IT'S BETTER THAN DRINKIN' ALONE: The Official ILM Track-by-Track BILLY JOEL Listening Thread

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Welcome one and all to what is sure to be one of the most popular threads in ILM history, as we take a song-a-day, track-by-track journey through the musical output of the Piano Man himself. A quick glance at Wiki confirms his significance: thirty-three self-penned Top 40 hits, twenty-three Grammy nominations (six wins), an estimated 150 million records sold worldwide, and a position just one slot shy of the Eagles as the sixth-best-selling artist of all time in the USA. If this staggering track record has not always translated into critical cred or hipster kisses, all the more reason to dig deep, listen close, and re-evaluate.

To get things started...

https://img.discogs.com/QNpKf3_ZWbH_YncKomidPiXwucI=/fit-in/600x607/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-1580441-1420639267-9442.jpeg.jpg https://img.discogs.com/sgvR7zxU8gGhZJivqUljTKBeoy8=/fit-in/473x445/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-1580441-1257610467.jpeg.jpg

It's July, 1971. Buffeted by the troubles of the times, rock listeners find themselves reaching for the heartfelt, melodic expressions of the singer-songwriter. Perhaps taking note of Carole King's position at the top of the charts, the tiny Family label sees no reason not to take a chance on a demo tape of earnestly-sung, piano-backed ballads by a twenty-two-year-old keyboardist from Long Island. Already the veteran of a few flopped-out rock combos, but stripped of his earlier West-Coast freakout and heavy-metal trappings, William Martin Joel enters the studio to record his solo debut, Cold Spring Harbor.. It hit the streets that November, and we begin our journey with the kickoff track and sole, non-charting single: She's Got A Way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUn-XOQoN3U

Note: This recording is from a 1980s remix correcting a legendary mastering goof on the original record: the entire album ran slightly too fast, producing an up-pitched "Chipmunk" effect on Joel's vocals. Chronological purists who want to experience the music as it was originally released should click here.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 02:27 (three years ago) link

Wow - I didn't know that She's Got A Way was first-track first-album! I loved this already ... but even more now know it pushed the boat out

it's just so clean & simple & pleasing.

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 02:37 (three years ago) link

omg @ chipmunk version LOOOOL that is hysterical

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 02:39 (three years ago) link

Well, to add to the embarrassing recording goofs, I've still got the wrong version up there! Sorry, Billy! The Youtube above is actually the Songs in the Attic live version from ten years later, which did chart. It's sort of hard to pin down these versions but give me a second here.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 02:57 (three years ago) link

that Songs in the Attic version is the one i already knew. interesting!

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 02:58 (three years ago) link

So, the full, pitch-corrected 1983 remix of the album is here; it's also on Spotify. Individual YouTubes are a mishmash, with both the live hit and the original Chipmunk version getting slapped up with the CSH album cover, and a bevy of do-it-yourself corrected versions. But basically this is what we should listen to:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXAKedxxVe4

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 03:03 (three years ago) link

It's very interesting to compare the "corrected original" to the "live hit" versions - the lingering psychedelic "let us be like children together in the garden" tweeness of the earlier recording gets ironed out of it, and he adds a pinch of harder vocal grit to the second pass through "she touches me, I get turned around." Essentially, he brings it much closer to his signature late-70s sound, though he retains the very, very stripped-down arrangement.

To be honest, I've never really strongly connected with this song - good melody, great opening line... without the Chipmunk thing, and with the right promotional backing, you imagine he could have gotten at least a regional hit out of this. But it's one of these "she's great, she's great, she's really great" kind of songs without conflict, narrative or rhythm section... makes it a bit too easy for it to just drift by. I do think I like it better in its original, rather less professional incarnation. Elsewhere, I love Joel's grand-entertainer, crowd-pleaser populism, but on these first couple albums I like also hearing this kid - affectations and fumbles and evident desire to be Paul McCartney and all.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 03:13 (three years ago) link

i enjoy the way he over-enunciates as a young man. like someone said to him it's important that we understand all the words

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 03:14 (three years ago) link

totally!

