There must be something in the air tonight – Jane Copland posted on Facebook that Uptown Girl was the #1 record in New Zealand when she was born, and The Guardian has a short piece about a track of Joel’s from the 70s called Souvenir.
It was whilst watching a video of Souvenir, a track I’d not heard before, that I saw this version of the amazing Piano Man. It made me realise, again, just how underrated Billy Joel is. As far as I’m concerned his output in the 70s was as good, and as important, in terms of US music, as Bruce Springsteen’s. In many ways, he was Springsteen with a piano – from New York rather than New Jersey, but telling similar tales of the thousands of small stories that go to make the huge tale that is America.
It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Makin’ love to his tonic and gin
He says, “Son, can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes.”
I’m honestly not sure that I can think of a song with a better opening than Piano Man, and if it wasn’t for Up Town Girl, he’d probably be revered in a way similar to Springsteen or even Dylan.
Piano by Marc Falardeu on flickr