In honor of the fact that Billy Joel is fucking awesome, here’s my picks for his top five songs. This isn’t up for debate or discussion. This is the correct list.
5. “Captain Jack”
“Captain Jack” came out in 1973 on the Piano Man album, and it’s all about teenagers going to buy heroin from a guy called “Captain Jack.” “Captain Jack will get you high tonight” – doesn’t feel like a shock it’s about drugs with those lyrics. Anyway, awesome song and his live performances of it have become legendary.
4. “New York State of Mind”
“New York State of Mind” was on the Turnstiles album that came out in 1976, and it’s all about Joel being from New York but living out in L.A. for his music. It’s been covered a shit ton since its release because that song fucks.
3. “Piano Man”
From the 1973 album of the same name, this one’s iconic. It’s played at every white person’s wedding, ever, which ordinarily would ruin it for me, but fuck, this one’s too good to be soiled by a bunch of drunken idiots forgetting the lyrics and mumbling through the verses.
The Stranger, 1977, is arguably Joel’s best album, so it’s no surprise my top two come from it. “Slow down, you crazy child. You’re so ambitious for a juvenile,” has to be one of the greatest opening lines in a song in history, and the piano behind it just gives anyone listening a musical boner that won’t go down.
1. “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”
This song is seven minutes and thirty-seven seconds of perfection. The time and feel changes make for the borderline sexual experience while listening, as it includes every kind of style that Joel has ever used. It’s fucking awesome, and there’s no debating that it’s his best work.