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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Music of Billy Joel will be on display in The Villages

Billy Joel’s musical world will be on display twice during the coming months in Savannah Center.
Clark Barrios offers “Solid Joel: A Tribute to an American Icon,” Thursday at 7 p.m. Then, the band Turnstiles brings “The Ultimate Tribute to the Music of Billy Joel” to Savannah on July 17.
Why all the fuss?
“Billy’s music lets us into his world,” said Barrios, a longtime favorite performer in The Villages. “Billy is a story teller. He paints pictures with his music and puts his thoughts and life into his songs. We can all relate to his lyrics in our own lives.”

The band Turnstiles will pay ... ly 17 in Savannah Center
The band the Turnstiles will perform the music of Billy Joel.

Barrios will open the concert with “The Entertainer.”
“That’s Billy’s jab at the record company,” Barrios said, noting the lyric: ‘If you’re going to have a hit/you got to make it fit.’” Barrios indicated that was Billy’s beef when the record company cut his song “Piano Man” from over 5 minutes to about 3 minutes to get radio play.

For Barrios, this is Joel’s way to express his, “quiet frustration.”
Barrios will close the concert with Joel’s first big hit and signature number, “Piano Man.”
“The song is based on his real life experiences playing lounges in L.A. from 1972 and ’73,” Barrios said. “I have been there in those lounges and know someone  who fits every person he describes in that song, so I relate to it.”

Here is a young Joel singing the song:

All these years later, Billy Joel is still going strong and Barrios is not surprised.
“As he grew older his songs spread from being about himself and his personal relationships, to the world around him.”

Joel recently celebrated his 100th concert at Madison Square Garden and the event was broadcast on CBS-TV.
Incredibly, the concert ran past the CBS time slot and the final song –“Piano Man” — was cut short. There were so many protests, CBS had to televise the full concert on a second night..”
Barrios understands Joel’s appeal in live performances.

Clark Barrios will sing numbers from the Billy Joel songbook Thursday at 7 pm in Savannah Center
Clark Barrios will sing numbers from the Billy Joel songbook Thursday at Savannah Center.

“In concert his energy is electric. He comes out big and keeps you engaged during the entire show.”

The Joel songbook is filled with emotional touchstones for all who listen.
Rolling Stone offered this Top Ten of his music:

10: “Goodnight, Saigon.”

Few have captured the feelings of Vietnam veterans better than Joel in this remarkable song.
9: “Summer Highland Falls”: Rolling Stone wrote: the song “nicely sums up his emotional state at the time…a period of highs and lows – or ‘sadness and euphoria’ as he wrote.”
8: “We Didn’t Start the Fire”: A biographical anthem for the Baby Boom generation.

7: “Just the Way You Are”: Billy’s soft and gentle ode to love.
6: “Vienna”: Rolling Stone: “Billy’s father spent much of his life in Vienna, and the song was inspired by many of Joel’s visits to the city. He found the pace of life there different, and he wanted to convey that in his music.”

5: “Captain Jack,” Rolling Stone: “Joel wrote the song in 1971 as he looked at a housing project across the street from his Long Island apartment. Teenagers were buying heroin from a drug dealer named Captain Jack.”
4: “Only the Good Die Young”: Bad Billy rocks out trying to find a good woman.

3: “New York State of Mind”: This song is a part of anyone with any connection to New York City.
2: “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant”: Once again, Billy makes our world his world in a song filled with ambience and emotion.
1: “Piano Man”: Billy’s all-time classic.

Tony Violanti writes about music and entertainment for Villages-News.com. He was inducted into The Buffalo Music Hall of Fame as a music journalist. He once interviewed Billy Joel and covered him multiple times in concert.

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