The Philosophy of Billy Joel

Music has always played a big part in my life. If you were to view my musical collection you would probably be thinking “Now this boy is confused!”. I prefer to think of my musical tastes as eclectic. I listen to almost all genres provided they’re not too extreme. I can’t really pin down what it is about certain artists that tweak my ear. Too diverse. I like complex lyrics, but I think the simplicity of some songs (Joe Cocker’s “You are so beautiful”) are timeless in themselves. I just like what I like is all.

I’ve listened to two artists consistently since my early teens and like just about 99% of what they’ve put out. Billy Joel and Ruben Blades. I consider both the best singer/songwriters of all time. I’ll admit people look at me strangely when I issue that statement, but I attribute it to their inability to see the diverse genius of their melodies and the innate philosophy of their lyrics. Ironically, although I’ve met Ruben Blades, I’ve seen neither in concert.

Where Billy Joel is concerned, I’ve owned everything he’s ever made. I’ve replaced each with every advance in technology, from vinyl to 8 track (stifle the old jokes please), cassette and now cd. I’m not one of those fixated fans. I don’t know what his political philosophy is (nor do I care), I dont know what his favorite color is, his birthday, what he drives etc. I know the name of only one of his wives (can ya blame me? Christine Brinkley? Hello?). I just like his music.

Listed below are some snippets from some of Billy Joel’s songs with my interpretation. Admittedly yours may be different. In the interest of brevity and since often things are lost in translation, I’ll save Ruben Blades for another blog. I have to translate his anyways as he recorded primarily in Spanish. He’s somewhat of an elitist latin snob.

“Some people stay far away from the door if there’s a chance of it opening up. They hear a voice in the hall outside and hope that it just passes by.” – An Innocent Man

Speaks to the timidity of the human soul, of those fearful of taking a chance. There’s no criticism or judgment. It is a simple observation. Another choice lyric to this song is:

“But I’ve been there and if I can survive, I will keep you alive. I’m not above going through it again. I’m not above being cool for a while, if you’re cruel to me I’ll understand.”

It’ll be okay. Lean on me. I’ll be patient and strong for both of us.

“You may be right! I may be crazy, but it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for”-You May be Right

Bring out your inner lunatic every once in a while. He/she needs to breathe.

“I thought I was the Duke of Earl when I made it with a redhead girl in a Chevrolet” -Keeping the Faith

The wisdom of age reflects the insignificance of what we thought all important when we were younger. This applies to all ages.

“Once I used to believe I was such a great romancer, then I came home to a woman that I could not recognize. When I pressed her for a reason, she refused to give an answer. It was then I felt the stranger kick me right between the eyes.”- The Stranger

Karma’s a bitch.

“Oh your mother told you all that I could give you was a reputation. She never cared for me, but did she ever say a prayer for me?”- Only the Good Die Young

Self righteous people are often hypocritical and judgmental.

“Brenda and Eddie had had it already by the summer of 75. At the height of the note at the end of the show for the rest of their lives.” – Dinner at an Italian Restaurant.

Pace yourself. Don’t peak too early.

She never gives up and she never gives in. She just changes her mind.”-She’s Only a Woman

Rule number 4 of the things I know about 99.9% of women.

“I’m sure you have some cosmic rational. But here you are with your faith and your Peter Pan advice. You have no scars on your face and you cannot handle pressure.”- Pressure

Ellitist smug liberal a-holes have no idea what they’re talking about. They just think they do.

I don’t have enough room here to list the rest of the subtle genius of Mr. Joel’s music. There are many other “philosopher songwriters I like as well. Harry Chapin, Alejandro Sanz, Jimmy Buffett, etc. I like them too, but I don’t think either of them speak for most of us.

For those compelled to disagree with me, Billy Joel has the appropriate response:

“I don’t care what you say anymore this is my life. Go ahead with your own life leave me alone!”-My life.

Don’t think I have to interpret that one.