Piano Man

Album: Piano Man (1973)
Charted: 25
Play Video


  • This was inspired by Joel's experiences playing at The Executive Room, a piano bar in Los Angeles. He worked there for six months in 1972 after his first solo album, Cold Spring Harbor, tanked. The characters in the song are based on real people Joel encountered while working at The Executive Room.

    The "waitress practicing politics" is Elizabeth Weber, who ended up becoming his first wife when Joel married her in 1973 (they divorced in 1982).
  • Joel played under the name Bill Martin, which explains why the patrons in the song call him Bill. Martin is his middle name.
  • Joel recalled to the Metro newspaper July 6, 2006 his time playing at The Executive Room: "It was a gig I did for about six months just to pay rent. I was living in LA and trying to get out of a bad record contract I'd signed. I worked under an assumed name, the Piano Stylings of Bill Martin, and just bulls--ted my way through it. I have no idea why that song became so popular. It's like a karaoke favorite. The melody is not very good and very repetitious, while the lyrics are like limericks. I was shocked and embarrassed when it became a hit. But my songs are like my kids and I look at that song and think: 'My kid did pretty well.'"

    Regarding the limericks statement, Joel points out that this is best heard in the following verse, which if you read with a sprightly pace, does sound like one:

    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
  • This is the first song and title track to Joel's breakthrough album, which he released after signing with Columbia Records. His first album was released by Family Records in 1971, and the contract Joel signed to get that deal came back to haunt him. As is often the case with young musicians, Joel did not understand the contract, and it bound him "for life" to the label. Joel was forced to pay royalties to Family for years after breaking the deal and signing with Columbia.
  • This song is in waltz time (3/4), which is unusual for a pop song. Some other songs that use this time signature are "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls, "Kiss From A Rose" by Seal and Joe Cocker's version of "With A Little Help From My Friends."
  • The line "Paul is a real estate novelist" is about a real estate broker who was a regular at the bar who always claimed to be working on a book. Joel figured Paul would never finish because he was always in the bar.
  • The harmonica part was inspired by Bob Dylan. Dylan was the first person Joel saw use a strap to hold the harmonica so he could play another instrument at the same time.
  • This song is one that every piano bar player has to deal with, since unimaginative patrons will inevitably ask for it. Joel points out, however, that the song can be quite dull when played in this format. He told Howard Stern in 2014: "I think it's a decent song. It doesn't change too much. When they play it on the piano as an instrumental, it gets really boring because it's the same thing over and over and over."
  • Joel often plays this as the encore at his live shows.
  • The album version runs 5:37, but the single was cut down to 4:30 to make it more attractive to radio stations, which favored shorter songs.
  • Elton John makes reference to a piano man in his 1971 song Tiny Dancer. He and Joel became friends and have toured together. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Brandon - Peoria, IL
  • The lyrics, "And he's talkin' with Davy who's still in the Navy and probably will be for life" were inspired by David Heintz. His daughter Lisa told us: "He met Billy Joel in a pub in Spain in 1972 while he was in the Navy. He married while he was in the navy, had three children. He passed away in 2003 of ALS. It really hurts when I hear this song played on the radio and they leave this part out."
  • Weird Al Yankovic did a parody of this song called "Ode to a Superhero," which describes events from the Spider-Man movie. The original chorus line, "Sing us a song, you're the piano man" is turned into "Sling us a web, you're the Spider-Man."
  • The Spanish singer Ana Belen made a version of this song in Spanish called "El Hombre Del Piano." The lyrics of her song are quite different from the original; they talk more about The Piano Man's past with his wife and of his depression. The people in the bar are hardly mentioned. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sergigres - Barcelona, Spain
  • At the end of the video for his song "You're Only Human (Second Wind)," Joel walks off the bridge playing the harmonica phrase from this song after saving a young man from suicide. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Chet - Saratoga Springs, NY
  • This song has surprising appeal to a younger generation, something that Joel learned when he played the Bonnaroo festival in 2015 and the crowd sang along. He told Entertainment Weekly the response was unexpected, since it's "an old, long song about a guy at a depressing piano bar."
  • There is an accordion in the mix, played by Michael Omartian. "It is a nice, subtle addition in the background that you really have to listen for because of the more dominant reed instrument being used," accordion player Tom Torriglia says. "I like that the accordion doesn't compete with its cousin, the harmonica, for space in the song. The accordion adds a bit of melancholy."

