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Billy Joel on Howard Stern


Mike Warren

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It was a great interview, nice insight into BJ. I was never really a fan of his even though I respected his playing, the interview changed that a good bit.

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I agree, terrific interview, recommended for anyone with even just a passing interest in his music.

 

I think Keyboard magazine should record their interviews the way this was done, and besides the usual editing/transcription for the magazine, present the full audio online. Text interviews are fine, but it's not the same as hearing someone present the answer in full with all the subtleties in their phrasing to make their full meaning clear and to communicate some of the personality involved, not to mention the benefit of the insertion of actual playing to illustrate points.

 

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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You can also download an mp3 of the entire interview at this link.

 

http://tinyurl.com/Billy-Joel-Howard-Stern

 

Thanks Mike. This is interesting stuff, and Billy's ability to transpose on the fly, play what he's thinking, etc., should be an inspiration to all of us!

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I listened to every minute of this...thanks for bringing it to our attention.

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Mike, I don't know whether to thank you or curse you for this. I was never a big fan of his, maybe because I grew up on LI and heard too much of his stuff and too much about him, or who knows what.

 

But after hearing this interview, I not only respect his talent (I never denied that), but I appreciate it and want to hear more. Damn.

 

;)

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Mike, I don't know whether to thank you or curse you for this. I was never a big fan of his, maybe because I grew up on LI and heard too much of his stuff and too much about him, or who knows what.

 

But after hearing this interview, I not only respect his talent (I never denied that), but I appreciate it and want to hear more. Damn.

 

;)

 

One of the cliches about so many artists is that people say "oh, I liked his early stuff." I think Billy Joel is someone who moved the opposite way, and some of the later albums after his biggest hits are his best. I think "The Bridge" is probably my favorite. The one after that, "Storm Front" also has a lot of great stuff but is a little less consistent. And if you like the music of the late 50s and early 60s, his "tribute" to that era, "Innocent Man" is a lot of fun and very well done. Also, I think his singing got stronger in these later years as well.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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I was supremely impressed by his ability to transpose his own songs in real time without any difficulty at all.
I noticed that too, though he'd probably say otherwise. There was one song where he went, "I don't know it in that key" when he got to the solo. Still, he was way ahead of many of us in that ability.

 

I was also impressed with his ability to play just about anything that came up during the discussion.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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I liked his making up pieces that sounded like his lesson assignments - that sounds familiar to me. When you're a kid and have a decent ear, it's hard not to do that. I liked hearing the stories about his songs. A lot of them are broadway-musical kind of songs. I have always liked him, and really enjoyed the interview - I was surprised at how good an interviewer Stern is.
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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I grew up and live on LI, and when I was young Joel was the man, we all had his records, but then he became totally not cool in the 90's, his music bored me to tears and it was cool to not like Joel, and now I have a new appreciation for the guy, still don't like many of his songs but he certainly is one of the greats and listening to him with just a piano is stirring to say the least.
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Any man who once ran his Hammond thru a fuzz and wah wah is A-OK with me. We'll just pretend "Just the Way You Are" never happened!

 

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We'll just pretend "Just the Way You Are" never happened!

I always hated that song, except for the great sax work. But the funny thing is, when he played a bit of it in the interview, it really came off better than the original, I thought. So I'm thinking that some of what killed that song for me was the glossy production which seemed to sanitize it of any semblance of real emotion. (Also, as I mentioned, I think he's a better singer now than he was then.)

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Anyone who slept with both Christie Brinkley and Elle MacPherson and wrote "Summer Highland Falls" and "Vienna" deserves our eternal admiration! :thu:

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So many things about this interview I loved... I was a BJ fan from the 70's.. saw him before he made it big with The Stranger, and many tours after that. Even saw his recent tour with Elton John.

Great interview.

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Way OT here... but back in the 70's I was going to college in NJ. We hired Billy to perform and it was my job to rent him a piano. I picked a Yamaha and he liked it so much he bought it.

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Thanks for this, man. I'm always keen to get some kind of personal/musical insight into artists, and an interview like this does that really well. I've liked Billy - not unreservedly ;) - since I first heard him and, although not revolutionary, his music spans quite a range and he's carved a niche in popular music which is his own. A BJ song, his voice, singing, lyrical expression etc. is instantly recognisable.
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I totally dig on Billy Joel for the most part, but I gained even more respect for him when he basically admitted that "We Didn't Start the Fire" sucked. Any great songwriter will toss out a dud from time to time, and I love that he didn't feel the need to defend it artistically (as so many artists do), despite the fact that it was a hit.
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I've always liked his songs and admired his abilities, though wouldn't ever call myself a big fan.

 

Not long ago my wife (thinking I was a big fan for some reason) got me a 4 CD collection of his work as a gift. I took the time to listen through it all and came away with the same impression: this is good stuff, but other than a few gems, doesn't rock my world. Still, what I wouldn't give for his obvious talent!

 

I found it interesting to learn (elsewhere) that Piano Man was autobiographical. Evidently at one point early in his career, he was trapped in a bad contract and his agent told him to just go do non-musical work until it expired. He cheated by taking the piano lounge job, and the song comes directly from that experience, including the people in the song.

 

I like that he doesn't bad-mouth anyone, and didn't let Howard drag him into the gutter about Elle. Admittedly, Howard is usually a LOT more persistent -- I suspect he showed some respect due to Billy's stature.

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