Billy Joel has not launched a document of latest pop songs since 1993’s River of Desires, an album that sold more than 11 million copies worldwide and remains to be on common rotation at your dermatologist’s workplace. However primarily based on the variety of enduring hits the Bronx-born, Lengthy Island-raised singer-songwriter is chargeable for—together with “Piano Man,” “You Might Be Proper,” and “We Didn’t Begin the Fireplace”—he nonetheless has a stadium-filling form of recognition.
There are Billy Joel-focused fan websites, Fb teams, podcasts, and subreddits, the place the common crowd shuffles in to publish classic promo movies and Billy Joel-related memes (they exist), whereas debating whether or not to call their fantasy soccer group “The Pylon Curtain” or “It’s Nonetheless 4th and Purpose to Me.”
In a single current publish within the “Billy Joel: Utterly Retold” Facebook group, a Lengthy Island man shared a pic of his new tattoo, which featured the Glass Houses cover art. Because it was shared throughout the platform, a few different folks added their very own photographs of their very own Glass Homes tattoos. The Grammy-winning document has been called one in all Joel’s “harder-rocking” releases, BUT STILL. We needed to know what about that individual album made it tattoo-worthy, so we reached out to 3 of these ink-havers to ask them why.
When did you first develop your curiosity in Billy Joel’s music?
Ashley Connick, legal professional, London/Dubai: I used to be launched to his music by my dad, and that was one thing that we bonded over after I was a child. I’ve all the time been form of out of my period in relation to music so, , I used to be listening to these things and I’d memorized the phrases to “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” after I was in my mid-teens. I’ve simply grown up with it, and with him.
Joe Frumusa, faculty communications specialist, Scotia, New York: I’m initially from Smithtown, Lengthy Island, which might be 25, 30 miles from Hicksville, the place Billy grew up. My mother was an enormous fan—there’s really a narrative that she was alleged to go see him on December 31, 1989 at Nassau Coliseum, however her water broke and he or she needed to go to the hospital with me as a substitute. It was actually the music that was enjoying in my family rising up. I wouldn’t say it was the “soundtrack to my life,” or something like that, however I do relate to him as a Lengthy Islander. He’s one in all us, ?
Troy Wright, engineer/musician, Boise, Idaho: It began after I was a child. My cousin, who was youthful than me, had the Piano Man document, the one which has “[The Ballad of] Billy the Child” on it, so we listened to Billy Joel on a regular basis. When Glass Homes got here out, we simply cherished all of the songs on it, so it’s actually only a throwback from my childhood. I’ve bought like three or 4 copies on vinyl, and I believe your entire album is admittedly nice.
What made his music resonate with you a lot?
Connick: I discover that he has a track for each temper, a lyric for each state of affairs, and his music and his phrases have supplied me with lots of knowledge through the years. As you undergo life, totally different songs tackle totally different meanings, and experiences that you just didn’t have at 16 all of the sudden make extra sense. Listening to his music could be like going again and studying a novel or rewatching a movie, in that each time you return, you see new issues, otherwise you’ve modified within the meantime and subsequently your response to it’s totally different.
Frumusa: I’ve discovered much more about him from listening to the Sirius XM [Billy Joel] channel, and I like that he’s the form of man who didn’t actually care what folks considered him or the kind of music he was making. I imply, he put collectively basically a jazz-fusion album with 52nd Road, then he fully turned the tables with Glass Homes. Two years later, he did an adult-contemporary album, Nylon Curtain, after which he does a 60s album? He all the time saved folks on their toes.
Wright: My mother largely listened to 60s and 70s rock, however she wasn’t going too deep—it wasn’t Led Zeppelin as a lot because it was Kenny Rogers. When Glass Homes got here out, it gave the impression of harmful rock ’n’ roll to me, and that was simply a part of my burgeoning little rebellious angle. Among the stuff was approach over my head then: I didn’t know what a Beau Brummel was, and didn’t perceive the reference till I used to be most likely in my 30s. That simply made it really feel like being included within the adults’ conversations, making an attempt to faux such as you understood the references, and that you just’re simply as cool as they’re.
What made you determine to get a Billy Joel document cowl tattooed in your physique?
Connick: As soon as I noticed that I appreciated tattoos, I seemed round for the correct picture to have, and what I needed to signify Billy Joel’s knowledge, and the quantity of instances that I’ve leaned on his phrases through the years. In early 2017, I made a decision that the Glass Homes cowl was the picture I needed. I had the primary half of it achieved in Might of that yr, and it was completed in October.
Frumusa: I knew I needed to get one thing Billy Joel associated, and I used to be form of excited about a few variations of that document cowl, with the damaged window and the glass cracks, however that didn’t actually work with one [tattoo] artist. I began speaking to an artist named Hannah Butterfield earlier this yr, and he or she was like “Why don’t you simply do the precise album cowl?” And he or she really useful making the home form of summary. She despatched me a design a few days earlier than my appointment, and I used to be blown away, like “Oh my god, that is excellent.”
Do you may have some other non-Glass Homes tattoos?
