Billy Joel Lyrics
Billy Joel lyrics reflect the Bronx’s best songwriter from the Piano Man himself. Billy Joel, the musician with two first names, has received six Grammy Awards and has been inducted into both the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Joel’s half-brother Alex is also an acclaimed classical pianist in Europe.
Not only was Billy Joel a Golden Gloves boxer in his youth, but in 1971, he was in fact a piano man, playing at the piano bar in the Los Angeles Executive Lounge under the name Bill Martin. The lyrics in the song “Piano Man” from the same album are based upon the real life characters Joel met while playing piano at the Executive Lounge.
This is also explained in the song by the line, “He says, ‘Bill, I believe this is killing me'” since Billy Joel was in fact, Bill Martin. Because of legal battles with the record company, Joel has netted only $7,000 from the Piano Man album, which was certified Gold in 1973.
On the same album, the Billy Joel lyrics to “Captain Jack” talk about drugs and a pusher. But, the part of the song that got it banned from many radio play lists in that day is that it mentions the word “masturbate” by name and not euphemism.
The song, “The Entertainer” on the Streetlife Serenade album is about Joel’s rise to fame and glory and about how he’s not able to enjoy the money or lifestyle much as he is beholden to too many people. It’s also about how fleeting fame, fortune and glory is and how it can all go away with the blink of an eye.
“The Stranger” on the album by the same name contains some of Billy Joel’s most evocative lyrics talking about the masks people wear and the secrets we fail to share. “The Stranger” is also a love song about a woman who somehow changes before the protagonist’s eyes and his struggle to find the deeper side of her and himself.
On the 52nd Street album sandwiched in-between “Big Shot”, a song rumored to be about a bad date with Bianca Jagger and “My Life”, a song about fierce independence, is a tender and powerful love song called “Honesty”. The Billy Joel lyrics to “Honesty” are unlike many other love songs in that he’s not asking for tenderness or sympathy, simply honesty from his lover, which is a rarity in an inherently dishonest world.
The Billy Joel lyrics to “We Didn’t Start the Fire” on the Storm Front album were written before the melody and chronicled people, places and events that happened in Joel’s lifetime from 1949 to 1989. Though some say the lyrics are in the “stream of consciousness” style, this is really not the case since particular attention was paid to sequence of events, meter and rhyme in more controlled than typical stream of consciousness prose.
The lyrics talk about the chaos and progress both negative and positive that started before his generation could take over. Some see this as a rebuttal to Joel’s generation being responsible for these inherited problems, though other see the song as being about not being able to control the uncontrollable as time and events march on.
In January of this year there was a leak to the New York Post, that Billy Joel has recorded a new song of which he has written the first new lyrics and melody in 14 years titled, “All My Life”. On Super Bowl Sunday, on February 4, 2007, Billy Joel sang and played “The Star-Spangled Banner”.