Billy Joel - Piano Man



"Piano Man" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Billy Joel. His first single in North America, it was included on Joel's 1973 album of the same name and later released as a single on November 2, 1973.


The song is sung from Joel's point of view as a piano player at a bar, reminiscing about his experiences there and the people he encountered.


"Piano Man" is based on Joel's real-life experiences as a lounge musician in Los Angeles from 1972 to 1973, which he had decided to pursue in an effort to escape his contracted New York City-based record company at the time, Family Productions, following the poor commercial performance of the album Cold Spring Harbor.


Joel describes various characters, including a bartender named John and a "real estate novelist" named Paul, all based on real-life individuals.




Lyrics


It's nine o'clock on a Saturday

The regular crowd shuffles in

There's an old man sitting next to me

Making love to his tonic and gin


He says, "Son can you play me a memory

I'm not really sure how it goes

But it's sad and it's sweet

And I knew it complete

When I wore a younger man's clothes."


Sing us a song you're the piano man

Sing us a song tonight

Well we're all in the mood for a melody

And you've got us feeling alright


Now John at the bar is a friend of mine

He gets me my drinks for free

And he's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke

But there's someplace that he'd rather be


He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me."

As a smile ran away from his face

"Well, I'm sure that I could be a movie star

If I could get out of this place."


Now Paul is a real estate novelist

Who never had time for a wife

And he's talking with Davy, who's still in the Navy

And probably will be for life


And the waitress is practicing politics

As the businessmen slowly get stoned

Yes they're sharing a drink they call "Loneliness"

But it's better than drinking alone


Sing us a song you're the piano man

Sing us a song tonight

Well we're all in the mood for a melody

And you've got us feeling alright


It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday

And the manager gives me a smile

'Cause he knows that it's me they've been coming to see

To forget about life for a while


And the piano it sounds like a carnival

And the microphone smells like a beer

And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar

And say, "Man, what are you doing here?"


Sing us a song you're the piano man

Sing us a song tonight

Well we're all in the mood for a melody

And you've got us feeling alright