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"Big question mark here / Cause I don't like this part... "
February 10, 2009 4:07 PM   Subscribe

Billy Joel performs "Only The Good Die Young" as it was meant to be heard: a reggae number.
posted by Joe Beese (53 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wish Billy Joel was better. Then he'd be dead by now.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:10 PM on February 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


The way it was meant to be heard is on mute, amirite
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:12 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a version of this on YouTube if you'd rather not go through the hassle.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 4:14 PM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Notice whenever an (ahem) artist of Billy Joel's stature is mentioned it's Mr Firtsname Lastname

Mr Rod Stewart
Mr Phil Collins
Mr Billy Joel

And when you get really shitful, you become Sir

Sir Elton John
Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Mick Jagger
posted by mattoxic at 4:19 PM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Either way, sinners are much more fun.
posted by gman at 4:20 PM on February 10, 2009


I'm pretty sure there's no "Billy Joel performing reggae" that was meant to be heard.
posted by pompomtom at 4:21 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I would be thinking if I were Billy Joel driving toward a holiday party where I knew there was going to be a piano.
posted by billysumday at 4:22 PM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Here's a much better post on that blog: AiiiiiiiYEAHHHHAHHwoooHOOOO
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:24 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


ten pounds of inedita: "There's a version of this on YouTube if you'd rather not go through the hassle."

Yes, by all means, you can sample it there first. But after you hear it, you'll want to download a copy for your portable digital music player. Not only does the FPP link have that and lots of other demos from The Stranger and 52nd Street, they're in FLAC.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:30 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure there's no "Billy Joel performing reggae" that was meant to be heard.

Billy Joel as '70's stoner metal (no,I'm not kidding) on the other hand...kinda groovy if you dig that stuff.
posted by jonmc at 4:31 PM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Say, isn't that guy supposed to be the Worst Pop Singer Ever? With a decades-spanning career producing a "loathsomely insipid simulacrum of rock"? "Anodyne, sappy, superficial, derivative, fraudulently rebellious"? Who "ripped off {his} betters to produce music that rarely reaches the level even of mediocrity"? How can people display such animosity toward the singer-songwriter who gave us the theme song to the Tom Hanks-in-drag sitcom "Bosom Buddies"?
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:41 PM on February 10, 2009


Sigh.. If only Billy Joel had had a little gatekeeper in his head telling him "No." Then he could be Joe Jackson.
posted by applemeat at 4:41 PM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Billy Joel's reggae isn't bad, but the number one name in reggae is, and will always be, Bryan Adams.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:41 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


(But I still say "Glass Houses" is Foreigner's best album.)
posted by applemeat at 4:42 PM on February 10, 2009


Billy Joel actually wrote some great songs in the 70s. He's kind of a easy target for people who like to take cheap shots rather than actually pay attention to music (ie, Slate "journalists.')

Also, terrible post.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:44 PM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I thought for sure this was going to be another damned Songsmith post.
posted by desjardins at 4:46 PM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Don't hate on Billy Joel.

Because there's nothing wrong with you that I can't fix with my fists.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:59 PM on February 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


attila on youtube

I actually kinda like it.
posted by onya at 5:15 PM on February 10, 2009


I thought for sure this was going to be another damned Songsmith post.

It could really be Songsmith... which makes you wonder how many of the "classic" songs we love simply because we're used to them.

Someone should raise their children mixing in Songsmith songs to replace some of the originals. See if they notice. Times like this make me wish I had a child to experiment on.
posted by smackfu at 5:21 PM on February 10, 2009


He's kind of a easy target for people who like to take cheap shots rather than actually pay attention to music (ie, Slate "journalists.')

Perhaps I could pay more attention to the music if the lyrics weren't so distractingly, dependably bad. "Piano Man" is one rhyme away from being composed in limericks, for the love of Pete Seeger.

(Also, why does Ron Rosenbaum get scare quotes around his profession? Sure, he's written for Esquire, Harper's, the NYT Magazine, Vanity Fair, and the Village Voice, but his main qualification for me is that he really, really, really hates Billy Joel's songs.)
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:27 PM on February 10, 2009


Billy Joel actually wrote some great songs in the 70s. He's kind of a easy target for people who like to take cheap shots rather than actually pay attention to music (ie, Slate "journalists.')

Also, terrible post.


Hey, we didn't start the fire, OK.
posted by mattoxic at 5:28 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


We Didn’t Start the Fire: The winter 2006 tour journal of the Piano Men, North America’s only five-member Billy Joel tribute band (as written by Todd Levin, Cold Spring Harbor-era Billy Joel).
posted by Iridic at 5:53 PM on February 10, 2009


Say, isn't that guy supposed to be the Worst Pop Singer Ever?

All right, I feel the need to disagree with the central concept of the Slate author's thesis. He discounts Joel's work on the basis of lyrical content. Specifically, he is critical of Joel's overuse of the theme of contempt.

He also states that he is comfortable with this theme when another lyricist (specifically Dylan) uses that theme.

This is, of course, ludicrous. Disliking a theme is legitimate, but using it as the basis for targeting a specific artist for employing it while praising another artist for using it is hypocritical.

One of the major challenges of criticizing art is that there aren't any objective ways of measuring the success of a work of art. I take that back - measuring success on "amount of cash raised" or "number of gold and platinum records received" (a variation on "amount of cash raised") is a fairly objective standard. By that standard, of course, Joel is a supremely successful and effective artist. Indeed, if measured by the objective standard of how often his songs have consistently been played on the radio since their release to this day, Joel is still a supremely successful and effective artist.

Of course, if you measure by sales and airplay standards only, you find yourself in the unfortunate position of saying that Billy Joel was, in fact, better than (for example) The Clash, which just doesn't sit right with me at all. Especially because their experiments in reggae blow Billy Joel's out of the water.

Basically, art criticism is what the "IMO" tag was created for.
posted by Joey Michaels at 6:03 PM on February 10, 2009


BLOOD SAUSAGE
posted by Beautiful Screaming Lady at 6:11 PM on February 10, 2009


This guy wears sneakers - with a suit! He's totally punk rock!
posted by porn in the woods at 6:21 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


The way Billy Joel is meant to be heard is with my ears torn off and knitting needles shoved into the bloody holes where the ears once had been.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:36 PM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Because there's nothing wrong with you that I can't fix with my fists.

A Billy Joel fan threatening violence is like a Jeff Buckley fan threatening not to cry.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:39 PM on February 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


I like 70's Billy Joel. I like the great session guys and the production. I like the melodies and the arrangements. I like how he hadn't met Christie Brinkley yet and still had a touch of naivety. Is that wrong? Do I lose my license to snark?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:46 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's like a Weird Al fan threatening not to play AD&D.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:49 PM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Joel tells the story here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK_yPvB1vws&feature=related
posted by Ironmouth at 7:04 PM on February 10, 2009


This is nothing. You should hear "I and I love you just the way you are."
posted by No-sword at 7:10 PM on February 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


I've always maintained that I have impeccable musical taste and with that I have to say The Stranger era Billy Joel speaks to my New York heart, so then here we are, at an impasse, life is complicated.
posted by Divine_Wino at 7:23 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


When will you realize Vienna waits for you?
posted by squalor at 7:48 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Angry Young Man", "Laura", "Summer, Highland Falls" and "Miami 2017" are great songs.
posted by emelenjr at 7:50 PM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


A Billy Joel fan threatening violence is like a Jeff Buckley fan threatening not to cry.

It's Nylon Curtains for you, buddy. I'll take you down to 52nd Street, under The Bridge, and dump your body into the River of Dreams.

Too much on that last one?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:53 PM on February 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's like a Weird Al fan threatening not to play AD&D.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:49 PM on February 10 [1 favorite +] [!]

*rolls dice*

*stares*

You win this time. *takes dice, cheetos, leaves*
posted by gc at 8:18 PM on February 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


All this bullshit hatred of Billy Joel simply reminds me some of you are merely still bitter about Barry Jive and the Uptown Five not getting more airplay, who we know, in our heart of hearts is a musical fucking genius.
posted by grubi at 8:19 PM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


How the tide has turned!
posted by Edgewise at 8:40 PM on February 10, 2009


(Slate "journalists.')

(Also, why does Ron Rosenbaum get scare quotes around his profession?)

And why does he get the small text treatment? Ron Rosenbaum is an actual working journalist and published author, notably Explaining Hitler.
posted by mlis at 8:46 PM on February 10, 2009


Okay, okay, fine, go ahead and be all cool and snark on Billy Joel if you want; I don't care, I like his stuff. So there.

So that said, can someone explain to me HOW I would download the stuff on that link? I don't see any links to actual music on the linked page -- at least, I don't see links that work. What do I need to do?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:50 PM on February 10, 2009


Empress, the snarkers won't be posting in reply just yet -- their shift at Championship Vinyl isn't over for hours.
posted by grubi at 8:59 PM on February 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos: "HOW I would download the stuff on that link? "

Check your MeFi mail in the next few minutes.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:02 PM on February 10, 2009


I love this thread just the way it is.
posted by jonmc at 9:37 PM on February 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, Joe Beese, can you let me in on the secret, too?
posted by grubi at 9:50 PM on February 10, 2009


Hate him all you want, Billy Joel is still richer than you.
posted by bwg at 11:05 PM on February 10, 2009


Honesty is such a lonely word, everyone is so untrue

sigh

I do so like the man, sue me.

I was but barely 14 when I heard "Its just a fantasy" - my crush brought a big boombox to school on the last day of class and played it over and over again

heh
posted by infini at 11:31 PM on February 10, 2009


Hate him all you want, Billy Joel is still richer than you.

Talk about setting a low bar...
posted by pompomtom at 11:43 PM on February 10, 2009


He's talented, he's written some terrific songs, and a lot of people enjoy those songs. But it's ultimately so much more Pitchfork to hate than to love.

If the same guy wrote the same songs but fewer people bought the albums, many of these same haters would be talking about "this unknown genius".

The lyrics? That's what we're griping about? Good thing we're not examing the lyrics of the beloved indie rock giants.
posted by grubi at 4:33 AM on February 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel the need to stand up and defend my love of Billy Joel's music, but the last time I did something like that, I was apparently channeling a serial killer without realizing it.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:01 AM on February 11, 2009


Servo, you make some interesting points in that comment, but I'd say the only real answer to the question in that AskMe post is the Beach Boys. If you add influence, impact, and quality to the equation that equals "greatness", then the Beach Boys are easily the "greatest" American band of all time.

(BTW, I'm not much of a Beach Boys fan, but their talent was hard to deny.)
posted by grubi at 7:06 AM on February 11, 2009


From Rosenbaum's Hitler article:

"...other scholars have tried to come up with a single Jew as the true source of Hitler's metamorphosis from a run-of-the-mill malcontent into an anti-Semitic monster."

Clearly, that Jew was Billy Joel.
posted by ericbop at 7:13 AM on February 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


The lyrics? That's what we're griping about? Good thing we're not examing the lyrics of the beloved indie rock giants.

Billy Joel's meretricious 1971 debut appeared the same year as Randy Newman's first and only live album, and their respective outputs over the decade practically demarcate the best and the worst of the 70s. Newman can't match Joel's melodic facility - a musicologist friend called Joel the best natural talent since McCartney in that respect - but as a lyricist, Newman leaves him in the dust like so much Tin Pan Alley roadkill. I'll take "Marie" over "She's Always a Woman" every time.


Hate him all you want, Billy Joel is still richer than you.

I seem to recognize that argument from Mr. Show with Bob and David...
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:13 PM on February 11, 2009


Yes, the only real reason a song is popular or well-done is The Lyrics.

*sigh*
posted by grubi at 4:41 AM on February 12, 2009


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