Big Shot (as made famous by Billy Joel)

“Big Shot” was the second hit single from Billy Joel’s 1978 album 52nd Street. The song was released in early-1979, just as his other hit single from that same album, “‘My Life”, was peaking at #3. It would soon become his second top-twenty hit of 1979, peaking at #14.

The song is superficially about the protagonist mocking a woman with a severe hangover for her intoxicated escapades around town, making numerous social and verbal faux pas while high on alcohol and drugs (“But now you just can’t remember / All the things you said / And you’re not sure you want to know / I’ll give you one hint, honey / You sure did put on a show!”) The song makes late 1970s cultural references to such nouveaux riche fads as Elaine’s Restaurant and Halston. At one point, Joel said in an interview that the song was actually about himself (that he was the one who “had to be a big shot”.)

A rumor that the song was based on a bad date with Bianca Jagger, Mick Jagger’s first wife, is up for debate. In an interview in 2006, Billy Joel said, “I read that the song ‘Big Shot’ is said to be about a date I had with Bianca Jagger. I never had a date with Bianca Jagger.”[1] But in an interview with Howard Stern on November 16, 2010, Joel admitted that the song was written after having dinner with Mick and Bianca Jagger. Joel told Stern that while writing the lyrics to “Big Shot,” he was thinking of Mick singing the song to Bianca.[2]

The Stranger (as made famous by Billy Joel)

“The Stranger” is a song by rock artist Billy Joel from his 1977 album of the same name, The Stranger.[2] The song was released as a single in Japan where it became very popular and peaked at #2 on the Oricon chart, charting as well in Australia. It was the last single from the album in Japan, while the US and UK saw “She’s Always a Woman”, released the previous year, as the last single from the album.

The single is featured on Joel’s greatest hits album, Greatest Hits – Volume I & II.[3]

An untitled two-minute instrumental “hidden track” reprise of this song is featured at the end of The Stranger, after “Everybody Has a Dream”.[4]

Billy Joel originally wanted the melody to be played by some kind of wind instrument, but after Joel demonstrated the melody by whistling it, producer Phil Ramone convinced Joel to scrap the idea of a wind instrument and whistle instead.[5]

My Life (as made famous by Billy Joel)

“My Life” is a song by Billy Joel that first appeared on his 1978 album 52nd Street. A single version was released in the fall of 1978 and reached #2 on the U.S. adult contemporary chart. Early the next year it peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song begins with drums and electric bass, followed by a keyboard riff. The riff is also used as a fill between verse and chorus sections and is also played at the end. The section order is intro-verse-fill-chorus-bridge-v-f-c-b-solo-c-outro.[original research?]

Chicago members Peter Cetera and Donnie Dacus performed the backing vocals and sang along with Billy Joel during the bridge and in the outro (“Keep it to yourself, it’s my life”).[citation needed]

“My Life” was used as the theme song for the ABC television series Bosom Buddies (1980–82), albeit in a re-recorded version with a different vocalist. However, due to licensing issues it does not appear on the VHS and DVD releases of the series, nor is it used in the show’s syndicated airings; in both cases, it is replaced by a vocal version of the show’s closing instrumental theme, “Shake Me Loose”, sung by Stephanie Mills, who, like Joel, also originated from New York City.

The differences between the single and album versions are the following:

The intro and the interlude that follows are abridged.
The interludes between the verses and refrains are cut in half.
The instrumental break that follows the second bridge is deleted, which was done by a very crude razor blade splice, such that drummer Liberty DeVitto’s cymbal crash appears to be audibly severed.[citation needed]

Sometimes A Fantasy (as made famous by Billy Joel)

“Sometimes a Fantasy” is a song by Billy Joel released as the last single from his album Glass Houses. The single peaked at #36 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The song starts with Joel dialing a number on a telephone (which he is depicted doing on the single cover). The lyrics are about a sexually frustrated man who tries to convince his significant other to have phone sex. He explains that he is lonely since they are far away from each other (which is implied by the fact that his phone call is “long distance”).

The video starts with Joel in bed, dialing a woman’s number. She then picks up the phone and the music starts playing. While on the phone, Joel sings the song’s lyrics to her throughout the video. Then, in the end, it turns out the entire call was just a fantasy, and no one picked up.

Billy Joel – vocals, piano and synthesizers
Dave Brown – electric guitar
Richie Cannata – organ
Liberty DiVitto – drums and percussion
Russell Javors – electric guitar
Doug Stegmeyer – bass guitar

Movin’ Out (as made famous by Billy Joel)

“Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” is a song written and recorded by Billy Joel. The track details the singer’s disgust with the upwardly mobile bourgeois aspirations of working- and lower-middle-class New Yorkers who take pride in working long hours to afford the outward signs of having “made it”.[1] Characters have stereotypically ethnic names (Anthony, Mama Leone, Sergeant O’Leary, Mr. Cacciatore) and blue-collar jobs. Joel considers their rejection of their working-class roots (trading a Chevy for a Cadillac and buying a house in Hackensack, New Jersey) ultimately futile; in the end, the rewards are a “heart attack” or “a broken back”. Near the end of the recording is the sound of a car starting up and driving away; the bass player Doug Stegmeyer’s 1960s Corvette was used.

According to Joel, Anthony is not a real person, but rather “every Irish, Polish, and Italian kid trying to make a living in the U.S.”

The 45RPM single slightly differs from the album version as the sound effects of the car near the end of the song were removed.