Comments: 91

  • Geeky Grandma from DelawareThis song is reminiscent of Harry Nilsson and his style. IMHO, that's why it's so popular, Mr Joel!
  • Nils from GermanyIst anyone Else bummed out by
    "He says ... as a smile ran away"
    I'm not a native speaker, so: Why is the second part in past tense?
  • Phil Dibble from Scottsdale,azThe closest narrative is from, “the iceman cometh,” explore and you will find it so!
  • AnonymousWas Joe Montana in the Piano Man video?
  • Fin from ChicagoI heard Joel writes the music first and only afterwards writes the lyrics -- this technique thus gives most of his songs a "perfect fit" sound to it. "Piano Man" is not only a perfect example of this technique, but is a great candidate for the "perfect song", much like the book Stoner by John Williams was labeled "the perfect novel", as both also rely on the fundamental aspect of timeless art: deep and moving, real and lived human experience.
  • Charles Cyr from Vermont It's not Elton John, but his lyricist Bernie Taupin, that makes the reference to a piano man (E.J.) in the song Tiny Dancer.
  • Dibny, Ralph Dibny from Central CityI always heard this when I went to my bar after a hard day of PI work
  • Kerthialfad from San Francisco I’ve heard the melody before on YouTube specifically on a History Channel show called “Sex in the Civil War” at 30 / 1:30 where the chapter “Pen in Hand” begins. That descending bass line is quite common in like Mr Bojangles and Friend of the Devil. There may actually be a Civil War tune very similar.
  • Josh from UsaI figured plays on Spotify would give us a better picture of the success of this song rather than chart positions when it came out since it's on the radio so much. As of now, Piano Man is Billy's most played song at 307,002,435 plays and the next behind it is Uptown Girl with 254,115,489.
  • John Poole from Ardmore, PaDoes anyone know the songs Joel was playing in his LA gig. No guesses here please! His gig was probably four hours for three nights max and you can only loiter on ivory for so long before you really have to come up with a lot of familiar works. I still play bookings at country clubs of five hours and I think I must go through a few hundreds songs easily. Has Joel ever mentioned what he played that the "regular crowd" knew or requested?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 17th 1974, Billy Joel entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart for the first time when his "Piano Man" debut at #94; eight weeks later on April 14th it peaked at #25 {for 1 week} and it spent 14 weeks on the chart...
    Between 1974 and 1997 he had forty two records on the Top 100 chart; thirteen made the Top 10 with three reaching #1, "It's Still Rock 'N Roll To Me" {1980}, "Tell Her About It" {1983}, and "We Didn't Start the Fire" {1989}...
    He never had a #2 record; but did have four peak at #3, "Just The Way You Are" {1977}, "My Life" {1978}, "Uptown Girl" {1983}, and "The River of Dreams" {1993}.
  • Gail from Springfield, MoThe line that I find most impressive is "...when I wore a younger man's clothes." This is so much more poetical and interesting than "when I was younger" and it harks back to an old Irish pub. By the way... I've heard this song since I was a kid and have always thought the John and Davy in the song were perhaps gay. I guess it doesn't matter, but that is how it always sounded to me.
  • Randy from Houghton Lake, MiI like the line about the waitress and businessman sharing a drink they call lonliness but it's better than drinking alone then that short piano solo he does. Love this song!
  • Steven from Cranston, RiI was playing piano in Scranton PA at the Holiday Inn between '74-'76 and Billy was playing in Scranton, staying at the HI. He came into the bar with his entourage after his show and listened to me play his tunes from his Pianoman Album. It was a great experience...one that I'll never forget. He autographed my Pianoman songbook. Decades later, I met his daughter in Providence and relayed the story to her and showed her the autograph!
  • Douglas from Cambridge, United Kingdom"I don't think Paul and Davey are gay. There is not anything in the lyrics to support that idea."
