Friday, May 09, 2008

Game Thirty Eight-I'm Tore Down

May 9, 2008

It’s Billy Joel’s birthday today.

A lot of people see him as a schlockmeister-pumping out radio friendly formula pop for the masses. Which he was, at times, to be sure-“An Innocent Man” was an album you could scarcely get away from for a couple of summers, with hit after video laden hit. And I have to admit, as big of a fan as I am, there are a handful of songs, (“She’s Always A Woman”, “Just The Way You Are”, “We Didn’t Start The Fire”), I could go the rest of my life without hearing again.

I have loved Billy Joel’s music since a friend in high school introduced him to me during my sophomore year. I had heard of him, of course-if you were sentient during the 1980s and near a radio or television, you recognized Billy Joel-but something about his harder edged, more emotional stuff touched a chord in my metalhead heart.

Since then, I quickly swallowed and committed to memory everything he had ever recorded-B sides, live tracks, everything. With the advent of the Internet and box sets, this process has become much easier, but my friend and I went to Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, back in the day, to find one missing single that he had found in a discography in a cheap photo biography he had bought. It was deeply amusing to me that, subsequent to his tireless efforts to collect all of Billy’s recordings, they were all published in a box set a few winters ago, which I, of course, bought.

If I had to take the recordings of one person or group with me into lifetime solitary confinement, it would without question be Billy Joel. He has turned a bit cranky in his dotage (he’s 59, according to NPR), but he has brought me more joy than nearly any artist I can think of. I raise a rhetorical glass in his honor today. (I don’t drink.)

In the sixth, Boston leads Minnesota, 6-5. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be recapping this one tomorrow, as I am fading fast.


  1. I love Billy Joel......I HATE that he is married to a 13 year old. It wigs me out....he is like 60. That is sooo pedophilicious and sooo mid-life crisis.....get over it already.

  2. Well, I don't understand my own marriage, so I try very hard not to criticize anyone else's.

    And if I were a fairly wealthy rock star, and 20 year old art students were willing to pretend they were attracted to me, I'm not sure I wouldn't let them.

    We're men-we're simple like that.

    And, not that you ever hear about it in reverse, but I'd sure return Candace Bergen's, or Tina Turner's, or Jamie Lee Curtis', phone calls.

    If I weren't already married to the most beautiful woman in the world, that is.

    (Hey, she reads blogs too, you know.)

  3. Loved the comments! I have always loved Billy JOel, in the background. He is an interesting mix, in that I think no one ever took him so seriously, but yet his songs are unforgettable. I do love She's Always a Woman, do not like We didn't start the Fire, but tend to not like music trying to make a statement. If it just happens to, well that is great, but when they set out for it, I'm bored. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    I do think that enough women have jumped on the date younger men bandwagon, that I am almost okay with the trend.


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