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 03:18 (three years ago) link

it's probably more proto-air supply than anything tbh

but even in that category it's head and shoulders above. like, compared with the overwrought verging on gross "baby ima want you" syrup that will be pouring into listeners ears in the coming years, it's great

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 03:20 (three years ago) link

Just based on this song, in a vacuum, I would've expected him to turn into more of a Manilow-type than he ever ended up being.

Ⓓⓡ. (Johnny Fever), Monday, 17 July 2017 04:12 (three years ago) link

the path of earnest songwriting is fraught with danger

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 04:46 (three years ago) link

it's funny I haven't heard joel and manilow compared much - sure their careersan attitudes and styles are quite different, but as showtunes holdouts and staples of the adult contemporary charts... idk

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 05:11 (three years ago) link

joel has way better songwriting (as this thread will hopefully bear out) - it's his abilities as a storyteller that navigated him out of those waters imo

manilow had good hooks but his lyrics are pretty bad, more like long commercial jingles

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 05:30 (three years ago) link

though i agree with dr c that there's not much to the lyric on "she's got a way," it's A-plus compared to most of what we're going to be listening to over the next week and a half, simply by virtue of billy not trying too hard. he's infatuated with a girl, he says so, he rhymes "about her" with "without her," he tosses in a bridge, he's done. he can do worse, much worse, and he will. and the melody sticks. a telling start to his career: he's a piano man with a gift for a hook and not a lot to say, not yet.

having not heard cold spring harbor in years, i miss the octave vocal leap that ends the song in the songs from the attic version. that was a nice touch.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 17 July 2017 06:12 (three years ago) link

This recording is from a 1980s remix correcting a legendary mastering goof on the original record

warning: they also re-recorded the backing tracks on a couple songs, without billy's involvement. the relationship between family productions' artie ripp, who signed him and owned these masters, deteriorated fast, and though billy quickly dumped him for columbia, ripp won a lot in the divorce: he owned a piece of billy's next ten (!) albums, and his logo appears on all of them.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 17 July 2017 06:22 (three years ago) link

christ that's awful, the music industry really is full of absolute bandits.

i love how he put out 'Greatest Hits I And II' as one CD/album, not bothering with the traditional 1 and 2 volumes separated by say half a decade like most folk.

piscesx, Monday, 17 July 2017 10:59 (three years ago) link

http://www.thatericalper.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Attila-008.jpg

We're going to pretend this never happened?

calstars, Monday, 17 July 2017 11:16 (three years ago) link

re: Manilow and jingles, I had no idea he actually did some of that! "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there" - wow. Another difference, as Attila reminds us, is that for all his wistful balladeering, Billy wants to ROCK, and to be thought of as a rocker. This too connects him with Lennon and McCartney much more than Manilow or most of the other archetypal singer-songwriters.

I had floated the idea of including Attila and the Hassles in this thread but ppl pointed out that they were distinct "things," and anyway we were looking at a lot of tracks on this thread. But I think ppl should check 'em out - we could do a short pause after CSH and just say "today is Attila Day," rather than going track by track... idk!

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 11:32 (three years ago) link

I mean I guess people can also just talk about it whenever, also! Just thinking in the spirit of dedicated group experience or w/e.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 12:01 (three years ago) link

The ratio of "discussion of Attila as music" to "lol, that cover" is historically quite lopsided. Not that I want to be the person to correct the imbalance - just sayin.

"She's Got a Way" is gr8 btw

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 17 July 2017 12:48 (three years ago) link

Woah, hadn't realized we had started this!

So, "She's Got a Way." The version I know is the Greatest Hits one, which is the Songs From the Attic one, and this is my first time hearing the CSH version. I've always found it decent but unexceptional, not to mention tonally jarring within the chronological ordering of GH, sandwiched between the more, uh, muscular 80s material.

