Billy Joel released “Piano Man” 48 years ago today

48-years ago today Billy Joel released “Piano Man” (1973)

Here’s the original promo video for the song.


“Piano Man” was Joel’s first single in North America, it was included on Joel’s 1973 album of the same name and released as a single on November 2, 1973. The song is sung from Joel’s point-of-view as a piano player at a bar, reminiscing about his experiences there and the people he encountered. “Piano Man” is based on Joel’s real-life experiences as a lounge musician in Los Angeles from 1972 to 1973, which he had decided to pursue in an effort to escape his contracted New York City-based record company at the time, Family Productions, following the poor commercial performance of the album Cold Spring Harbor. Joel describes various characters, including a bartender named John and a “real-estate novelist” named Paul, all based on real-life individuals.

“Piano Man” was ranked #421 in the 2004 list of Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Ultimate Classic Rock placed it at #63 in its “Top 100 Classic Rock Songs” list.

“Piano Man” was selected as one of 25 sound recordings in 2015 to be preserved by the Library of Congress National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

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