    Paul's not just single, he's described as a man who "never had time for a wife", the sort of guy who hadn't put much effort into looking for one. That doesn't mean he's gay, but it is the way a lot of gay men would have been described by their friends and neighbours. In the right context, you could easily use that description to imply (subtly) that someone was gay.
    Paul being unmarried, and Davy being in the Navy, would both be really subtle things if they were on their own, and if they were in different parts of the song agree with you , What gets me though is that Billy Joel put these two characters in the same verse, sharing a quiet conversation. And that he specifically chose to mention the unmarried-ness, and the Navy life, in a song where he only gives one or two facts about anyone.
    Maybe Billy Joel never meant it that way, but it's what I'll always hear. Two sweet, lonely old men living in a world that would hate them, sharing some fellowship. And the Piano Man sees it all, and bears them no ill-will for it.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyThe line "Man, what are you doin' here?" is from an actual incident. One of the bar patrons had contacts in the music business and couldn't believe that "Bill Martin" was just a piano bar singer/piano player. He mentioned it to a friend who worked for Columbia Records in LA and that guy went to check him out. He immediately realized that this was the Billy Joel they had been seeking since a taped live version of "Captain Jack" became a hit on some East Coast FM rock stations.
  • Jessi from South Bloomfield, OhThe Men's Chorus did this for the last concert of my freshman year. I was really disappointed in their performance, but I was mainly disenchanted by the lack of feeling put into their performance--the lyrics seemed just that. Words. Lifeless words. "Piano Man" is a piece that is absolutely wrought with emotion. That's part of what's so appealing about it. You can't just strip that away, or you strip the whole song away.
  • Richard from Madison, WiAs a piano bar player myself, I always try to mix a few "waltz" tunes into the repertoire - it adds some variety. "Piano Man" is the feature waltz in Rock 'n roll, but consider these: "Sweet Baby James" (JT), "Mr Bojangles" (Jerry Jeff Walker), "Isis" (Dylan), "Dear Abby" (John Prine)
  • James from Rye, Ny"John at the Bar" was a bartender in the 60/70s at a small bar across from the Burbank studios. His name was Ian Maclean and he would serve Billy when he played piano there. No one could pronounce (or drunkenly wanted to pronounce) the name Ian, thus he was fondly called John. He would recall the stories of many a musician who played there in hopes of finding stardom...himself included, as he had a dream of being an actor. Ian/John passed away yesterday (June 14, 2010) outside Los Angeles, CA...he was about 80. Only Billy Joel knows what persons and experiences gave birth to "John", but to hear Ian Maclean tell it, you were convinced by the immeasurable pride he took in stating that he had been immortalized in Billy's song. As a family friend, I relate his story here as a tribute to him...
  • Erika from West Band, WiI love how deep and bittersweet this song is. If you acually listen to the lyrics, it could actually come off rather jaded, but the upbeat tone of the song keeps it alive. A gorgeous ballad, this song almost makes me cry when I hear it just because of the simplicity of it, and how people take everything for granted it seems. It has so much emotion just poured into it, I love how you can tell Joel is really feeling it. It's a very meaningful song to me. I admire the honesty of the song. Thanks, Billy Joel!
  • Mere from Philadelphia, Pathis is the only song i have ever heard that (literally) was sad and sweet at the same time. its very bittersweet and thats what i love about it
  • Ed from Palm City, FlI've been told by several people that the "John at the bar" was actually John Ritter, who was trying to break in as a comedian back in the early seventies in the L.A. area. Thus the line "He's quick with a joke .... but there's someplace that he'd rather be".
  • Derek from Shrewsbury, Mato brad from long island this is a waltz and it is in 3/4 time but not all 3/4 songs are waltzes
  • Robbie from Bedford, Ns"At the end of the video for his song "Second Wind," Joel walks off the bridge playing the harmonica phrase from this after saving a young man from suicide. (thanks, chet - saratoga springs, NY)"