Listening to the original for the first time, I can see why he went with a later version. The mixing on CSH really is disgusting and I imagine that it will make the next 9 days of this thread something of a slog.

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Monday, 17 July 2017 13:52 (three years ago) link

There is a piece from Entertainment Weekly from around the time of River of Dreams where Billy offered brief commentary on all of his albums. I tried to dig it up, but I couldn't find it. Also, EW's website is the worst.

Basically, as I recall, Billy dismisses the record due to the mastering error, claiming that he can't ever listen to it. Having my first taste of it just now, I can see why.

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Monday, 17 July 2017 13:58 (three years ago) link

Tuneful prettiness. Not bad.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 17 July 2017 13:59 (three years ago) link

affectations and fumbles and evident desire to be Paul McCartney and all

Listening to the Chipmunk version you linked above (only being familiar with the GH version before) and given the year, it strikes me that this is definitely his attempt at re-writing "Maybe I'm Amazed."

Old Lynch's Sex Paragraph (Phil D.), Monday, 17 July 2017 14:06 (three years ago) link

CSH is canon, but I can't help but always thinking of Piano Man as his first record.

Similar to Bowie.

pplains, Monday, 17 July 2017 14:18 (three years ago) link

(Just thought I'd beat the rest of you to writing out that last sentence.)

pplains, Monday, 17 July 2017 14:18 (three years ago) link

(see also: warren zevon)

fact checking cuz, Monday, 17 July 2017 14:25 (three years ago) link

ATTENTION! NATALIE MAINES IS NOT A LESBIAN.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPxllU2WUak

pplains, Monday, 17 July 2017 14:41 (three years ago) link

I know singers have been tweaking lyrics to suit their gender/orientation for decades, but shifting it from first-person to third-person changes the context too much.

pplains, Monday, 17 July 2017 14:42 (three years ago) link

centuries

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 17 July 2017 14:57 (three years ago) link

The song's vagueness--he likes this woman, but can't quite isolate her particular qualities--nicely mirrors my own ambiguous feelings towards it.

some sad trombone Twilight Zone shit (cryptosicko), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:24 (three years ago) link

It's a vague sentiment, sure, but it's light-years better than "Always a Woman," in which the message is "she's a heinous bitch but I like her anyway."

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:40 (three years ago) link

i like this, nice little song

love the cover, i love how period it looks, like it could be some long forgotten "lost classic" reissued by Light in the Attic

though I'm pretty impressed, for a first song on a first album this feels very much like a "Billy Joel" song, like he's got his aesthetic and identity right out of the gate, like Black Sabbath or something

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:41 (three years ago) link

new goal of this listening thread: to pinpoint the moment he loses his hopeful high voice

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:45 (three years ago) link

The vagueness also makes it one of VERY FEW love songs that a father could plausibly dedicate to a daughter and have it come off in a not-totally-creepy way.

This may venture into uber-maudlin TMI territory, but: the line "she's got a smile that heals me" does in fact make me think of my daughter. I know it's corny as hell but there it is.

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:48 (three years ago) link

no that's otm

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:51 (three years ago) link

and lovely <3

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:51 (three years ago) link

for a first song on a first album this feels very much like a "Billy Joel" song, like he's got his aesthetic and identity right out of the gate, like Black Sabbath or something

haha. but i'm not sure he truly finds his "billy joel" voice until track 3 on this album.

his hopeful high voice

sounds like he's channelling paul mccartney via emitt rhodes, who at this particular point in time was making better billy joel records than billy joel was.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 17 July 2017 16:53 (three years ago) link

true!

