I recently realized that Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” was a perfect song for me to cover. I originally thought long and hard about posting my cover for “Piano Man”. I believe my singing sounds great, but I don’t have the skills to “play” the piano. That really REALLY pains me. This is a song about a piano man, for Goodness sake! For that reason alone, I was ashamed about my lack of skill and didn’t want to post this. Learning to “play” the piano is a childhood dream that has escaped me, thus far. I did try learning. I started learning and did well for a short time. I just couldn’t sustain the amount of time required to pursue my passion for the piano. I’d start again. I’d stop again. It’s a painful pursuit for me; a personal failed dream, I suppose. Thus far, anyway … That’s why “Piano Man” is perfect! Unfortunately, I’m one of those guys in the song, wallowing in my beer. But, I still have time to dig deep and start anew. Until then, I live vicariously through my children. My 9-year-old son is an excellent teacher. I’m considering paying him to give me lessons! ;)
Lastly, “Piano Man” is not a very uplifting song for Father’s Day, but ‘hey’, all us dads should still kick up our collective feet, have a few beers, and forget … errr, I mean … ENJOY life for a while!
"Piano Man" was Billy Joel's first major hit and his signature song. "Piano Man" was released as a single in November 1973 and has been on several albums. The song peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April, 1974.
"Piano Man" is a fictionalized retelling of real people Joel met
during his days as a piano-lounge singer in Los Angeles at the Executive Lounge after the failure of his first album, Cold Spring Harbor. Joel's own personal feelings about this failure are expressed in the failed dreams of the characters in his song. At the time, Joel was trying to get out of a bad deal with the record company Family Productions, so, according to Joel, he was "hiding out" at the bar, performing under the name Bill Martin while Columbia Records tried to get him out of the deal. At the end of the song it tells of his success in his bar performances, but not quite making it to the big time.
The verses of the song are sung from the point of view of a bar
piano player who focuses mainly on everyone else at the bar: an old man, John the bartender, the waitress, businessmen, and bar regulars like "real estate novelist" Paul and US Navy sailor, Davey. Most of these characters have unfulfilled dreams, and the pianist's job, it seems, is to help them "forget about life for a while". The chorus, in bar-room sing-along style, comes from the bar patrons themselves, who plead, "Sing us a song / You're the piano man / Sing us a song, tonight / Well, we're all in the mood for a melody / And you've got us feeling all right."