The Piano Man

I consider Billy Joel to be one of the great singer/songwriters of all time. In fact, he was named one of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. With three #1 hits on Billboard’s Top 100, including his first, It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me in 1980, Tell Her About It (1983) and We Didn’t Start the Fire in 1989, Joel’s music is no stranger to the top of the charts. Additionally, he has a total of 13 top 10 hits on Billboard’s Top 100 to go along with five Grammy awards. On the Adult Contemporary Chart, Joel has scored eight #1 hits, and he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

Billy Joel’s rise to stardom is not without many painful, life lessons. From his early childhood when his father abandoned the family, to drug addictions, car wrecks, loss of fortune, and failed marriages, it has been said of him that even though he’s been down and out, he always gets back up. (For more, I’d recommend Bio’s documentary on Billy Joel).

In regards to his music, I was surprised to learn that my all-time favorite Billy Joel tune Piano Man only reached as high as #25 in 1974. Quite simply, I think it is one of the greatest songs ever, and it is certainly in my #10. Other songs that you may remember Uptown Girl #3 in 1983, Just the Way You Are #3 in 1978, You May Be Right #7 in 1980, Allentown #17 in 1983, An Innocent Man #10 in 1984, She’s Always a Woman to Me #17 in 1978, and Big Shot #14 in 1979, just to name a few.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about Billy Joel. What memories does his music stir? What are some of your favorite songs?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks!

“Piano Man

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Making love to his tonic and gin

He says, “Son can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet
And I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes.”

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright

Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be

He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me.”
As a smile ran away from his face
“Well, I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place.”

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talking with Davy, who’s still in the Navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes they’re sharing a drink they call “Loneliness”
But it’s better than drinking alone

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright

It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been coming to see
To forget about life for a while

And the piano it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, “Man, what are you doing here?”

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright

Time in a Bottle

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save everyday ’til eternity passes away
Just to spend it with you

And if I could make days last forever
And if words could make wishes come true
We’d walk through the fields of ripening corn
And time would flow through us and you
And I’d save everyday like a treasure and then
Again and again I’d spend them with you

And I’ve looked around enough to know
You’re the one I wanna go through time with (ooh-ooh)
Through time with (ooh-ooh)
Through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty except for the memory
Of how they were answered by you

So if only I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save everyday ’til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

And I’d save everyday like a treasure and then
Again and again I’d spend them with you (spend them with you)I’ve looked around enough to know
You’re the one I wanna go through time with (ooh-ooh)
Through time with (ooh-ooh)
Through time with

It is said that Jim Croce wrote this masterpiece around 1970 when his wife told him that she was pregnant, but it wasn’t released until 1972. After Croce was killed in a plane crash in 1973, the song eventually went to #1 in early 1974.

This song is the inspiration for the title of this site, Tunes in a Bottle. For me, there are those special tunes that somehow trap us in a particular time from our past. Whenever we hear those songs, we can be whisked back in time with a flood of memories, good or bad or happy or sad.