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Friday, December 4, 2009

Billy Joel

Well, I was going to write about Elton John today, but I just finished working on my Billy Joel chord charts, and felt that maybe I'd say a word or two about the Piano Man.

I remember getting into Billy Joel more after high school. I did like a lot of his songs growing up, especially Uptown Girl and For The Longest Time, but I had been listening to the Beach Boys for a long time at that point, and really liked that Doo Wop kind of sound. So when those songs came out, I really liked them, but I hadn't heard much of his other stuff until my cousin Tom got into him, and started playing his stuff on the piano.

All though high school I was listening to a lot of Elton John, but when I got into college, Tom gave me "Billy Joel Complete Volumes 1 and 2," a two volume set of green songbooks with almost every Billy Joel song up to that date in it. I remember playing a lot of the famous songs in one setting, and then trying to tackle "Stiletto." I'm still working on that song 15 or so years later. It's really hard to play the steady left hand beat with the right hand doing the counter beat above. Then when he gets to that solo, forget it. It's crazy. I don't know how he does it. He's just an amazing piano player.

Another song of note for Billy is "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant." Not only does the song have several passages that are fresh and interesting, the piano solo, brief though it is, is mind blowing.

Well, I sadly must admit that I do not have in my collection of albums as much Billy Joel as I should have. I do have a lot of his albums, though, the ones with all the hits anyway. I think my favorite album is probably "The River of Dreams." I really like how it was produced, and I love most of the songs. Of course he has a lot of really good songs on other albums. Probably my favorite song of his is "Summer, Highland Falls." Who knew that almost 20 years after hearing that song, I'd be living in the same town where he wrote it? This town really is a good place to write a song though. You can't go anywhere without a beautiful view. That's my plug for visiting up here. While you're here take a tour at West Point!

Anyway, I am sad that Billy Joel hasn't been putting out much music lately. Even if he just sat down and jammed at the piano and released albums of just piano people would buy it.

I am waiting for a Face to Face album to come out. I think they should do a highlight of all the best of all of the Face To Face tours. A while back Billy Joel was on a tribute concert for Brian Wilson, and he did a version of "Don't Worry Baby," that was awesome. I always loved that song by the Beach Boys, and his version was great. It sounded like he was bringing a Frankie Valley influence to it, which he did with the songs on "Innocent Man" anyway. But it worked out really well. You can probably find a clip on YouTube.

So I hope you enjoyed reading a few of my thoughts on Billy Joel. If you want to hear me ramble on about anyone else, please feel free to drop me a line.

God bless,

Willy

4 comments:

  1. Billy is one of my all time favorites as well as far as songwriters go. He's one of the best! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.l It makes me want to pull up my Billy Joel collection on Itunes. I'm going to do just that. What great music to work to.
    Thanks Willy!
    Q.

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  2. Who knew Billy would be in the news this week, with his daughter almost passing away. My prayers are with you, Billy and Alexa.

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  4. hi, this is an awkwaurd favor to ask but i read your post and i noticed you have a book i've been looking for like crazy (billy joel "complete volumes 1 and 2), i've looked everywhere but it's not for sale in my country and there's a music sheet i really need for a school porject "you look so good to me", so i was wondering if there's any way you could send me a pdf or photo (monikept92@gmail.com) of the song because i can't seem to find it anywhere
    thank you

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