Billy Joel Expert Reveals Secrets Behind Piano Man

The secrets behind Billy Joel’s breakout hit “Piano Man” have been revealed to Totes Real News by someone named Billy Joel Expert, because if you have some money to spare you can change your name to just about anything. Through the conversation with Mr. Expert, who must know a lot because his name says he does, several surprising facts about the lyrics to “Piano Man” came to light.

One fascinating tidbit involves the old man who sat next to a young Billy Joel. This old man knew the words to the song he wanted played as recently as two years earlier, which was the time he was wearing a younger man’s clothes. In the late 1960’s, the old man had a 24-year-old neighbor, and this young man was making his way up in the advertising world and therefore spent a lot of time away from home, so the younger man paid the older man to look after his dog. This continued without any criminal activity for months, until an unpleasant odor revealed a need to clean up the dog’s mess in a closet, and this closet contained some very nice clothing which fit the old man perfectly.

So the old man took one outfit, figuring the young man wouldn’t miss it, and then another and another, until eventually the thievery was discovered and the old man had a brief but traumatic stay in prison, after which he developed a major drinking problem which led him to forget the words to all of his favorite songs, which is why he needed Billy Joel to sing the song to him.

Additionally, the place where John the bartender would rather be isn’t necessarily in Hollywood, but anywhere besides the bar. John didn’t even particularly want to pursue a career as an actor, but rather was equating the likelihood of movie stardom with the likelihood of leaving, since John had been hit with a restraining order by someone living exactly five hundred feet away from the bar, so the moment he stepped outside the bar he would have been in violation of the order. And there were no windows on the other side of the building, and the landlord would have sued him for trying to make any, and then he wouldn’t have even been able to go to court and defend himself due to the restraining order.

Another mystery which was resolved by Billy Joel Expert is the nature of Paul’s profession as a real estate novelist. He was, unsurprisingly, a novelist who wrote about real estate, since a realtor who wrote novels would be a “realtor and novelist,” which works just as well in the song since it has the same number of syllables. What is less clear about Paul’s situation is the figurative language used by Mr. Joel in this verse when he was inspired by a famous expression to equate time with money. Paul did not have the money to get married because hardly anyone wanted to read novels about people buying houses. Paul might have fared better if he wrote during the era of real estate television, but back then he was stuck lamenting his troubles to Davey.

Mr. Expert also discussed the waitress who, like Paul, was ahead of her time. She practiced politics by pretending to take away people’s healthcare. She would go up to customers and ask them what doctor they saw and then tell them their insurance didn’t cover that doctor any more and they had to pay a lot of money if they ever wanted medical treatment again. She did this because she was drunk, which was unprofessional, but John could not go out and hire a better waitress when he couldn’t leave.

Another common misconception about the song is that when the businessman was getting stoned, he was getting stoned off the effects of alcohol, but that was not the case. Davey and Paul would throw pebbles at him because Paul blamed price gouging for the public not having leftover money to buy his books, and Davey resented the businessman for repeatedly refusing to hire him for enough money that he could quit the Navy. This continued for years, sometimes just by Paul and sometimes by Paul and Davey and sometimes others joined in, and John wouldn’t do anything about it because he couldn’t kick out his best customers. And the businessman wouldn’t leave because he liked the waitress too much, but eventually his doctor made him stay home to recover from his gradually acquired injuries, which happened after Piano Man was recorded.

Loneliness, as it turns out, was the name of an actual drink served at John’s bar. It was ironically named, because this combination of several bottom-shelf liquors and liqueurs, along with multiple juices and sodas in a sixty-ounce glass, could almost never be finished by one person. It was only because of the shared alcoholism of the businessman and waitress that they could finish it together, even though it did go down very easily. This was not the case for “drinking alone”, a smaller cocktail containing gin and milk and horseradish which was not intended to be consumed by anyone, alone or otherwise.

These lyrical explanations have not been confirmed by Billy Joel, only by Billy Joel Expert, but the opinions of an Expert should be valued over all others so the only opinion which matters is the opinion that these Piano Man facts are totally true.

The Hundred Worst Piano Songs: 100-81

100. Matchbox 20 , Bright Lights

What a whiny loser. His partner is chasing her dreams on Broadway, and instead of wanting her to succeed he wants her to fail so she can come back to him. Ugh. You’d think this might be the worst, but there are actually 99 piano-driven songs even worse than this one.

99. Billy Joel, Goodnight Saigon

The worst lullaby in the history of lullabies. He’s trying to get his imaginary daughter, Saigon, to go to sleep, and his strategy for doing so is singing about war and people coming back in body bags. If she falls asleep at all, she’s going to wake up screaming, and Billy will have no one to blame but himself.

98. Sara Bareilles, Love Song

So confusing. She calls it “Love Song” and then the song isn’t about love at all. Maybe she could call it “Stubborn Song” or “Trying to Sabotage Myself in the Music Business Song,” but it’s not a love song. Maybe it’s catchy, and maybe it’s an interesting reflection on artistic freedom, the misleading title makes it the 98th worst piano song.

97. Barry Manilow, I Write the Songs

More dishonesty. Not only did he not write this song, but the song wasn’t even about the songs he did write. It wasn’t about him at all, unless you subscribe to the theory that Barry Manilow and Brian Wilson are actually the same person, which is your right. If you believe that, you might believe this song is great. But for the rest of us, it’s the 97th worst.

96. Kanye West, Rihanna & Paul McCartney, Four Five Seconds

What is four five? It can’t be four or five, because it has already been said that this is an approximation, and four is almost five and five is almost four. Maybe it’s four fives, which is twenty, but twenty and four five have the same amount of syllables, so might as well say twenty. And forty-five seconds seems way too long, but maybe they knew Trump would become president and it’s a reference to that. Either way, it’s confusing. Also, Kanye might have been wilin’ already because he thought it was a good idea for him to sing.