    He also plays that tune at the beginning of "Second Wind"
  • Brad from Long Island, Nyoh and by the way, Billy is an absolute musical genius. If you ever get a chance to hear him talk about music, you would not beleive this guys acumen. While his venture into classical music wasnt met with great fanfare, there is almost nothing he cant do musically. And if i am not mistaken, "Piano Man" is actually a waltz (3/4 time), cant think of many, all-time musical hits written with this time signature
  • Brad from Long Island, NyTo Abby, I dont think that the "john" referred to would be Belushi. 1st off, he is referring to the bartender, something belushi never was as far as I know. And blushi was from Chicago and his early career before SNL was spent at 2nd city in chicago. Joel was from Long Island who moved to LA early in his career, I dont think their paths ever crossed that early on
  • April from Baltimore, MdThanks, Ken! I always wondered when I heard "The Entertainer" if he was refering to one song in particular because 3:05 seemed pretty specific. Now it all makes sense!
  • Scott from Tampa, FlA great song. I love how Joel twists the words like a writer. The phrase," making love to his tonic and gin," is wonderful, I can see the image of a an old drunk whispering to his drink and talking about the old days." OTOH, the song is a bit dated with seventies lingo, "bread", and images that would be out of place in today's sport bars.
  • Andy from B'ham, AlFour hymns I know (one of them a carol) whose lyrics fit this tune. I've never heard anyone sing those lyrics to this tune, but it can be done as easily to this tune as to the tune of "The House of the Rising Sun". Those four follow: "Amazing Grace"; "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem"; "A Charge to Keep I Have"; "Take the World, But Give Me Jesus". Due to that for both "Piano Man" and "The House of the Rising Sun", both tunes can trade lyrics easily. Go figure.
  • Anthony from West Chester, PaThis song is an all time great, but has a very depressing underlying story. The story is that of people who, in the end, will never do anything with their lives. They will be caught in the monotonous daily routine of working and the one thing they have to look forward to is going to the bar on Saturdays and talking with people like themselves.
  • Billy from Albany, Nythe cover of this song scares the hell outta me

    o ya and i love billy joel!!!!
  • Donald from Seattle, WaGreat song. I love it because the lyrics are clear. Great ballard and no, there is no hint of homosexuality in the song; that is a big stretch. Joel is simply telling the stories of people who feel trapped in life. Another one of my favorites
  • Matt from Melbourne, Australiaa seveteen year old this time
    i heard this song and never appreciated it then i picked up a harmonica that i was beginning to learn how to play. then when fumpling around i played the riff. now it reamains one of my favourite songs. thenkyou Billy Joel.
  • Randy from Colerain Twp., Oh I am not a big Billy Joel fan, but this is a good song. I have seen him performed this song and prior to that I didn't realize that he played both the piano and harmonica simultaneously, along with the vocals. When I hear the accordian playing during the song, it puts me in mind that the 'lounge' was either located on a cruise ship, or on a port perhaps frequented by sailors.
  • Jackie from San Diego, Cathis is an amazing song. i love the verse that says, "and the microphone smells like a beer". joel just gets so passionate! he's great.
  • Matt from Ny, NyI'm only 15 too. This is my favorite song ever. I find myself humming or singing it all the time.
  • Matt from Los Angeles, CaDid Bob Dylan have anything to do with this song perchance? Maybe I haven't listened to enough Billy Joel, but if anyone else was singing this song I'd think it was a cover of one of Dylan's.
  • Diego from Santiago, ChileYet another young one who likes Piano Man... I'm 13.

    I agree with some people in here, age doesn't matter in relaton to music, specially in relation to good music.

    I love this song, and I'm going to sing and play (piano and harmonica) it next Friday, on a school performance.

