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Piano Man (Legacy Edition)

Billy Joel

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Reseña de álbum

Embittered by legal disputes with Family Productions and an endless tour to support a debut that was lying dead in the water, Billy Joel hunkered down in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles, spending six months as a lounge singer at a club. He didn't abandon his dreams of being a full-fledged recording star — he continued to write songs, including "Piano Man," a fictionalized account of his weeks as a lounge singer. Through a combination of touring and constant hustling, he landed a contract with Columbia (Family still claimed a portion of the royalties), and set out to record his second record in 1973. Since his debut was botched, Joel was determined not to make a mistake the second time around, if the ambition of Piano Man is any gauge of his intentions. Clearly inspired by Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection, not only musically but lyrically, as well as James Taylor, Joel expands the vision and sound of Cold Spring Harbor, abandoning introspective numbers (apart from "You're My Home," a love letter to his wife) for character sketches and epics. Even the title track, a breakthrough hit based on his weeks as a saloon singer, focuses on the colorful patrons, not the singer. If his narratives are occasionally awkward or incomplete, he compensates with music that gives the songs a sweeping sense of purpose — they feel complete, thanks to his indelible melodies and savvy stylistic re-purposing. He may have borrowed his basic blueprint from Tumbleweed Connection, particularly with its Western imagery and bluesy gospel flourishes, but he makes it his own, largely due to his melodic flair, which is in greater evidence than on Cold Spring Harbor. Piano Man is where he suggests his potential as a musical craftsman. He may have weaknesses as a lyricist — such mishaps as the "instant pleasuredome" line in "You're My Home" illustrate that he doesn't have an ear for words — but Piano Man makes it clear that his skills as a melodicist can dazzle.

The Legacy Edition of Piano Man is expanded to a double-disc set featuring a previously unreleased — but heavily bootlegged — live radio concert given to Philadelphia’s WMMR on April 15, 1972. Among Joel fanatics, this is a legendary concert, and not merely because it has been circulated in the underground for years. This is the show that brought Billy to the attention of Columbia Records, leading to an audition and contract with the label, and it’s easy to hear why this performance caught their ear. Transitioning away from the ballad-heavy Cold Spring Harbor, yet still relying on its best songs — “She’s Got a Way,” “Nocturne,” “Turn Around,” “Everybody Love You Now” — Joel’s pen has sharpened considerably on his new songs, material heavily influenced by Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection as noted above and destined to surface on Piano Man. “Travelin’ Prayer,” “The Ballad of Billy the Kid,” and “Captain Jack” have a melodic and narrative force unlike anything on Cold Spring Harbor and Joel gives them impassioned readings, making it clear he’s a songwriter and showman to be reckoned with. For fans, this energetic performance is enough — it’s his best officially released live recording — but the cherry on top is the inclusion of three songs Joel never recorded in the studio: the ballad “Long Long Time,” “Rosalinda” (a completely different song than “Rosalinda’s Eyes”), and the terrific rocker “Josephine.”

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Un recuerdo

La mejor canción de Billy Joel Ojalá hubiera música como la de antes

Biografía

Nacido(a): 09 de mayo de 1949 en Bronx, NY

Género: Rock

Años de actividad: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although Billy Joel never was a critic's favorite, the pianist emerged as one of the most popular singer/songwriters of the latter half of the '70s. Joel's music consistently demonstrates an affection for Beatlesque hooks and a flair for Tin Pan Alley and Broadway melodies. His fusion of two distinct eras made him a superstar...
Biografía completa
Piano Man (Legacy Edition), Billy Joel
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