95. Tom Lehrer, We’ll All Go Together When We Go

This peppy ditty about nuclear Armageddon is especially haunting 50+ years later considering the current political climate, and songs with jokes are not supposed to be terrifying. This blatant violation of the “don’t-juxtapose-tone-and-content” rule lands it at number 95 of the worst piano songs of all time list.

94. Stevie Wonder, Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours

If Andy Samberg had a time machine and sat in on this recording session, he likely would have told Stevie “You’re not a piece of mail, you’re a rock star!” and thrown him on the ground. Or at least tried to. Throwing a grown man on the ground is not easy, and neither is landing a song on this chart, but this is the first of multiple times that Mr. Wonder managed the latter.

93. Coldplay, Fix You

This person has enough problems, and then Chris Martin offers to light her bones on fire. Not helpful. Not helpful at all. Once someone’s bones have been ignited, that person cannot be helped. They cannot be fixed. As Yoda said, there is no try, and this is especially true after bones have been ignited.

92. Carole King, Natural Woman

What was she before? A robot woman? Pinocchio’s sister? Neither of those things are true, and there is nothing else about her life story to suggest there is anything unnatural about her womanhood. So making her feel like what she is isn’t really special, and while she does show a special talent in this song, the flawed thesis still lands the song on this list of worst songs.

91. OneRepublic, Counting Stars

Counting stars is a terrible idea. If you count dollars, you might lose some sleep, but if you count by thousands it shouldn’t take too long. You can’t count stars by thousands. You have to do it one by one, and the stars are prohibitively numerous, and it’s really easy to lose track of which ones you’ve counted already. And is he young? Is he old? Can’t be both, but he thinks he is. Ryan Tedder should have changed his name to Jon Snow for this song, because he knows nothing.

90. Fats Domino, Blueberry Hill

The titular experience could be thrilling, but not the good kind of thrilling. If you walk on a hill made of blueberries, especially if you are on the heavy side, you are going to fall in and the only way out is to eat your way out. Additionally, blueberries are high in both fiber and water, so eating them is bound to lead to bodily functions best done in a bathroom, or at least a reasonable distance away from the food you are about to eat. This is a truly disgusting song, and it is incredible that there are 89 piano songs worse than this one.

89. Queen, Don’t Stop Me Now

There’s nothing wrong with having a good time, but this song expresses a desire to take a call and share this good time while constantly moving at high speeds ranging from about a hundred miles per hour to the speed of light. Additionally, this song does not seem to operate within the science fiction universe, and attempting to travel at the speed of light without a warp core or hyperspace drive is going to result in certain death. Same for burning through the sky at two hundred degrees. Unless the song is from the perspective of an immortal alien with superpowers, in which case his speed and heat will make his companion unable to stop him, as he or she will be dead.

88. 10,000 Maniacs, Because The Night

The night does not belong to people just because they are lovers. It doesn’t belong to anyone. You cannot own the night any more than you can marry the night, the endless entity with a thousand eyes and countless stars, and to think otherwise is dangerous hubris. But not surprising in this case, since this song also suggests that Natalie Merchant believes human lovers can breathe fire.

87. Justin Timberlake, What Goes Around…Comes Around

Liar. It’s not okay. No amount of potential karmic comeuppance will fix a broken heart. It’s also not okay to call someone baby when they’ve broken up with you and clearly don’t want you calling them that anymore. This song would be the absolute worst, expect for the 86 others on this list.

86. Elton John, Daniel

He clearly hasn’t seen his brother in years, and can’t remember if he looks like a person or a cloudy vision through tears, so maybe it is possible that his blind brother is more perceptive than he is. But this is still the Waiting For Godot of songs, since we wait the whole time to see if Daniel shows up and it’s unclear if he ever will, which is annoying and therefore terrible.

85. Billy Joel, Pressure

If someone is struggling with pressure, what school of thought suggests an aggressive piano-rock song directed at this person is going to fix them? Whatever school this is, their degrees should be no more valid than those from Trump University. And maybe you have to learn to pace yourself, Billy. If you keep shouting like this, you might have to stop doing concerts before you’re seventy-five.

84. Train, Drops of Jupiter

Clearly Train should stick with terrestrial transportation, because they know nothing about space travel. Sailing across the sun is a bad idea. A ship might burn up at two hundred degrees, and the sun is way hotter than that. Also, Jupiter is really cold, so even tiny drops from that planet are likely to freeze a person’s hair, and possibly their brain, much like Pat Monahan’s science brain must have been frozen while he wrote this song.

83. Christina Perri, Jar of Hearts

An embalmer, or perhaps a mad scientist’s assistant, had trouble separating his work from his personal life, and she thought it was a good idea to date him. And when she finally has the sense to leave, she wants to be seen as a strong, independent, and smart woman. Nope. Not happening. Maybe the first two, but not smart. She made her operating table, and now she has to sleep in it and hope her organs are still there when she wakes up.

82. Genesis, That’s All

It’s not “just a shame” It’s more than that. It’s a toxic relationship with no sign of changing, let alone improving. And Phil Collins insists on staying in a tumultuous pairing with this person with whom he has nothing in common, sending the message that while it’s not ideal it’s ultimately okay, but this is not okay. It’s an awful message, and it would be the absolute worst song if not for the 81 others.

81. Stevie Wonder, My Cherie Amour

Very inconsistent, wording in the song. Language indecision, is something that’s wrong. When you start with English, then you switch up to French in the same phrase, indecision makes a stench. And this song stinks. Some people say it’s one of the all-time great love songs, but these people ignore the fact that in the title alone Stevie Wonder can’t decide whether he is speaking English or French. And that is inexcusable.