Music News

Billy Joel knows that if some of his songs were released today, they might raise some eyebrows.

It’s something he touched on in a new interview with the Los Angeles TimesHe’s asked about putting together a setlist today and the song “Captain Jack.” (The outlet notes the song’s lyrics about “the junkies and the closet queens.”) When pressed on how he thinks that song and others are thought of in today’s climate, The Piano Man says, “You mean are they woke? It crosses my mind.”

Joel says “Captain Jack” bores him now due to the repetitive chord structure. He adds, ” … It’s this dreary story of some suburban kid j—ing off at home. My mind starts to wander during the song, so I don’t do it even though people want to hear it.”

Joel is then asked about his hit song “Only the Good Die Young.” The Los Angeles Times notes the song is “a touch sell by woke standards.” The track is a fan favorite and peaked at number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978.

Joel said of the song, “It’s occurred to me recently that I’m trying to talk some poor innocent woman into losing her virginity because of my lust. It’s kind of a selfish song — like, who cares what happens to you? What about what I want?”

However, he does admit, “But on the other hand, it was of its time. This was written in the mid-’70s, and I was trying to seduce girls. Why bulls— about it?”


Billy Joel: 8 Great MSG Residency Cameos

  • Christie Brinkley

    Joel’s August 2014 residency show saw him dust off “Uptown Girl,” which, of course, is about his ex-wife Brinkley, but the audience blew up once they saw the supermodel on the jumbotron in attendance.

  • Jimmy Fallon

    The Tonight Show host joined Joel at his 25 residency gig in January 2016, where he did his best Mick Jagger impersonation for a performance of “Start Me Up.”  It’s equal parts ridiculous and fun.

  • Brian Johnson

    Considering Johnson’s somewhat recent retirement from the stage, this performance of “You Shook Me All Night Long” from Joel’s December 2014 residency show is all the more poignant.

  • John Mellencamp

    Indiana’s favorite son made his second guest appearance during Joel’s residency at the March 2017 show.  This time around, Mellencamp and Joel dueted on “Authority Song” to a raucous crowd.

  • Foreigner’s Lou Gramm and Mick Jones

    During Joel’s January 2018 MSG show, Gramm and Jones surprised the capacity crowd and performed two of their biggest hits, “Urgent” and “Cold As Ice.”

  • Bruce Springsteen

    For Joel’s 100th show ever at MSG, The Boss joined The Piano Man on stage performed “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and “Born To Run”

  • John Fogerty

    John Fogerty joined Joel for two songs during his March 2019 MSG gig: Creedence Clearwater Revival classics “Up Around The Bend” and “Fortunate Son.”

  • Olivia Rodrigo

    In August 2022, pop star Olivia Rodrigo joined Joel on stage at MSG.

    Joel gave Rodrigo quite the introduction naming off her many accolades and adding, “I like her music and so do my kids.” Rodrigo returned the favor before they performed her song “Deja Vu,” which name-checks the Piano Man in the lyrics. Following “Deja Vu,” Joel and Rodrigo then performed “Uptown Girl,” which Joel noted was requested by Rodrigo.

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights

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