November 1973 – a song popular in this month – Piano Man by Billy Joel
This was inspired by Joel’s experiences playing at The Executive Room, a piano bar in Los Angeles.
Interesting facts Piano Man & Billy Joel
Joel played under the name Bill Martin, which explains why the patrons in the song call him Bill. Martin is his middle name.
This is the first song and title track to Joel’s breakthrough album, which he released after signing with Columbia Records.
When he was 21, after his band broke up and his girlfriend left him, he tried to kill himself by drinking furniture polish (he “took the Pledge”). He learned that furniture polish doesn’t kill you, it just gets you really sick. After the incident, he checked himself into a hospital for depression, which he later said was a great experience, since he saw people who had far worse problems and learned to stop feeling sorry for himself.
Many critics trashed him in the ’70s. Joel used to tear up their reviews onstage.
This song has surprising appeal to a younger generation, something that Joel learned when he played the Bonnaroo festival in 2015 and the crowd sang along. He told Entertainment Weekly the response was unexpected, since it’s “an old, long song about a guy at a depressing piano bar.”
This information was provided by Songfacts.com