365 Day Song Challenge: Day 115 – “Prelude/Angry Young Man”

Day 115: A song you like that relies heavily on piano.

“Prelude/Angry Young Man” – Billy Joel

Angry Young ManBilly Joel may be too obvious a selection for this, being the “Piano Man” and all. (But why should he get sole claim to the title just because he wrote a song with that name? Shouldn’t Elton John or Bruce Hornsby or even Liberace have a shot at it as well? These are questions that should be addressed.)

“Angry Young Man,” a song that originally appeared on 1975’s Turnstiles, typically starts Billy Joel’s live shows. I have seen him twice live and I know he played it the first time. I don’t specifically remember him playing it for the second show, but I’m going to assume he did. The energy of the song makes it a great way to start a show with a bang. Instant energy. Continue Reading

365 Day Song Challenge: Day 3 – “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me”

Day 3: A song you listened to as a kid, that you thought made you cool. Real Cool.

“It’s Still  Rock & Roll To Me” — Billy Joel*

Most people I talk to of my generation have “roller skating songs.” That is, songs that they relate to going around and around at the roller rink ad nauseum while a “DJ” played the latest tunes. And of course “The Limbo.” When typed out like that, the concept just sounds silly, so I suspect there’s some sort of Manchurian Candidate-style hypnosis going on from the constant circles that firmly ingrains these songs into your head and makes you think “Roller Skating! All right!” Some sort of covert roller skating rink manager plot to make you want to come back or something. I dunno.

As you may have guessed “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me” is one of my roller skating songs. I can’t hear it without thinking of “Magic River”, the local rink, where I heard it too many times to count. At the time, (and at that age, which for me is 8 to about 11) roller skating was cool. Hanging out at the rink was cool. And I seemed to spend a lot of time there, even though it probably wasn’t as much as I remember. Video games (in their very early stages), bad snack bar food, and friends. What more could you ask for, right?

I was really just starting to pay attention to music that didn’t come from my parents when this song was released. My brother, who is a pretty big music junkie himself, had what seemed to be every album ever released. Billy Joel’s Glass Houses was among them. So like a good little hypnosis subject, I promptly had him put the first side (which culminated with today’s subject song) on a cheap cassette. I can’t tell you how many times I played that tape on my cheap tape player. Ah! The good old days. (I seem to be regressing, because this is both pre-Power Wagon and pre-boom box)

I was never cooler, really. The teen years come along and social strata change. What (and who) are cool at age 10 aren’t necessarily cool when you’re 12 or 14 or in high school. Luckily, things change again when you become an adult and the cool factor isn’t just about the clothes you wear or the car you drive. Well, not as much anyway, depending on the circles you run in.

Years later, I would remember that early tape and think “I really should have had my brother tape both sides.” And  then one day I bought Glass Houses and discovered that (with the exception of “All For Leyna”) um… no, I did the right thing. I mean, c’mon Billy, “C’Etait Toi”? WTF?

But, y’know, it’s funny, to this day I start to listen to the album, get to “It’s Still Rock & Roll To Me” and the next thing I know, it’s three hours later and I’m wearing roller skates…

“Every limbo boy and girl, all around the limbo world…”

* This is one instance where the song I’m writing about is not the song that I chose the first time around. That was “Run, Runaway” by Slade, which, while a good song, was more of a grasp for something than this one.