Not Unlike Everything Else I’ve Mentioned

Billy Joel, Piano Man, album coverI’m realizing as I go on and try to put songs to the prompts from this list that it’s likely I’m well outside the typical “target market” for this extended meme.

Not just because of my “advanced” age (in Internet Years), but because of where I grew up and the access (or lack thereof) I had to music. And, of course, my general lack of ambition in hunting down and consuming newer tunes.

What that all means is that more than half the time here it just feels like I’m grabbing something randomly or because I can spin a good story about it (or its place in my life).

This would be another one of those cases.

A song that’s a classic favorite

So “classic favorite” as opposed to “from the 70s” or anything else? Okay. Fine.

I’m going to be a bit wide on the definition of “classic” here. In this case, I’m going to choose to go with the idea of an older tune that everyone seems to know. One that everyone goes and sings along with when it come over the speakers. (And, yes, it’s from the early 70s… but at least it’s more “classic” than I am, in the “years passed” sense.)

Billy Joel’s Piano Man got a lot of radio play well into the 80s on my home town radio station. There’s just something inherently inoffensive about it, I guess. (That kind of describes half of Billy Joel’s catalog, though, doesn’t it? “Inoffensive” and “pseudo-edgy” are pretty much his two speeds… granted, if your from as vanilla a background as I am, you can drop the “pseudo”… at least until you know better.)

This really is a classic bar song. Not just because it’s set in a bar, but because the picture is paints is one that can be found in so many bars (whether or not they have pianos in them).

Especially in small towns that seem to be a decade behind the rest of the world.

Where, from the time you’re a teenager, you know pretty well whether you’re going to be there the rest of your life or if you’re going to try to make a break for it.

Where, even if you do know you’re going to be there the rest of your life, you’ll still tell a good story every now and then about how you’re going to get out and make it big somewhere else.

Where some of the people who have been there for life did actually try to make it out, unsuccessfully.

Yeah. A lot of us can relate to some part of that song.

It sums up a lot of hopes and fears and puts them all to a tune that’s really easy to sing along with. Often while holding a beer. Shoulder to shoulder with friends.

There are plenty of reasons I dig this song in all its bittersweet glory.

Runners Up

  • Don McLean, American Pie – You want something more classic? Sure, here you go. Another one that gets everyone singing along. (Also another one that was in heavy rotation on the local radio station when I was growing up.)
  • Frank Sinatra, New York, New York – Another one that everyone knows and will sing along to when it comes on. (The trick, of course, is knowing which version is being played… Sinatra did it a little different every time…) Having grown up in New York state, just over an hour outside of New York City, this one has always been a kind of big deal for me.
About Kier

I've been on the web since about 1994. I have a background in a lot of things, including a five year stint as a journalist and over a decade of helping people get their message out to the world.

I write on a number of subjects--everything from relationships to personal development to politics and every day life. I hope you get something worthwhile out of it.

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