Written and recorded in November 1971 by Bob Dylan, his version didn't see the light of day until twenty years later when it was released as part of The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991.
The song has been covered by many artists. The first version to be heard was by Doug Sahm, who recorded the tune for his 1973 album Doug Sahm and Band with Dylan singing backing vocals.
Diana Krall covered this for the title track of her 2015 album. Asked by Billboard magazine why she named her record after this obscure tune she replied: "I love Dylan and always have. I got stuck on 'Wallflower,' listening over and over again."
"We started playing it on gigs more than a year ago," she added. "That's the one song I played all the piano on, me and [guitarist] Blake Mills sitting in a room, just playing. We didn't redo anything."
Was Jakob Dylan's outfit The Wallflowers named after this song? The band came up with their moniker after discussing different options sitting around a dinner table, but as far as we can establish, Jakob has never said whether they had his father's obscure tune in mind.
"Piano Man" was inspired by Billy Joel's time playing at a piano bar in Los Angeles. The "real estate novelist" was a guy who always talked about writing a book, but spent all his spare time in the bar.