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 16:54 (three years ago) link

I don't know if its the pitch issue, but his voice sounds more shaky than I expected. Starting from "Piano Man" on, his voice has a confidence that he never loses - I just figured he always had it. Interesting to hear, actually

Vinnie, Monday, 17 July 2017 17:03 (three years ago) link

i think he's trying to go for lilting & comes off as slightly petrified haha

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 17:10 (three years ago) link

yeah track three is KEY to joel's entire steez going forward, looking forward to that.

agreed about trying to sound lilting. ATTILA reminds us that he did already know how to sing in a more forceful and confident manner, so this here is as much a "poetic" affectation as his bellows over there are an attempt to find his "hard rock" voice.

"maybe i'm amazed" is a very apt comparison - and it, too, wasn't a hit until a live album years later! I picture joel watching it rise on the charts in 1976, clenching his fists, blood boiling at the CSH screwups all over again, and swearing that if HE ever gets big enough to merit a live album, he knows just what the single will be and won't THAT show 'em all? "your song" also probably had to be on somebody's mind, the label's if not the artist's.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Monday, 17 July 2017 17:34 (three years ago) link

like he's got his aesthetic and identity right out of the gate, like Black Sabbath or something running down the road, trying to loosen its load....

pplains, Monday, 17 July 2017 17:41 (three years ago) link

i'm guessing this song's about the other member of attila's wife (later to be his own).

i'd always understood that the "mastering error" is because they wanted to cram too many minutes of music onto the album.

Thus Sang Freud, Monday, 17 July 2017 17:46 (three years ago) link

so many wives...

Yoni Loves Chocha (VegemiteGrrl), Monday, 17 July 2017 17:59 (three years ago) link

like he's got his aesthetic and identity right out of the gate, like Black Sabbath or something running down the road, trying to loosen its load....

― pplains, Monday, July 17, 2017 12:41 PM (two hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

you know...for some reason it never occurred to me till this very second that the protagonist of "Take it Easy" was shitting his pants

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 17 July 2017 19:50 (three years ago) link

i'd lump the eagles in with billy as a band who didn't achieve their full aesthetic and identity until track three of their debut album. chug all night y'all.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 17 July 2017 20:03 (three years ago) link

i'd always understood that the "mastering error" is because they wanted to cram too many minutes of music onto the album

I hadn't heard that specifically about CSH. But I have heard that "Silver Springs" was kept off Rumours partly because the resulting length would have mean that they could just BARELY fit it in only by narrowing the grooves and unacceptably compromising the bass response.

Tangent: Interesting to think about the degree to which actual physical limitations were relevant - all of this in living memory. Les Paul was faking multitracking by ping-ponging, then the Beatles were on four tracks, then eight, then DSotM, then Steely Dan's automated mixes, then ProTools... all of this has happened within the lifespan of specific known humans. The time from the Wright brother's first flight to walking on muthaflippin moon? Many of us have grandparents who lived through both.

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Monday, 17 July 2017 20:32 (three years ago) link

agreed about trying to sound lilting. ATTILA reminds us that he did already know how to sing in a more forceful and confident manner, so this here is as much a "poetic" affectation as his bellows over there are an attempt to find his "hard rock" voice.

Ah gotcha. I ain't heard CSH yet, so I sure as hell ain't heard Attila yet

Vinnie, Tuesday, 18 July 2017 01:52 (three years ago) link

lol pplains

let me be your friend on the other end! (Karl Malone), Friday, 3 April 2020 00:16 (one year ago) link

just seeing his name is pavlovian for me, regardless of whatever opinion he has (inevitably smug & wrong)
FUCK YOU BOB COSTAS

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Friday, 3 April 2020 00:16 (one year ago) link

"You know, Ivan Pavlov put his name in the history books with a series of experiments on conditioning, that quite frankly and by his own admission, was completely accidental. However on the opposite side of the spectrum, it was hard work and determination that paid for greats like Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, and one William Martin Joel of Hicksville, Long Island..."

pplains, Friday, 3 April 2020 01:14 (one year ago) link

Ivan Pavlov

Nasser and Prokofiev

Bob didn't start the fiyah

no one ever is to blave (Ye Mad Puffin), Friday, 3 April 2020 01:18 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

oh man

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT1ExN7ugxw

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 10 May 2020 01:47 (eleven months ago) link

