Joel is one of the most popular musicians of all time. With over 150 million global album sales, he’s the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in history. He has been inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he inspired the Tony Award-winning play Movin’ Out, and he recently received the Kennedy Center Honor for ‘The Piano Man’. That rare artist whose timeless work is increasingly beloved by long-term fans and discovered by new ones every day, seeing him light up his favorite stage is a definitive live music experience.
I was pissed off. It’s bullshit. There’s no fine Nazis. My father’s generation fought a war to put an end to Nazism. When they see these guys with the swastika armband, I’m amazed they don’t run out on the street and smash them over the head with a baseball bat. So this president missed the boat. He had a great chance to say something meaningful and he blew it.
This will not be Billy Joel’s first trip to campus. He played the Joyce Center in 1979, and again in 1984. He also played the Stephan Center in 1996. Billy Joel: After The Stranger we started playing coliseums and arenas, the big, big rooms, and I went right back on the road again and I started writing again.
Billy Joel: Well, one is a job and one is a life. The job thing, I can take off at 5:00 in the afternoon, the rock star thing. I go shopping, I cook my own food, I wash the dishes, I take out the garbage. I know who that guy is. And the music has nothing to do with money or career. It’s just part of me. It’s like love. Music, love, food, friendship, my daughter – all these great things.
Billy Joel, they can’t stand you because of your music; because of your stupid, smug attitude; because of the way you ripped off your betters to produce music that rarely reaches the level even of mediocrity. You could dress completely au courant and people would still loathe your lame lyrics.