Search This Blog

Monday, June 3, 2019

Music Monday

For today's music blog hop we get to choose our own theme.

I'm choosing the music of Billy Joel.  He's not only my favorite performer, he's a fellow Long Islander. 

He's got a huge catalog, so I've chosen a few songs that specifically refer to Long Island. He grew up in Hicksville, and his references are familiar to most of us who grew up in suburban Long Island.

Geographically, Long Island is an island that extends 120 miles from Manhattan (New York Harbor) to Montauk Point in the Atlantic Ocean, with a width not exceeding 23 miles at its widest point.  The westernmost end of Long Island contains the  outer boroughs of Brooklyn  and Queens, part of New York City. The central and eastern portions contain the suburban Nassau and Suffolk Counties. However, colloquial usage of the term "Long Island" usually refers only to Nassau and Suffolk Counties, so I've limited today's choices to songs that mention places in Nassau and Suffolk.

Joel's debut album was Cold Spring HarborCold Spring Harbor is on the North Shore of Long Island. It's a picturesque village;  the harbor empties into Long Island Sound.   Joel refers to the place in this song...."Ah, but you ain't got the time to go to Cold Spring Harbor No more"

And then, from Piano Man, there's 'The Ballad of Billy the Kid".  The lyrics refer to "a town known as Oyster Bay, Long Island..."    Oyster Bay is the next town over from Cold Spring Harbor, and is most famous for Sagamore Hill, the home of Theodore Roosevelt, though some might say Billy's motorcycle shop is a bigger attraction.

In "It's Still Rock and Roll To Me" from Glass Houses, Billy asks "Are you gonna cruise the Miracle Mile"?   The Miracle Mile is a shopping district in Manhasset.

So far I've been talking about the part of Long Island that serves as a suburb of New York City.  But there's another part of Long Island -- the East End.  Montauk, Orient Point,Sag Harbor,  the Hamptons.   .From Storm Front, "The Downeaster Alexa" describes the life of the fishermen who have lived on the East end for generations. The narrator talks about Montauk, Gardiner's Bay and Block Island, before heading towards New England -- Nantucket and the Vineyard.


  1. Great collection of music from one of the best piano players ever. I think Billy Joel was a huge hit in his day, but was too soon forgotten. I believe he still plays in the NYC area, but his touring days are long gone. Like Rod Stewart, Billy kind of re-invented himself into a more traditional song stylist after his pop career days came to an end. I still like listening to his sounds. Have a blessed week.

  2. Thanks for the Billy Joel concert and the geographical info about Long Island. I hope to visit there, one day. Have a good week!

    The Doglady's Den: Blues Rock #4M

  3. Billy Joel is such a classic. I have loved his work since I discovered music. Thanks for sharing him.

  4. Can't say as I'm that much of a Billy Joel fan, although I never went looking for something else when his stuff came on the radio. These were good, nevertheless.

  5. Driller, billy is doing a residency at Madison Square Garden. I've seen that show twice. He performed there last night. He does tour outside of NY, but selectively. A friend of mine saw him in Philadelphia last week, and there was a concert
    in Florida about a month ago.

  6. check this out -- from last night:

  7. Billy Joel was so popular in the 80s. I liked his mewsic fine. He's great on the keys. Thanks for sharing the 4M dance floor with us today for 'your choice song picks'! Have a boogietastic week! ;)

  8. I love Billy Joel and, since I was born in Queens, I guess you could say I'm a native Long Islander, too (if you count the two boroughs of New York City as being on "the Island", that is). Having said that, I don't think I've ever knowingly heard any songs from that first album. I certainly wasn't familiar with "Everybody Loves You Now". I've never been east of Copiague, either. Maybe one day... But I know, and love, the other songs, especially "The Ballard of Billy the Kid" and "The Downeaster 'Alexa'." I've never seen him live, but have listened to various of his live songs on You Tube. Fortunate you for having seen him twice at MSG. Alana

  9. Never been east of Copaigue? You missed out on the beauty of Montauk, and you simply must come back.

  10. I'm from the NY metro area but for some reason BJ never appealed to me. The only record of his I have is "I Didn't Start the Fire." Thanks anyway for sharing the songs and I'm glad you've gotten to see some of the MSG shows. I'm more of a Springsteen kind of Jersey Girl.

  11. This is such a cool post! I really like Billy Joel. He's an amazing storyteller. And how cool that you are familiar with so many of the locales that he mentions in his songs. I thoroughly enjoyed getting a lesson in how his songs relate to the area and you did a great job of laying out the map locations. I've heard of most of those places but they were just names until now. Now i can see them on a map of the area in my mind.
    Way Cool!

    Michele at Angels Bark