71 years young today!

pplains, Sunday, 10 May 2020 02:31 (eleven months ago) link

https://i.imgur.com/opIcHLi.png

pplains, Sunday, 10 May 2020 02:34 (eleven months ago) link

It's been a while since I've seen a keyboard player dancing like that while playing. Reminds me of my '80s youth. I have to wonder if he's actually playing anything though, or if the volume's all the way down on his keyboard.

o. nate, Sunday, 10 May 2020 02:43 (eleven months ago) link

Well, there IS that spider web keyb pattern so popular in the mid '80s; you can hear it on the original.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 10 May 2020 02:44 (eleven months ago) link

HWUNN
TWOOOO
HWUN TWOOOO THREE FAWWWH

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Sunday, 10 May 2020 03:31 (eleven months ago) link

otm

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 10 May 2020 10:47 (eleven months ago) link

O mate, I think that's Dave Lebolt?

Rodent of usual size (Ye Mad Puffin), Sunday, 10 May 2020 15:13 (eleven months ago) link

I'll be honest, I'd never heard of Dave Lebolt before, but I found another video of him playing with Joel so yeah, seems quite possible. I was just impressed he can hit the right keys while jumping around like that. I guess that's why he's a pro.

o. nate, Monday, 11 May 2020 01:55 (eleven months ago) link

Henley singing "She's Got a Way" at the Kennedy Center Honors, listening thread singularity!

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 11 May 2020 02:10 (eleven months ago) link

two months pass...

LIBERTY SPEAKS.

“I was the ‘angry old man,'” he tells Rolling Stone...

pplains, Wednesday, 15 July 2020 19:39 (nine months ago) link

fun read, thanks!

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 16 July 2020 03:49 (nine months ago) link

and cool that they're on better terms now.

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 16 July 2020 03:49 (nine months ago) link

that is so great

<3

terminators of endearment (VegemiteGrrl), Thursday, 16 July 2020 03:58 (nine months ago) link

It turns out that he heard something that he thought was true, but wasn’t true. I never heard that, so I couldn’t have defended myself. It was one of those things. If it was true, it would have been cause for dismissal, definitely, but it wasn’t true.
Q: I imagine you don’t want to share what it was publicly.
A: No.

aargh

assert (MatthewK), Thursday, 16 July 2020 06:16 (nine months ago) link

three months pass...

Cross-posted w/ election thread just for a giggle

From 538:

Another small batch of Pennsylvania ballots has been reported in Lehigh County (home of Allentown), and once again Biden is winning enough of them to possibly take the lead in the Keystone State.

Well we're waiting here in Allentown

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 5 November 2020 20:27 (five months ago) link

and we're gonna make a stop in Nevada

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 5 November 2020 20:46 (five months ago) link

But I know something that they don't know
I know a voter in New Mexico

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 5 November 2020 20:52 (five months ago) link

Your sister's out, she's on a date
You just sit at home and refresh Nate

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 5 November 2020 21:24 (five months ago) link

We didn't stop the counting

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 5 November 2020 21:46 (five months ago) link

... for the longest time

Doctor Casino, Thursday, 5 November 2020 21:47 (five months ago) link

The night is still young, doc.

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 5 November 2020 21:51 (five months ago) link

Combed my hair in a pompadour
Like the soon-ex-potus wore

didgeridon't (Ye Mad Puffin), Thursday, 5 November 2020 22:46 (five months ago) link

But the ballots wouldn't quit
And Trump had a fit
When they cut him down to 225

Vinnie, Thursday, 5 November 2020 23:59 (five months ago) link

You just sit at home and refresh Nate


Lmao

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Friday, 6 November 2020 02:01 (five months ago) link

excellent work by both YMP and Vinnie imo

Doctor Casino, Friday, 6 November 2020 04:03 (five months ago) link

four months pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nJZwRIy8G8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jpeQt3Lxls

