Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yeah, I Know He Wrote THAT Song, But...



A close friend who I love and respect both as a human being and a music guru, once said "The only person I hate more than Billy Joel is Helen Reddy." It may have been the other way around, but that hardly matters.

Now before you make a hasty leap to another webpage, just cool your jets. I'm not going to make this "Billy Joel Appreciation Day." I will go on record though and say I like many of his records. But I mostly wanted to post this gem from "The Nylon Curtain."

Maybe you've never heard it before. And maybe you'll find what I found in it. I think it's damn good.




19 comments:

wardo said...

I've always loved this song. The Nylon Curtain as a whole is a terrific Beatles homage, and while the piano and lyrics aren't Beatlesque, everything else is. I still crack up at the "here I am, feeling..." part.

I will be reviewing his catalog on the blog eventually, and I expect a lot of flak for it. I will also be brutal about it.

Sal Nunziato said...

I agree re: Nylon Curtain. I look forward to your undertaking. You're a brave man. I've wanted to do a BJ Top 20 consisting of faves and not hits, but have always feared for my life.

Gyro1966 said...

I guess it's fun to debate the worth of Billy Joel, later Rod Stewart, or any other aging 60+ rock artist and if they matter. But do you listen to the great music from the 50's and 60's? And if you do, is there really any time left over to re-examine Billy Joel? Did you visit Half Hillbilly, Half Punk site and hear the debut album from The Allah-Las? Now that matters, that is worth talking about.

Sal Nunziato said...

Why is it always about time? Another frequent commenter always says, "Just no time to listen to..."

I had some time and I decided to listen to Nylon Curtain, along with the new ones from A.C. Newman, Jeff Lynne and Dwight Yoakam.

Also something from the 50s, since you mentioned it, Don & Dewey, which is today's Song Of The Day.

I've heard the Allah-Las. Fun, retro, garage-y, derivative. Not sure why that "matters."

FD13NYC said...

Great song, from probably my favorite album by him. A top 20 sounds very enticing. I could think of at least 10 non-hit faves right off the bat. Don't fear, BJ had some really good songs in his career. I could whip one up if you'd like, and we could compare notes.

Oh, and as for the new Jeff Lynne. I downloaded, listened, and wasn't that impressed. The Everly and Roy Orbison songs were Ok. But I think he was sort of doing a copycat version of the McCartney standards CD.

The new Dwight Yoakum and AC Newman offerings are pretty good though.

cmealha said...

Not sure of why there's so much negativity about Builly Joel lately. It just seems that I'm hearing a lot of put-downs of his music and a very dismissive attitude towards him in general. He was great. His lyrics were blue-collar and his music demonstrated that he was not someone to be taken lightly. I remember reading a story that Paul Simon once told once that his lyrics were too literal. Never understood that criticism. Does it all have to be metaphor and allegory to be good. I think not.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Sounds a lot like the Rutles. Predictably, I'm not a Billy Joel fan, but since I've never heard any of his records, my opinion doesn't carry much weight.

Peter Ames Carlin said...

Totally agree. Billy Joel's work bums me out in a variety of ways, but mostly because the stuff I don't like is nearly overwhelmed by the many things to love about it. The albums from his peak years (mid-70s to mid-80s in my estimation) were incredibly well-produced, and his sense of melody and structure are often fantastic. All of the albums from that era feature killer songs amid the more famous/grating tunes (my faves include "James," "Summer, Highland Falls," "She's Got a Way," and so on.

But the real artistic peak is, as you noted, "The Nylon Curtain,' which despite the overcooked Vietnam tune is solid as a rock. "Laura" and "She's Right on Time" are all but perfect exercises in sardonic/ambivalent love epics, while the other songs are entirely tuneful, surprisingly thoughtful and alive with angst. A break-up album, of course. And it's top drawer.

A walk in the woods said...

Sal, you will hear no complaints from me about invoking some Billy Joel-ness around here sometimes. C'mon, music is basically entertainment, right? It's not "War And Peace." (Well, the title song to Dylan's new album TEMPEST kind of is, but I digress.) So why not have some music in ones collection like Billy Joel that just entertains? I sho' do.

And this song is a great one. Billy was really my first musical lurv - have all his albums on vinyl. I don't listen to it much these days, which is why it's nice to be reminded of a forgotten gem like "Laura."

Here's another good one from the past: "Half A Mile Away." you know you love that song, people!

jeff k said...

I think what Paul Simon said was something to the effect that Billy thinks about things but just not enough. He may have even been referring to The Nylon Curtain in which it seemed like he came out in favor of both sides of the Vietnam War argument.

Still, he wrote "My Baby Grand." I can never get enough of that song. He and Ray are great on it.

Anonymous said...

god that's horrible.

Sal Nunziato said...

Hey Anon--

Why?

jeff k said...

different tastes.

Sal Nunziato said...

Well...yeah. I was just looking for a little more.

A guy called Tak said...

I stopped listening to Billy Joel after "Glass Houses". It was horrible, I played once and that's that.
So, I've never heard of "Laura" before - I thought it was Lennon singing his song I've never known! Well, that means I liked it.
"Turnstils" is my fave album of his.
OK, I will listen to "Nylon Curtains". Thank you, Sal.

A walk in the woods said...

To be even more specific, I'm pretty sure the phrase Paul Simon used about Billy Joel was, "He's lyrically naive." That phrase kind of struck me at the time (this was in the 80s) because at the time, I held the two in about equal esteem, so it was weird to see Paul dissin' Billy. It felt like two of my uncles arguing...

wardo said...

This still cracks me up, and I can't really explain why:

http://www.joblo.com/video/player.php?video=goodnightsaigon

Christine said...

What "cmealha" said.

Albert said...

What Christine said...seriously, anyone dismissing at the very least Joel's talent as a songwriter(let alone his performance)...is an idiot....or so pretentious he's JUST NOT LISTENING....