Billy Joel

I never understood the sheer vitriol he inspired. He’s a good (and sometimes even great) songwriter and performer. Great live shows, if you’ve ever been able to see him.

Maybe it’s a class thing, because he was certainly beloved by a certain type of working class kid. Whatever – I was never one to write people off because of what critics think; I know enough about music to make my own choices.

And this is still one of my favorite songs:

4 thoughts on “Billy Joel

  1. that’s probably the only billy joel song i like, and it is great. i actually bought a 45 of that.

  2. I think he gets dissed because much of his work is easy-listening friendly. Great tunes are hard to write, and he’s written a bunch of ’em. So sue him if they go down easy.

    He really is great live. I saw him on a bill with Elton John, and even though EJ is by far my preferred recording artist of the two, BJ owned the show.

    Speaking of classism, the populist “Allentown” is one of my faves.

  3. I love his ’70s stuff. Then there’s the ’80s stuff, which started out fine and then devolved to “We Didn’t Start The Fire”-type crap. Which was everywhere when it came out.

  4. I think he committed the one unpardonable sin: he got old and let it show. His 70’s era material was edgy and innovative and thought-provoking — have you ever tried to sing “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” at karoake? — but by the mid-80’s, he slowed down the tempo and dumbed down the lyrics and melodies. Even “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was just a long laundry list with a boring repetitive hook. Oh, and then he went through this weird phase where he was actively trying to be retro by imitating Frankie Valley (“Uptown Girl” and “For the Longest Time”) which made him seem even older and less relevant. YMMV.

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