Maybe I'm Amazed and Live and Let Die are Billy's two contributions to the 2014 tribute album The Art of McCartney. I haven't really dug into the backstory of this album, but Wiki indicates it has roots back in 2003 so I'm not clear when this would have been recorded.... anyway though, what the hell is going on with his voice on these recordings? Is there some AutoTune business trying to get him back to his voice from the 70s, and in the process making his blowsy attempts at throaty emphatic singing sound like Belushi doing Joe Cocker? It's really distracting to me. The "Stranger" whistling thrown randomly into "Live and Let Die" really doesn't work for me, also.

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Sunday, 28 March 2021 21:13 (three weeks ago) link

(realized i never did go back and round up the various late-career curios at the bottom of my chronological spreadsheet. i mean, why not?)

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Sunday, 28 March 2021 21:14 (three weeks ago) link

"Let's see if we can blend 'The Stranger' into 'Patience' and really fuck up this Macca!"

https://i.imgur.com/bzAMGek.jpg

pplains, Sunday, 28 March 2021 22:56 (three weeks ago) link

I generally like "Maybe I'm Amazed" but Billy misunderstands it here. He tries to bring the growl too early.

What is affecting about Paul's song is the tenderness of the verse and the way the chorus brings the grit.

By trying to bring growl into the verse, Billy leaves himself nowhere to go when the chorus arrives, and he just sounds hoarse and strained.

Rookie mistake. If you turn up to eleven you have no twelve.

I hate everything about "Live and Let Die" so I have never heard this version, and on principle I am not going to

calzone layer (Ye Mad Puffin), Sunday, 28 March 2021 23:58 (three weeks ago) link

What is affecting about Paul's song is the tenderness of the verse and the way the chorus brings the grit.

and his solid lead guitar

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 28 March 2021 23:59 (three weeks ago) link

great points YMP.

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Monday, 29 March 2021 02:21 (three weeks ago) link

(also feel like said rookie mistake is probably made by a LOT of people trying to cover this song.)

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Monday, 29 March 2021 02:22 (three weeks ago) link

"When am I gonna take control, get a hold of my emotions? STOP LIGHTING THE AUDIENCE!
Why does it always seem to hit me in the middle of the ni-i-ight? STOP IT!
You told me there's a number I can always dial for assistance. LET ME DO MY SHOW FOR CHRISSAKE!"

calstars, Monday, 29 March 2021 02:35 (three weeks ago) link

what in god's name is this and why i have never heard of it? the terribleness of these covers is kind of a given, and puffin, alfred and doctor c all very otm. but what strikes me is that billy seems to have tried really hard to make something of maybe i'm amazed while appearing to have tossed off live and let die with no thought whatsoever with the three minutes of studio time he had left using a bar band that had just wandered into the studio hoping to score some drum heads or maybe an autograph. live and let die is the one he should have spent his time on. he could've covered that circa turnstiles and totally made it work.

fact checking cuz, Monday, 29 March 2021 05:05 (three weeks ago) link

totally. also.... why does he have two songs on a tribute album? that's kinda weird, right? scanning the tracklisting it looks like Heart does as well but i don't think anybody else does. i do like the idea of Wanda Jackson covering Run Devil Run so maybe i should dig into this a little more.

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Monday, 29 March 2021 12:47 (three weeks ago) link

hard to find Macca fans innit

Vinnie, Monday, 29 March 2021 13:05 (three weeks ago) link

tell that to the Airborne Toxic Event and Peter Bjorn and John!

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Monday, 29 March 2021 13:10 (three weeks ago) link

(it's actually a very star-studded lineup, but the majority of the acts are ones whose fans likely don't need a huge amount of prodding to buy a paul mccartney album. maybe that was the idea tho --- overload on boomer classic rock artists and NPR fare to draw out latent/potential macca fans who've just never made the leap. but then again: Smokey Robinson doing "So Bad"? that sounds... " So Good !"

