Once in a when you perform come throughout some instant classics such as “Piano Man” through Billy Joel. After ~ listening to the tune on repeat for around 2 hrs straight, we decided to take a gander at the beautiful story this tune tells. Gain ready because that a beautifully tragic ride.“Piano Man” is a track written and performed by the legend Billy Joel himself. He wrote the song for his 2nd studio album the the exact same name. The song was released as a solitary on November 2, 1973. Practically 50 years later, this track still stays a classic that endures time.

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“Piano Man” Accolades

In 1974, “Piano Man” peaked at #25 on Billboard warm 100, making the Joel’s many successful track at the time. The song got to #10 in Canada.In 2015, the Library of conference selected “Piano Man” for conservation in the national Recording Registry because that its “cultural, historic, or creative significance.”The song additionally made it right into Rolling stone magazine’s ‘The 500 best Songs of all Time‘ perform at #429.

The incentive behind “Piano Man” by Billy Joel

Billy Joel drew inspiration for “Piano Man” from his own experience of working as a piano-lounge singer at the executive Room bar in the Wilshire district of Los Angeles. He functioned there for 6 months under the alias of ‘Bill Martin’ in 1972-73, during somewhat of a hard patch in his life. Billy talked about the song and its success in an interview through Metro newspaper in 2006;
It was a gig ns did for around six months just to pay rent. Ns was life in LA and also trying to obtain out of a poor record contract I’d signed. Then I functioned under an presume name, the Piano Stylings of invoice Martin, and also just bulls–ted my way through it. I have actually no idea why the song became so popular. It’s choose a karaoke favorite. The melody is no very an excellent and an extremely repetitious, when the text are choose limericks. Ns was shocked and also embarrassed as soon as it came to be a hit. Yet my songs are like my kids and also I look at at that song and think: ‘My son did nice well."”

What is the track “Piano Man” about?

“Piano Man” is a song about a Saturday night in a lounge-bar setting where the live entertain is a singer /pianist. The tune is sung native the allude of the pianist that narrates several of the story of the regulars in ~ the bar. One common feature amongst everyone existing at the bar is that nobody actually desires to it is in there. And also yes, this is common for the piano man himself.Notable personalities in the tune are; one old man, john the bartender, the waitress, businessmen, and also bar regulars favor ‘real legacy novelist’ Paul, and US navy sailor, Davy.The chorus the the tune breaks POV. All of a sudden the entire bar complete of world explode right into a karaoke, questioning the piano guy to song them a song and keep lock entertained for the night.

Are the characters in “Piano Man” based on real people?

Yes. Billy Joel spoke about the personalities that he sings of in his above track with AccessOnline;“Yeah. Man was the bartender. Paul to be this genuine estate man who wanted to write the good American novel and Davey to be a male who was in the Navy. It’s a true story and also I knew as soon as I to be doing the gig, i said, ‘I gotta acquire a song out that this’ and it worked out.“Even the girl in the song, that claims ‘And the waitress is practicing politics, as the businessmen slowly obtain stoned’ – that was my first wife. She was functioning there too, together a waitress.”Songfacts reveal around the Navy man Davy;The lyrics, “And he is talkin’ with Davy who’s still in the Navy and also probably will certainly be for life” were motivated by David Heintz. His daughter Lisa called us: “He met Billy Joel in a pub in Spain in 1972 while he remained in the Navy. He married if he remained in the navy, had three children. That passed far in 2003 that ALS. That really damages when ns hear this song played ~ above the radio and also they leaving this component out.”

Watch “Piano Man” Music video clip by Billy Joel


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“Piano Man” Song an interpretation and text Review

After one iconic crucial intro through a piano and also a harmonica, Billy Joel gets to work.Verse 1It’s nine o’clock top top a SaturdayThe continual crowd shuffles inIn the first two present of the song, Billy Joel to adjust the setup for the entire song. It’s a Saturday night in ~ Billy’s piano bar whereby he play for six months in 1972. The continual crowd beginning trickling in and Billy knows few of their stories.Billy it s okay a request from an old man sitting right beside his piano (maybe the old man has actually hearing problems and doesn’t psychic the piano blasting “like a carnival”). The old man is sipping on part gin and also tonic and also asks Billy to play that a memory. The old man cannot recall the song’s name, however just remembers emotions that invoked in that “it’s sad and it’s sweet.” He simply wants to be taken ago to a various time–a younger time once he was full of life and also youth!The lyrics iconically song “tonic and also gin” instead the the colloquial use “gin and also tonic.” Billy Joel explained that even this was based on real experience; “the old man was drinking. The didn’t contact it gin and tonic. I’ll have a gin and also tonic.”RefrainThe above lullaby of “La, la-la, di-dee-da / La-la, di-dee-da, da-dum” is Billy Joel singing for the old man. Billy himself does not understand what to sing to the old man, for this reason he simply fills in. The old man would be satisfied of this.ChorusThe well known lyrics ensue;Sing united state a song, you the piano manSing united state a song tonightWell, we’re all in the mood because that a melodyAnd you’ve gained us feeling alrightIn the chorus the the song, the regulars in ~ the bar start chiming in. The group asks Billy to sing a track for them. They say they room in the mood for a melody ~ above this well Saturday night. They space in this joyous mood no necessarily due to the fact that they room happy, but rather they want to forget their actual lives at the very least for these couple of hours.Verse 2In the 2nd verse that “Piano Man,” Billy talks about John the bartender. Man is a girlfriend of Billy and pours his drinks for free. Since Billy knows man on a an individual level, he knows that john aches to obtain out that this bar.Billy sings how John is a bartender that exquisite skills–he is fast to make anyone laugh with a hoax and constantly handy with a lighter because that anyone who demands it. Because that anyone else, john the bartender can seem choose he is having actually the time that his life. But Billy to know better. The recalls the moment (or many times) John has said to him; “Bill, I believe this is death me.” As soon as he says this, his usual smiling temperance disappears. This is important tragic!John has a dream–a dream to it is in a movie star.In the music video for “Piano Man,” we watch each among these personalities in the lounge bar. We watch John looking at himself in the bar counter mirror. He can not have actually the typical ‘Hollywood’ cut and also shape, yet he absolutely has the attitude to comprise for it.Verse 3In the third verse the the song, Billy Joel bring in a few more characters.First, that talks about Paul the real estate novelist. Again, Paul is inspired by a real-life personality Billy knew in ~ the bar. Paul had to dedicate his life come his job as a real estate agent. But this is not what he want to do. He want to be a novelist; “Paul to be this real estate guy who want to write the great American novel.” Maybe Paul is working on his good American novel, yet Billy knows for sure that the novel is not finished. If it was finished, Paul would not be drink at a bar, talking to a random man who he met there.Paul is all by himself at the bar because that a reason. He devoted his life to his career and also he never had actually time for a wife. The is do the efforts to to fill the loneliness in his life through hanging at the bar every Saturday night.

