The Piano Man and Nostalgia: On Listening to the Words We Sing

July 7, 2014 8:13 PM

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Growing up on Long Island in the 1970s, my rock and roll musical awareness was limited to the Beatles and Billy Joel. My parents listened to some classical music, and the Carpenters seemed to own the 8-track tape player in the station wagon (the one with the rearward facing back seats). But until my adolescent alienation of the mid-1980s and my discovery of the New Wave (including The Smiths, The Cure, and early U2), all I knew were the Beatles and our sort of local, Long Island hero, Billy Joel.

Finally, after about three and a half decades of listening to his music, I saw and heard Billy Joel perform live recently at Fenway Park. Even though it was a stadium show, the sound proved stunningly sharp. His voice was strong and the lyrics quite clear.

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