Song of the Day #4,148: ‘Roberta’ – Billy Joel

My next candidate for an episode of the upcoming Billy Joel anthology series is ‘Roberta,’ a track from Joel’s 1974 album Streetlife Serenade.

I like this one because it’s one of Joel’s lesser-known songs but still a great one. I suspect that many casual Billy Joel fans have never dived too deeply into his earlier catalog and a series like this should give them that opportunity.

‘Roberta’ is about an unrequited love for a prostitute, and a TV version would be a nice opportunity to create that character with depth and compassion. The HBO series The Deuce showed how effectively that can be done, so maybe they could get David Simon to write this episode.

Roberta, you say you know me
But I see only what you’re paid to show me
Oh, I wish you had the time
Oh, I wish you had the time

Oh, Roberta, I understand you
I know you need to move in other circles too;
It’s tough for me, it’s tough for you

Roberta, how I’ve adored you
I’d ask you over but I can’t afford you
Oh, I wish you’d take the time
Oh, I wish you’d take the time

Oh, Roberta, the night goes slowly
I know you’re workin’ but you must get lonely too;
It’s tough for me, ah, it’s tough for you

And I’m in a bad way and wanna make love to you

Oh, I wish you had the time
Oh, I wish you had the time
Oh, Roberta, I really need you
But I suppose that my small change won’t see you through;
It’s tough for me, ah, it’s tough for you

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,148: ‘Roberta’ – Billy Joel

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Agreed. This would be a good choice for the anthology.

  2. Amy says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever paid the slightest bit of attention to that first obvious line of the song. Oops… yeah, this would be a very compelling story.

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