    I hope I can do it good (of course, I'm never going to do it as well as Joel did), so that people can remember how great this song is.
  • Jon from London, EnglandI'm only 15 and this certainly is one of my favourite songs
  • Nate from Cincinnati, Ohi learned to play the harmonica part for this song by ear. i once made 5 dollars by playing this song in front to the Bone Student Center at Illinois State University.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyFor the version released for radio airplay, Columbia Records eliminated the verse about "Paul" and "Davy", so the song would be a more radio-friendly 3 minutes and 5 seconds. This infuriated Joel, and on his next album recorded a song ("The Entertainer") with the lines: "It was a beautiful song/But it ran too long/If you wanna have a hit/you gotta make it fit/So they cut it down to 3:05."
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrCharlis,Thomastown,CT and Stefanie magura,Rock Hill,SC-I could agree with you as far as eminem but Sublime? Sorry but Sublime IS classic rock. Just because it's not old doesn't mean it's not good. The 90's has had its good music: Guns n' Roses, Nirvana, Sublime, Cash (for over 4 decades).
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrTo justin,kennesaw,GA. I recommend "Lean on me" by Bill Withers.
  • Abel from Buenos Aires, ArgentinaThat verse: they are sharing a drink they call loneliness, but is better than drinking alone... i always shed a tear - perhaps one of the most touching verses ever written. simple, terrible.
  • Alberto from Carpi, ItalyI really love this "sad and sweet" song. There is also an Italian version of this song, made by Pierangelo Bertoli in 1985. It has the same title, and lyrics are nearly the literal translation of the original.
  • Bobbi from Newington, CtBilly Joel did write about real people he met in the bar, but he made up different names for them. The names "John" and "Paul" used in the song are his little private shout-out to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Joel is a huge Beatles fan.
  • J from Boston, MaActually i think the Davy was just to rhyme with Navy
  • Nathan from Insomeplace, KyWeird Al Yankovic recorded a parody of this song about spiderman called Ode To Be A Superhero for his recent album Poodle Hat
  • Sam from Provo, Utthis is a great song, amazingly crafted, althought the harp line is quite simple. but its still a great song
  • Brian from Saint Leo, Flwho is the old man who sits next to bill?
  • Ricardo from Mexico, MexicoIs not at the end of the "Second Wind" Video, It is at the beginning when Billy Joel play it with Harmonica.......... and the name of the young man mentioned is Joe
  • Barry from New York, NyAlthough I usually turn the dial when I hear the title track on the radio, I really enjoy it listening to the entire album. Some overplayed radio songs sound better within the context of the original album it came from. The entire PIANO Man album is great, one of the most underrated although back when it was released in 1973, it got mostly excellent reviews.
  • Steve from Fenton, MoAn awesome song...great lyrics and music is perfect for those lyrics.
  • Casey from Dalton, GaMike from Winnipeg: the manager is the owner of the bar, and he knows he's got such good business (a crowd) because people are coming to hear Joel play. The "bread (in my jar)" thing is slang for money (they're tipping him, not giving him food), and the "'Man, what are you doing here?'" is the patrons saying he's so good he shouldn't be stuck in a bar, he should be famous on the road or something (prescience). They're just complimenting his playing.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnMy all-time favorite Billy Joel song. When I first heard the song, it reminded me of Bob Dylan, especially the harmonica part. I remember hearing the song at one of his concerts and the audience sang along on the chorus.
  • Mike from Winnipeg, Canada"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 comin' to see
    To forget about life for a while"

    "And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar
    And say, "Man, what are you doin' here?""

    What is Billy Joel tring to say about himself when he was at the bar?

    Also very, very deep lyrics and a great song.

