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May 26, 2014 / thackersam

May 25 – Billy Joel – Piano Man

Joel PianoLast night I was watching Billy Joel Live at Yankee Stadium on MSG when it struck me that he does have a good voice. I hadn’t thought about it before because he was, you know, Billy Joel. Great musician, songwriter, lyricist, performer and especially pianist. But voice? It’s always been recognizable. You know it’s a Billy Joel song even if you’ve never heard it before.

It started me thinking how I would have loved to have had a recognizable voice. Not just as a singer like Billy, Bruce Springsteen, Annie Lennox, Stevie Nicks or Richie Havens – all those memorable voices that will always stick with us such as Alison Steele and Scott Muni, or newscaster that influenced our lives like Walter Cronkite or Barbara Walters. I’m sure I could fill pages with names of voices. Older actors with distinctive voices can supplement their incomes with commercial voice overs. Sally Kellerman may not be a name you remember as an actress, but she does have a great voice and I do recognize her when I hear her. And Donald Sutherland (father of Keifer?) has the proper intonation meant for the words “yet again,” that he says in his commercial voice over.

But as usual I digress, yet again. My tiny tape collection contains Billy Joel’s Piano Man cassette, which really is an impressive breakthrough record that continually demonstrates Joel’s many talents, particularly in this early period. Not the best workout tape, but I can just listen to “Travelin’ Prayer” over and over, which is a pain with a cassette tape, so this tape may have to be replaced for the even tinier CD collection. You gotta love a rock song that features a fiddle, a banjo and a Jew’s harp. Also of note on Piano Man are “Captain Jack” and “The Ballad of Billy The Kid.”

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