I’ve always considered this jazzy rock classic one of the quintessential New York City albums, from its cover photo of Joel leaning against a wall on 52nd Street and Seventh Avenue to city settings like Zanzibar and the Herald Square of ‘Rosalinda’s Eyes.’
I’d likely give that title to The Stranger or 52nd Street, but this one would round out the top three.
The album, running just nine songs long, featured Joel’s most ambitious studio work. It’s his Beatles album.
A few weeks back, we had a family movie night and watched 13 Going On 30, an under seen and underrated 2004 film. It’s a “young kid in a grown-up body” movie starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, and in my opinion the best of its genre, topping even Tom Hanks’ Big.
But when I listen to it again, it feels like the only song in the world I’ll ever need.
It’s so beautifully written and performed, so expertly produced by Phil Ramone, and its message is so simple and profound. It’s truly perfect.
The man is an unapologetic fan of so many musicians, not to mention a damn fine musician himself, and he never passes up an opportunity to turn a standard guest spot into a YouTube moment.
Now I know what a great song this is, and how great Billy Joel is, and I suspect most of my regular readers share that opinion… but the man does not get much respect in the “cool” circles. So I’m heartened to see Antonoff unabashedly express his appreciation for a great songwriter.
‘Piano Man’ has the honor of being the song I most misunderstood as a kid.
The year was somewhere between 1981-1986, making me somewhere between 9 and 14. I hope I was closer to 9.