  • Justin from Kennesaw, GaWell I love this song. And im only 17 i beleve that a truly good song sees no age. This song makes me think about life and how every one at the bar wanted to be needed, but they arent. I belve it is a great thing to think of a time when you lean on each other for support. Not just try to go out and do it on your own like modern times.
  • Ahmed from Houston, Txi believe "davy" is a reference to dave jones of the monkees
  • Peter from Mistelbach, Austriai'm 16 years too, and for me it's not important how old a song is. if i like the song i listen to it, that's it. and this song is probably one of the best i've ever heard. everytime they play it in the radio i turn the music louder.
  • Kasey from Indy, InI am doing a project for the newspaper I write for, and I was asked to pick my five songs I would put on a playlist.
    This song was the second one I thought of (after "Tiny Dancer", by Elton John). This song is absolutely amazing. The writing is undeniable and that is something no one can ever think about arguing about.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyIn his live shows, Billy Joel never sings the chorus. He stopped doing that when the audience would drown him out with THEIR singing of it. So he usually stops playing and holds his microphone to the crowd and lets them sing the chorus.
  • Sean from Toronto, CanadaIt was great when he did it with Elton John. He did a lot with him.
  • Ashley from Watts, Pathis song is great! i learned how to play this on the piano... theres just something about it... i love this song...
    ashley , PA
  • Jay from New York, NyI've sometimes wondered if Davey is still a member of the Navy or if he is just stuck in his Navy days. He may talk to anyone and everyone about his "glory days" when he was in the Navy. He is no longer in the service but nothing good has happened to him since, so he talks to anyone who will listen about his glorious past, no doubt embellishing his stories to make himself seem more important. "He probably will be for life" means he will probably be repeating these same old stories and living in the past as long as he lives. I don't think Paul and Davey are gay. There is not anything in the lyrics to support that idea. It seems that they are just two of the regulars at the bar. As far as "John at the bar" being John Belushi, I suppose John Belushi could have worked as a bartender and may have known Billy Joel, but since John is hardly and unusual name, it is more likely that it was just some guy named John who had dreams of stardom that would likely never come true.
  • Frank from Westminster, ScBilly Joel grew up in a town on Long Island, NY called, of all things, Hicksville. The Belushi Boys grew up in Wheaton, IL, a suburb of Chicago. I think it's a stretch to read homosexual undertones into the Paul and Davey characters; I think they're just a couple of guys who use the bar as a default place to be when they're not doing their jobs. This was the first Billy Joel song I ever heard, back in 1974. I knew immediately that he would be a superstar, although it took another three years until he exploded with The Stranger album.
  • John from Millersville, MdAnother 16-year-old here=) I listen to a pretty significant variety of music, but I find myself wanting more and more to hide from today's music. Piano man is a fantastic song; I agree with Gonny of FakeTown (haw haw) that it's the best ballad ever. Not Billy Joel's most popular song, in my opinion, and perhaps not my favorite work of his, but an undeniable masterpiece. This is a song that can be respected as much as it is enjoyed.
  • Zack from Hinesburg, VtWierd Al Does a version of this using Spider Man
    "sling us a web your the spider-man" its pretty funny. I love the original version. One of my favorite songs, one of the most inspiring songs ever.
  • Stephanie from Denver, Co This song's theme of people who strive to be something better than what they are and are missing something from their lives. It a nice song but it doesn't move me much.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScThis in response to Chris's comment. As a fellow 16-year-old, don't listen to Eminem and Sablime. In my oppinion, they aren't as good as people like Billy Jole.
  • Nessie from Sapporo, JapanGreat lyrics and emotion. The music itself is vanilla. He has done better.
  • Ryan from Edmonton, Canadahave you guys noticed how dark and lost the people in the bar really are? In this song I always think about a lost man-almost a man living with two faces. All the people in the bar who are giving him money, are just as good as him. Really the piano man needs them just as much as they need him.
  • Jason from New York, NyThe "John at the bar is a friend of mine" line refers to the father of a guy I went to high school with. He was the bartender at the Executive Room where Billy Joel played.
  • Steveo from Vienna, AustriaThe 'waitress (that) is practicing politics' became Billy Joels wife and is his (first) ex-wife now.

