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Piano Man Lyrics – Billy Joel

 

Piano Man” is the first single released by Billy Joel. It was released on November 2, 1973. It a fictionalized retelling of Joel’s experience as a piano-lounge singer for six months in 1972 at the now defunct Executive Room bar in Los Angeles. Enjoy the lyrics to the “Piano Man” song.

Enjoy This Video of Piano Man Lyrics

The song lyrics are below the video

 

Piano Man Lyrics Sung by Billy Joel

It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Making love to his tonic and gin

He says, “Son can you play me a memory
I’m not really sure how it goes
But it’s sad and it’s sweet
And I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man’s clothes.”

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 alright

Now John at the bar is a friend of mine
He gets me my drinks for free
And he’s quick with a joke or to light up your smoke
But there’s someplace that he’d rather be

He says, “Bill, I believe this is killing me.”
As a smile ran away from his face
“Well, I’m sure that I could be a movie star
If I could get out of this place.”

Now Paul is a real estate novelist
Who never had time for a wife
And he’s talking with Davy, who’s still in the Navy
And probably will be for life

And the waitress is practicing politics
As the businessmen slowly get stoned
Yes they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness
But it’s better than drinking alone

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 alright

It’s a pretty good crowd for a Saturday
And the manager gives me a smile
‘Cause he knows that it’s me they’ve been coming to see
To forget about life for a while

 

And the piano it sounds like a carnival
And the microphone smells like a beer
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
And say, “Man what are you doing here?”

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 alright

Interesting Facts About Piano Man Lyrics and Billy Joel

“Piano Man” is a fictionalized retelling of Billy Joel’s experience as a piano-lounge singer for six months in 1972 at the now defunct Executive Room bar in Los Angeles. Joel has stated that all of the characters depicted in the song were based on real people. “John at the bar” was really the bartender who worked during Joel’s shift at the piano bar. “Paul is a real estate novelist” refers to a real estate agent named Paul who would sit at the bar each night working on what he believed would be the next great American novel. “The waitress is practicing politics” refers to Joel’s first wife Elizabeth Weber, whom he met at The Executive Room.

Billy Joel had moved from New York to L.A. to record his first album, Cold Spring Harbor which was marred by a mastering error by the album’s producers at Family Productions, the first label that signed Joel. After this bad experience, Joel wanted to leave his contract with Family Productions for Columbia Records, but the contract that he’d signed made this very difficult. So Joel stated that he was “hiding out” at the bar, performing under the name Bill Martin, while lawyers at Columbia Records tried to get him out of his first record deal.

Content

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, Davy. Most of these characters have broken or unfulfilled dreams, and the pianist’s job is to help them “forget about life for a while,” as the lyrics state. The chorus, in bar-room sing-along style, comes from the bar patrons themselves, who say, “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.”

The single broke into the Billboard Top 40 in April 1974, but the single fell considerably short of the top 10 in the US (Billboard #25). “Piano Man” fared better in Canada, where it peaked at #10, and established Joel as a star there. (From 1975-80, every one of Joel’s charting singles peaked higher in Canada than in the US, except for songs that reached #1 in both markets.)

Because “Piano Man” was at the time only a moderate hit in the US, the song was not played often on American radio during the next 3 or 4 years. However, after the 1977 release of Joel’s album The Stranger and Joel’s quick subsequent rise to super-stardom, the song would soon become one of his most well-known and loved songs. It has been, since ’77, a big “oldies” radio hit, and is considered Joel’s signature song, partially due to its title. Today it remains popular, and ranks as Joel’s #1 song on the iTunes Store as of February 2014. The song is so well known that during Joel’s concerts, he usually lets the audience sing the chorus. In concert, Joel often performs “Piano Man” as a finale.

During the first Face to Face tour featuring Elton John and Joel, ads promoted the event as “Rocket Man meets Piano Man”.

“Piano Man” was ranked #421 in the 2004 list of Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

This song was released as downloadable content for Rock Band 3, along with 11 of Joel’s other songs.

During the 2015 season, it was played during New York Mets home games in the middle of the 8th inning.

 

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