Souvenir

Album: Streetlife Serenade (1974)
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Songfacts®:

  • This bittersweet lyrical ending to Joel's Streetlife Serenade album is about the sentimental memories and experiences we lose to the passage of time. Inspired by the perennial classic "Auld Lang Syne," Joel wanted to write a new kind of song to ring in the New Year. He told Sirius XM in 2016.

    "On New Year's, everybody sings 'Auld Lang Syne,' and I don't think most people know what it means - it just sounds good. 'We'll drink a cup of kindness yet,' which is a nice phrase. And I thought, 'Okay, that's the best part of that song. How do we sum up the year?' I wanted to write a song that would be a New Year's song. 'Every year is a souvenir that slowly fades away.'"
  • Clocking in at just two minutes, this is the shortest song in Joel's catalog. The album's producer, Michael Stewart, thought it should be longer, but Joel insisted he had nothing left to say.
  • It's no accident that the classical intro sounds a bit like Chopin. During a live performance in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1995, Joel told the audience that he borrowed the opening notes from Chopin's "Raindrop" prelude (Op. 28, No. 19) in D flat major.
  • Aside from performing it on New Year's Eve, Joel would often close out his concerts with this tune.
  • This was featured on How I Met Your Mother in the 2013 episode "Coming Back."
  • Joel wasn't a fan of Streetlife Serenade, his third album. He told Entertainment Weekly in 1993: "Interesting musical ideas, but nothing to say lyrically. I was trying to be Debussy in the title track - it didn't work."

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