Song of the Day #4,108: ‘Travelin’ Prayer’ – Billy Joel

Yesterday I covered the seventh studio album by Elton John, one of the great piano rockers of our time. Today I’ll focus on the sophomore album by another of them, Billy Joel.

Piano Man was inspired by John’s Tumbleweed Connection, in its use of Western themes and country-fueled character sketches (including a literal ‘Ballad of Billy the Kid’). The album’s classic title track offers up a bar full of memorable characters, enough to stock a decent NetFlix series.

Piano Man closes with ‘Captain Jack,’ an epic takedown of suburban teenage drug addicts that some listeners mistook for a celebration. It also features one of my favorite love songs, ‘You’re My Home.’

The album has gone 4X platinum, and kicked off a streak of platinum albums that ended with Joel’s last (and presumably final) studio album, 1993’s River of Dreams (not counting his 2001 classical release).

Hey Lord, take a look all around
And I’d a-find where my baby’s gonna be
Hey Lord, would ya look out for her tonight
Cause she is far across the sea
Hey Lord, would ya look out for her tonight
And make sure that she’s gonna be alright
And things are gonna be alright with me

Hey Lord, would ya look out for her tonight
And make sure that all her dreams are sweet
Said now, would ya guide her on the roads
And make them softer for her feet
Hey Lord, would ya look out for her tonight
And make sure that she’s gonna be alright
Until she’s home and here with me

Hey, Lord would ya look out for her tonight
If she is sleepin’ under the sky
Said now, make sure the ground she’s sleepin’ on
Is always warm and dry
Ummm, don’tcha give her too much rain
Try to keep her away from pain
Because my baby hates to cry

Hey Lord, would ya look out for her tonight
Cause it gets rough along the way
Said now, this song seems strange is just because
I don’t know how to pray
Ummm, won’tcha give her peace of mind
And if you ever find the time
Won’tcha tell her I miss her everyday

Hey Lord, take a look all around
And I’d a-find where my baby’s gonna be
Hey Lord, would ya look out for her tonight
Cause she is far across the sea
Hey Lord, would ya look out for her tonight
And make sure that she’s gonna be alright
Until she’s home and here with me
With me

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,108: ‘Travelin’ Prayer’ – Billy Joel

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I was unaware of Piano Man being influenced by Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection, and a quick bit of research reflects that Joel has never indicated this to be the case. The album’s liner notes cite a number of other influences, but not Elton John. Anyway, the comparison and likely influence, even if not conscious but by osmosis, is understandable.

    By the way, your reference to Joel’s characters making for a good Netflix series is timely. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/billy-joel-anthology-tv-series-works-1242935

  2. Peg says:

    Would definitely love to see a Netflix special on Billy Joel!!

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