The Early years
Billy Joel had found his creative muse early in life. He discovered his love for music when he learned his first song. His piano lessons consisted of the usual classical training, and he did very well at it. Eventually, he got bored with reading music and began to write his own. To make his mother think he was playing the songs assigned to him, he would improvise classical music. Billy rarely remembered what he had played the day before, so he would make up a new song. The daily repetition of writing song after song made Billy a genius composer and entertainer.
When Billy was 5 years old, his father abandoned him and his mother. He was also not a very good student in school, because he would spend his time playing with his bands rather than doing homework. He was told at the end of his senior year in high school that he needed to go to summer school or he wouldn’t pass. His response was one that had changed the trajectory of his life forever. He said “I’m not going to Columbia University, I’m going to Columbia Records.”
After years of struggling to make a name for himself, he finally found a record company that recognized his talent. As he finished recording his first album, they realized that it was recorded in the wrong speed. Billy had realized that he had made a mistake signing his rights away to someone he couldn’t rely on to make a simple recording properly. His solution was to hide out until his contract was void, and he decided to get a job at a piano bar in LA. This bar was called The Executive Room, and is the birthplace of the music that launched Billy’s career.
Billy met some interesting characters during his work at The Executive. At 9 o clock on a Saturday, he would see the regular crowd shuffle in. He encountered all types of people, from a real estate broker who always talked about the novel he wanted to write, to the fat cat agent who would come in and ask Billy what the hell he was doing here instead of a studio. Billy would reply, “Nah, that’s a dirty business. I’m happy where I am at.”
His observations of the Executive’s regular activity inspired him to write a song about the interaction of multiple interesting characters who had come to a bar to celebrate or escape certain experiences in their lives. A song about the nostalgic effect of music lifting one from a state of foggy hopelessness; music that enchants the room and sheds light on even the darkest corners. Billy provided music that soothed the troubled minds of the chronically tense people of LA, and the music he created was inspired by his interaction with some of the very same people who now find solace in the sounds. That song that resonated with the people so impeccably was the legendary ‘Piano Man’.
That is an example of a true artist who makes a great contribution to society. The rest is history, as Billy went on to manifest his dream of becoming a part of Columbia Records. His music had reached the ears of millions, and he became one of the musical archetypes of the century.
In honor of the musical phenomenon of Billy Joel, The Stranger – tribute to Billy Joel will be performing live at The Cave. This act is comprised of world class musicians, and the best people to recreate the Billy Joel experience. To find out more about the band, visit their website here.
The Cave | Jan 5th, 2018 | 6:30 pm | $18+ | Full Bar | All Ages