Something Completely Different – Billy Joel

Highway to Hell
Greetings infidels. It was a Saturday Night back in 1977 when I first saw a young Billy Joel perform “Just the Way you Are” and “Only the Good Die Young” on Saturday Night Live. I was totally blown away and went to the local flea market to buy “The Stranger” LP for $ 6.99. I was hooked. Perhaps a few months later, they had a video of him on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert performing the song Captain Jack from the Piano Man album. Blew me away and I went to the local record store and bought that LP. I was a fan. I was also a member of his official fan club back then called the “Root Beer Rag.” Here was a dude who played the piano, wore high top sneakers and rocked. His stuff gave me material to play on the piano. When he came out with 52nd Street a few years later, the Junior High kid that I was bought the LP at Specs in Dadeland Mall and later bought the songbook and learned all the songs on the album. I’d sit at a piano at school and play “My Life” or “Honesty” off of the 52nd Street Album and instantly I’d be surrounded by girls. I found an instant formula. Later he came out with Glass Houses and the Nylon Curtain. I also picked up those albums and learned all the songs as well. I was in a band in those days so it was only natural that I’d perform some of his tunes in our set list. I picked up every album he made since Piano Man (Turnstiles being one of my favorites like Streetlife Serenader) and learned the songs on those albums too. And as in the past, it was amazing what attention I’d get if I sat down at a piano and started to play his tunes. I think that as a result of Billy Joel’s music, which I learned to play on the piano or the guitar, is what got me dates back in those days and what ultimately helped me in getting laid back in those days. So thanks Billy for teaching me how to score.
Billy Joel-8
In any event, I saw him for the first time live during the Innocent Man tour at the Hollywood Sportatorium (a torn down arena). I saw him again there during his next tour, the Bridge tour. I then saw him at the Miami Arena (another torn down arena) for the Storm Front Tour and River of Dreams Tour there as well. And in between those two tours, I saw him with Elton John for the dueling piano tour. I don’t play much piano anymore, but when I do, I play his stuff and still get an audience. (Did so at my 10th HS reunion and at various parties if a piano is there). Good material never gets old.
Billy Joel-5
It’s amazing how much he’s changed since I first saw him with the long hair, suit with sneakers, and skinny tie of the late 1970’s and 1980’s. But as I saw him last night at the Hard Rock, while his hair is gone and gray, the man can still rock. Hell, on the image above, he and his band played AC/DC’s Highway to Hell (his roadie sang it though). He played a great selection of his hits and his voice was still rocking and he can still work a crowd. If you can, check him out. Here are some more pics from last night’s show. Enjoy …
Billy Joel-6

5 thoughts on “Something Completely Different – Billy Joel”

  1. “I love you just the way you are” what a romantic tearjerker!—
    and the swine was already shacking up with Christie Brinkley while writing that song about the wife he ditched mere months later!
    I love his music too though…..”no-no-no-no you had to be a BIG SHOT didn’t YA!”
    Brings back memories to me also–of waking up many a Sunday morning after getting a little too cute with Disco bouncers–the ones who make Mickey Rourke in the Wrestler look like Woody Allen!
    Whooo-boy…Those were the days.

  2. Humberto, he wrote Just the Way you Are when things were still good with the first wife. She filed for divorce and took him for everything. He was dumb enough to keep her brother as his manager and he embezzled millions from him. He met Christy years later. He stopped performing Just the Way you Are cause he felt hypocritical. In one concert, he started ranting during the tune and blaming her for taking even the dog.
    I found that Billy did his best stuff when he was pissed off .. i.e., the Nylon Curtain …

  3. Ah, Cigar Mike, you had me back at the gym of Wagner College while Billy Joel played “Piano Man” up on the stage. For a romantic tune, my favorite was always the barely known “You’re my Home.”

Comments are closed.