Watch Elton John and Billy Joel do “Piano Man” Live


Paul is talk to Davy, a guy from the Navy. Billy Joel sings the Davy, too, had actually a similar story to that of Paul. Davy committed his life to the Navy and he can never uncover a life top top land. Billy sings the Davy will more than likely be in the navy for Davy’s entire life. This doesn’t sound as well enthusiastic, i m sorry tells united state that Davy loathes to have a life exterior of the Navy.Next, Billy Joel sings around the waitress in ~ the lounge. The waitress is a real-life person, too. In fact, Billy Joel married this waitress, one called Elizabeth Webber. Follow to NYPost, Billy to be married come Elizabeth Webber once they moved to Los Angeles in 1972 and also Billy started playing piano at the executive, management Room bar, while Elizabeth functioned as a waitress.Billy Joel sings about the waitress;And the waitress is practicing politicsAs the businessmen slowly gain stoned“Practicing politics” might be introduce to the waitress muttering sweet nothings in the ear of the wealthy businessmen gaining drunk together the night goes on. She might be looking to make some extra tips. An additional idea would certainly be the the waitress is in reality practicing legislation to obtain into national politics or pursue some other higher aspirations 보다 being stuck in a bar.The saddest component of “Piano Man” which straight addresses the template of the song complies with next;Yes, they’re sharing a drink they speak to lonelinessBut it’s better than drinkin’ aloneThe underlying theme of the tune is ‘loneliness.’ every person explained in the song has unfulfilled dreams. Neither character is explained to be at the bar v their partners. Anyone is just here to burn a few quick hrs of their reality.However, being at a bar, chatting up v some familiar faces, listening come Billy Joel sing and also play the piano, and also forgetting your drowned aspirations is much better than gift alone in ~ home.

Characters in “Piano Man” and what they actually want

An old guy – wants to be in his youthJohn the bartender – desires to be a movie starPaul the real-estate broker – wants to be a best-selling novelistDavy in the marine – wants to escape from being locked in the seaWaitress – desires to it is in in politicsThe Piano guy – desires to have actually a successful musical career

Watch Billy Joel perform “Piano Man” Live in ~ Yankee stadion in 1990


Verse 4In the fourth and the last verse of “Piano Man,” Billy Joel introduces us to one an ext character at the bar–the bar manager. In comparison to the totality of the track so far, the bar manager could be the just person here who actually wants to be here. Because that one; it’s his bar and most most likely his passion. Also; Billy Joel is performing (although Billy was relatively an unknown figure at the time as result of his debut album failing miserably) and the crowd simply loves it.The manager smiles in ~ Billy to present his appreciation. There is a nice decent group this Saturday night and also drunk businessmen, solitary and rich genuine estate brokers, and Navy men have actually money to throw on booze and smokes. Good business. The manager knows the ‘Bill Martin’ is a big factor the all these people keep putting in there is no fail.Billy Joel sings his love out and also plays the piano the same. The knows all these civilization are right here looking for some type of escape indigenous reality. And also music is the global language that appeals to anyone alike. So, Billy walk what he knows best. His piano blares favor a carnival. The group goes wild.And lock sit in ~ the bar and also put bread in mine jarThe group appreciates Billy, too. They pour in with tips into the jar Billy has actually in front of his piano. That is earning his bread.And finally, us hear the the Piano man himself does no belong in ~ this bar;And say, “Man, what are you doin’ here?”The crowd knows the this singer/pianist is too an excellent for a small lounge bar choose they sit in right now. And also they ask him ‘what are you law here?’ v that, us close the chapter on the piano guy himself. Billy Joel to be singing around everyone else’s aspirations and dreams therefore far. Finally, he voiced his audience come tell himself that you deserve better–that you deserve to do better!“Piano Man” is a tune of epic proportions. From text to the music come composition and to instrumentals. Above all, the song records a timeless idea the loneliness that surrounds united state all. We room what we make ourselves to be. Make sure to spend your time wisely.Let united state hear what friend think around this track in the comment below. Check out the complete lyrics ~ above Genius.

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Adam McDonaldHi! ns am the founder and also lead author and also editor of snucongo.org music community. A vast variety of personal interests from Hip-Hop to country to difficult Rock and Punk music will store you entertained.