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Monday, 29 March 2021 13:15 (three weeks ago) link

https://img.discogs.com/RzHSUPbezNxaKIyytqMZ53ziOu0=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-6749265-1425831796-4827.jpeg.jpg

Continuing in the same vein: in 2009, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame organized a two-night concert at Madison Square Garden with many Hall of Famers performing a mix of their own golden greats and those of other inductees. Apparently this event led to the Metallica/Lou Reed album Lulu but that doesn't concern us right now. As you would expect, Time-Life stepped in to market this boomer fantasy scenario as a 2-DVD package as well as a 4-CD box set with staggeringly bad cover art, so I counted Billy's contributions when I made my original spreadsheet of all his released material.

In this case, Billy did not get his own set, but gamely jumped in as one of a spree of acts supporting Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band. In this capacity he was preceded by Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, Tom Morello of RATM, John Fogerty of CCR, girl-group legend Darlene Love, and Tom Morello again for some reason. At the end of the set, all of these luminaries rejoined Bruce and the gang onstage, plus Jackson Browne (who was in some of the other sets that night) and J. Geils's frontman Peter Wolf (who was waiting for this one shot) to do "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher)." Billy's short tenure with the E Street Band involved versions of "You May Be Right" and "Only The Good Die Young," but these did not make it to the CD set. Instead, I give you a combination that seems somehow inevitable though I'm not sure it was ever asked for: Billy and Bruce trading verses on "New York State of Mind" and.... "Born to Run."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZq5hy2RsvM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2BvmL2MMJ8

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 1 April 2021 14:14 (two weeks ago) link

And what the hey, here's that "Higher and Higher." Obviously this is a 'party' performance that's more about the vocalists and everybody having a good time, but Billy's piano is pretty prominent:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tWOiipIsG4

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 1 April 2021 14:16 (two weeks ago) link

lol tough crowd for that one huh

this honking's on a bobo (Doctor Casino), Monday, 5 April 2021 00:06 (two weeks ago) link

oh god that version of ny state of mind. exactly as awful as i remembered. i can hardly think of a pop song less suited for springsteen's voice. wouldn't have minded hearing him have a go at "say goodbye to hollywood." as for billy's verse on "born to run," is he kind of sort of trying to do a springsteen imitation on a couple of lines but then he's not sure if he should be trying that? also, is it too much to ask a pop star to memorize a single verse of a song they're guesting on? i do like bruce's intro: "the bridge and tunnel summit meeting!"

fact checking cuz, Monday, 12 April 2021 18:15 (one week ago) link

agreed that Billy sounds terrible on Born to Run. probably is trying to do a Bruce impression, we know what a pastiche artist he is, but it's a challenge and maybe one he coulda met (better anyway) back in the 70s.

NY State of Mind is interesting cause both guys are, I think, trying to do their version of Ray Charles. which is something Billy was pretty decent at back in the day, but which is maybe less of a reach for Bruce? the "bridge and tunnel" thing is funny cause i don't usually think of the song as being from the POV of Long Island (versus say Captain Jack, which btw i imagine Bruce could tear up). makes it feel a lot more touristy. "you know... chinatown, the rivers, New York!"

sgt. pepper's one-and-only bobo honkin' band (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 15:50 (one week ago) link

ha, otm with that bridge and tunnel observation. makes NY State of Mind feel a lot dorkier to look at it that way. But maybe it just unveils the already latent dorkiness therein

Lavator Shemmelpennick, Tuesday, 13 April 2021 18:32 (one week ago) link

i remember my best college buddy having a similar beef with PJ Harvey's "Good Fortune" when it was (briefly) in constant MTV2 rotation, with its shoutouts to Little Italy and Chinatown.

sgt. pepper's one-and-only bobo honkin' band (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 13 April 2021 18:57 (one week ago) link


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