With ‘The Essential Billy Joel’, You Too Can Dive Into The Musicianship Which Made The Piano Man So Famous
There are a few artists who were big at the same exact time which I have, for much of my life, overlooked, giving preferential treatment to one and not the other – but now is the time to stack all their music against each other. I have given Elton John a chance to wow me, but wasn’t exactly blown away like I thought I would be. Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Billy Joel, in my head at least, seem to be in the same songwriting camp – and I have always been much more of a fan of the piano pub era of Springsteen’s music – you know – songs like “Hungry Heart” where the piano plunks away and end up feeling instantly so damn working class, listening to hard luck tracks (yet always with a fire that is not truly extinguished) – and while Elton John’s music sometimes sounded that way for me, I would say that Billy Joel, from the songs I know, seemed much more like the Springsteen music that I already like. I suppose it’s an American blue collar spirit that I find charming to hear and to sort of recreate that experience – and so looking for some music like that, I had hoped that Billy Joel would provide more of it. The Essential Billy Joel seemed a perfect compilation to hear new music of this specific sub genre – and who knows how much of this style would be represented, or how many new styles and facets of Billy Joel would be discovered. I had a feeling that it would be of the lounge sort of vibe – perhaps Tom Waits without all the smoker’s voice. Don’t know why, but I’ve always dug the idea of a piano bar – and the melancholic piano player, and the barfly audience, and the general sad idea that the player should be a star, but ‘here he was’, loyally playing for the patrons who were loyal enough to show up every night.