I seem to be noticing a pattern of late…not everyone likes Billy Joel. I am astonished at this. Having grown up with his music and loving him, I thought that everyone else loved him too. I remember when he came out with his last album, River of Dreams. I remember my dad coming home and putting the title song on and replaying it over and over again until I could not get the lyrics or the music out of my head. It was 1993 and I would have been eight or nine at the time; there was definitely a lot that I did not understand then about Billy Joel’s lyrics, but I still loved him. Listening to his songs now as an adult, I can see more why the adults of my childhood loved him so; he wrote about his life and his feelings in ways that were entertaining and yet still made you feel (and reminisce about your own past).
For years I had been dying to see one of his concerts; I always said that the cost of a ticket wouldn’t matter…I would gladly fork over some serious money to see him live. Watching the Billy Joel/Elton John duet concerts from the company of my living room (the two grand pianos back to back) with my family just didn’t quite do it for me. Then, in early 2008, I learned that he was going to play the last concert at Shea Stadium. Seeing as how I live less than ten minutes away, I thought that it was fate. Sadly, within minutes of the tickets being released to purchase, they were sold out. When they added a second concert date I got my hopes up again only to still not be able to make a purchase. Then, a few months later, I went onto stubhub, and although I paid double the price for my seats, I had my tickets! I had always heard that when you see Billy Joel in concert it is either terrible (because he is drunk) or it is amazing, because, well, he is amazing. And it was ☺…amazing that is. The only other person I have any desire to see in concert is Christina, but that’s another story.
I am starting to think that as much as I would love his music to be an epidemic, the fans that he is most beloved by reside in the quiet suburbs of New York, Long Island to be exact. I don’t know if it is because we feel he has roots with us, after all, he did grow up on Long Island and still resides there, or that we just understand him better because he is one of us, (and I am aware of my circumlocution, lol) and I know that us, Long Islanders are not his only fans, but it might be a good assumption to say that we make up a huge concentration.
Although, I do have many favorites, perhaps too many to count, “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” is definitely one of the great ones. Actually I know there are too many good ones to count. I was recently in the car with my father and a friend texted me that question and we were both at a loss, though we did end up dueting to “The River of Dreams.” Singing along to Billy Joel in the car with my father is almost as much fun as when we rock out to Queen, particularly “Fat Bottomed Girls,” where my father pounds the steering wheel in rhythm to the music. When I was in high school, as we were being shuffled to and fro, cassette tapes of Billy Joel would be the only thing playing in the car. Years later, my mother told me that that was because it was the only music we could all agree on, but I always think fondly back to those car rides.
Singers may come and go, but this Long Island girl will always be in love with Billy Joel.