Billy Joel On His Los Angeles Years

Billy Joel says that if he had to do it over again, he’d un-write “at least 25%” of his songs.

“I’ve written some real stinkers I wish I could take back,” he says, starting with “When in Rome” (from 1989’s “Storm Front”) and “C’était Toi” (from 1980’s “Glass Houses”). “I don’t even speak French,” he says of the latter, “so I don’t know what I was doing. Sometimes I’d get six or seven songs I thought were pretty damn good, then there’d be a couple of squeeze-outs at the end just to fill up the album.

“I realize now I shouldn’t have done that.”

Fortunately for Joel, the quality stuff has provided more than enough hits to power his career as one of music’s top touring acts over the three decades since he released his last pop album, “River of Dreams,” in 1993. This year — between shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where he’s held down a monthly residency since 2014 — Joel, 73, is playing stadiums with Stevie Nicks, an unlikely pairing given his reputation as a proudly uptight New Yorker and hers as a vibey purveyor of California cool.

Yet the run of concerts, which begins Friday night at Inglewood’s SoFi Stadium, is also an opportunity to remember that Joel’s career actually got going in Los Angeles, where he wrote his signature song, “Piano Man,” about his experiences entertaining the patrons of the now-defunct Executive Room near the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue.

Joel, whose pop currency never quite seems to wane — see the TikTok craze over his late-’70s tune “Zanzibar,” or Olivia Rodrigo’s shout-out in her song “Deja Vu” — called from his home in Florida, where he lives for much of the year with his fourth wife, Alexis Roderick, and their two young daughters.

Read the Los Angeles Times interview HERE.

Published by Larry Fire

I write an eclectic pop culture blog called THE FIRE WIRE that features articles about books, comics, music, movies, television, gadgets, posters, toys & more!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: