Throwback Song of the Week: Piano Man by Billy Joel

By Preman Koshar || Arts & Entertainment Editor

This week’s throwback is Piano Man by Billy Joel. Billy Joel has been an icon of classic rock since the 1960s, when it wasn’t even classic–it was just rock. Piano Man is one of his best-known and most iconic songs. Almost everyone these days knows it or has at least heard it before. It is a powerful piece of American culture. The song was released on November 2, 1973, and is over four minutes long.

Piano Man peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April 1974. Supposedly, the song is loosely based off of Joel’s experiences while “hiding out” in Los Angeles to avoid his producers and record label while he was changing contracts.All of the people in his song are based on real individuals he met at the bar where he sang while hiding out. In fact, the waitress who is “practicing politics” was Elizabeth Weber, who became Billy Joel’s first wife.

All in all, Piano Man is an American classic that will not be forgotten. It shows the true skill of a great artist and speaks to a profound feeling of loss that many have found haunting and beautiful.

Preman Koshar is the Arts & Entertainment Editor. His email is pkoshar@fandm.edu.

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