Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Billy Joel: Piano Man (1973)
"And the Meat Loaf to the Billy Joel.
Certain songs, they get so scratched into our souls"
- Certain Songs, The Hold Steady
I'm not really a Billy Joel fan, but if Chuck Klosterman can admit to being a fan, I guess I can justify having some Billy Joel records in my collection. I have a copy of this record because I paid $1 for it. Sometimes, the price of a record will persuade me to buy a record I normally would not consider owning. In this case, the record is practically mint, and still in shrink wrap.
I don't think that there is a person alive in the western world who has never heard the track Piano Man. It's just one of those songs that really grabbed the attention of people seemingly everywhere. What I didn't know, until very recently, was that this track was a fictionalized account of Joel's experiences working as a lounge singer. I think that gives the tune a little more gravitas, but I am still not convinced that this is a great work of art. It's simply familiar.
Another track that people might know is The Ballad of Billy the Kid, which sounds like a weak Elton John impersonation. Die-hard fans will love this LP while more casual fans will pay some attention to certain songs.
This is the kind of record you would break out at a dinner party of middle aged parents keen to memorialize their youth. I imagine this would be followed by Fleetwood Mac's Rumours and Elton John's Greatest Hits (Volume 1). It might be a great soundtrack to a pre-key party dinner.