    (Source: Q+A bonus disc contained in his 'Greatest Hits 1-3'-set)
  • Emylee from Cambridge, MaI first listened to this song when I was about seven years old and I just found it absolutely beautiful. Whenever I hear it, I get all tingley inside. This song is most definately one of my favorites of all time. Of course, 14 years isn't much time, but most of the music I listen to is older than I am anyway.
  • Jim from Dayton, RiA brilliant song. I was listening to it again on the radio while driving into work this morning. I never get tired of it. Perhaps, the most poinient line in the song is "Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness
    But it's better than drinkin' alone" Awesome lyrics!
  • Ed from Chicago, IlThe verse about "Paul and Davy" I think, was not hinting about homosexuality (not that there's anything wrong with that, obviously) but, sad as it is, about Paul being a workaloholic who never really had the time to find love. I could be totally wrong, but it's just a theory. Nevertheless, it's one hell of a great song.
  • Pat from Montreal, CanadaAt some of his live shows, if there's a request for Piano Man, he likes to tell a little joke about where the harmonica part. As was already mentioned, he got the idea for a strapped-on harmonica from a Bob Dylan show. His joke is "When I first saw Dylan wearing that thing, I though to myself, 'the poor man! He must have been in a car accident! He's wearing a neck brace!'. Soon enough, I figured it must have been a neck brace 'cus he sure as hell couldn't sing."
  • Mark from Outside Kc, Ks"But does anyone just detect of a hint of homosexuality in it? This verse is making me really wonder about that hint, but it could just be me." -- Matt, PA........................................................................... Hmmm, guess my wife and kid should know that I must be gay due to my numerous conversations with other men whilst drinking. Sometimes people just like to find out about other people. At least we agree that the song is a good one.
  • Abby from Columbus, OhI heard that the late John Belushi is mentioned in the song in the lines "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 some place 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 I could be a movie star if I could get out of this place.'" It was said that they knew each other from their hometowns. I don't know, just something I heard.
  • Sergigres from Esplugues - Barcelona, SpainSpanish singer Ana BelÃ?n made a version of this song in spanish called "El hombre del piano".
    The lyrics of her song are quite different from the original. They talk about more about the piano man, and his past with his wife an his depression, and the people in the bar are hardly mentioned.
    In Spain, the vesion of Ana BelÃ?n was a quite big hit, and is much more famous than Billy Joel's original.

    If you like, I could send the spanish lyrics, they're quite interesting.
  • Ben from Brunswick, MeI agree, stop listening to emminem and listen to the good stuff.
  • Charlie from Thomaston, CtChris, im 16 too. as a fellow dude, i say drop eminem and sublime and become a rocker
  • Enrique from Lima, PeruJust for your information... did you know that Billy Joel did not play the piano for the studio recording of Piano Man? Actually it was Michael Omartian who did the playing... funny, isn't it? considering that Billy is supposed to be the "Piano Man"
  • Chris from Monticello, KyI am 16 years of age and listen to music ranging from Eminem to Sublime and I have to say that this has to be one of my favorite songs, even though it was wrote/recorded long before I was born.
  • Matt from Boothwyn, PaNo offence Amanda, did you ever wonder about your uncle, did he ever get married?

    Now Paul is a real estate novelist
    Who never had time for a wife
    And he's talkin' with Davy who's still in the navy
    And probably will be for life

    I don't mean this to be anything against homosexuals at all. But does anyone just detect of a hint of homosexuality in it?

    This verse is making me really wonder about that hint, but it could just be me.
  • Dave from Oshawa, CanadaI think Piano Man is truly a brillianly insightful song, of which I just knew even before reading it in the facts here, that the characters were based on people he encountered playing in a bar, you can just tell. I could picture Joel playing in this small bar, not a dive but just small, with all these characters coming up and talking to hiim, and he was listening and learning all the while to create a perfect song. I do find it sad though that the best he ever did after that (in my oppinion) is on Glass Houses, the song "It's still Rock and Roll To Me", he never got as deep as Piano Man again, and please don't even bring up "We Didn't Start the Fire" either, it's garbage.
  • Amanda from Newtown, PaMy Great Uncle David (who served in the navy for much of his life) was a bit of a drinker, he met Billy Joel in a bar a long while back, and he swears the line "...and he's talking to davey who's still in the navy and probably will be for life" was written about him pass it on....cheers
  • Marlow from Perth, Australiaclassic song!
  • Gonny from Faketown, GaOne of the most recognizable songs ever. Definately the best ballad ever.
  • Kelly from Louisville, Kyi had a chance to see billy joel and elton john in concert in feb. of 2003, although i havent seen many concerts this was by far the best and will be nearly impossible to top, joel is very charismatic and has a great since of humor, also an extremely talented musician, he was not only great to listen to but also put on a great act
  • Ming from Oak Flats, AustraliaI heard Billy played at the bar after a despute with his manager or record company (someone like that) as it was in a contract that they'd get so much percentage of whatever he earned so he played for virtually nothing at this bar until his contract ran out.
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