Connick: For my first tattoo, I bought “Don’t neglect your second wind” on my arm, so I already had some Billy Joel lyrics.
Frumusa: I bought my first tattoo final yr. I’m a serious Batman fan and have been since I used to be a child, so it’s associated to that.
Wright: I’ve gotten lots of tattoos of different forms of rock, punk and steel bands, and I don’t prefer it to be so literal, like their precise logos or something. My left arm is extra traditional rock and steel, like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd, KISS, Steely Dan, Motorhead, AC/DC, Queen, the Rolling Stones and Rush. My proper arm is Crass, Misfits, the Descendants, Black Flag, Minor Risk, Corrosion of Conformity, Articles of Religion. I’ve a Conflict tattoo, one other KISS tattoo, and a Dangerous Brains tattoo on one in all my legs, and on the opposite leg it’s…Billy Joel.
So why Glass Homes?
Connick: Glass Homes was my first favourite Billy Joel album. That’s most likely shifted to turn out to be Turnstiles, which is a mirrored image on me and the way I’ve modified as I’ve gotten older, however I nonetheless actually have a delicate spot for Glass Homes. I additionally assume that, of all his album covers, that’s the one which most likely lends itself finest to being tattooed. I did take into consideration doing a piece of the River of Desires cowl, and Piano Man would possibly’ve been alright, though that’s actually stark and it’s simply his face. This [Glass Houses] is a Billy Joel album cowl, but it surely’s only a cool piece of artwork and an attention-grabbing form of social remark as effectively.
Frumusa: Glass Homes has all the time been my favourite album. The very first thing you hear on that album is the glass shattering originally of “You Might Be Proper” and also you’re identical to, “Oh, that is one thing fully totally different.” For the remainder of the 80s he did one thing totally different for each single album, so in my eyes, it’s form of a turning level in his profession. He might not assume that, however…
Wright: I’m very shut with my cousin Anita, and Billy Joel’s all the time been a bonding factor for us. I like her like a sister, so it was virtually like a household tribute factor too. Glass Homes is the album we each like essentially the most, so it’s form of like, “Hey, I like you, and I additionally love Billy Joel.”
What’s your favourite monitor on that document?
Connick: I’ve all the time cherished “You Might Be Proper,” as a chunk of music, as a refrain, and simply all through. It’s speaking about, “Look, no one’s excellent, no one’s wise or straight-laced or no matter on a regular basis, and I could also be that individual model of daft that you really want otherwise you want.” I actually like that as a message of self-acceptance. Musically, I’ve all the time cherished “All for Leyna.” And “Sleeping with the Tv On” has one in all my favourite Billy Joel lyrics of all time: “I actually want I used to be much less of a considering man / And extra a idiot who’s not afraid of rejection.” There’s lots on there that I completely adore.
Frumusa: “All For Leyna.” I grew up enjoying violin and was a part of an orchestra, so generally I’m simply listening for the intricacies of manufacturing and form of how a track is put collectively. I believe that track is, like, the second time on the album whenever you hear a piano, and it’s midway by means of the primary aspect in the event you’re listening to it [on vinyl], and it form of consists of the entire proper parts of Billy Joel: some synthesizer, the piano, after which Liberty DeVitto’s drums on that track are simply insane. That’s my favourite of all of his songs, however a really, very shut second is “Till the Evening” from 52nd Road. That could be a straight-up masterpiece.
Wright: “All for Leyna,” for positive. I believe simply the desperation [resonates with me], but additionally I’m primarily a drummer, and it was the primary time that I ever tried to essentially learn to play [with a song]. Regardless that it’s in 4/4 time, it’s bought this troublesome skipping rhythm, and it took me a very long time to get my thoughts round that as a younger percussionist. It used to kick my ass on a regular basis, plus it’s only a ballsy rad track.
Are there any Billy Joel songs that you just don’t love?
Connick: Till not too long ago, I by no means had that a lot love for “Uptown Lady.” I all the time thought it was a kind of ones that was a bit too apparent, the type that everybody who’s not a Billy Joel fan is aware of. However the extra I listened to it, the extra I started to understand it.
Wright: River of Desires is form of powerful for me to get by means of. “Uptown Lady” isn’t actually an awesome tune, however I do assume “The Longest Time” is a fucking cool track, and it’s achieved very well. It’s the right homage to a time interval that actually influenced him.
What has the response to your tattoo been like?
Connick: I don’t at the moment reside with sufficient individuals who acknowledge it for precisely what it’s. However going to Billy Joel live shows is a pleasure, when folks acknowledge what’s on my arm. I do like that, but it surely doesn’t occur as typically normally life as I’d prefer it to.
Frumusa: From time to time, I get somebody who stops me and is aware of precisely what it’s. Typically persons are like “Why is that this man standing there with a rock in his hand?” I’ve to elucidate it, however I’d quite have that over one thing super-obvious.
Wright: Among the guys I grew up with give me shit about it. And there’s a neighborhood document retailer right here the place I do some performing and a few busking occasions, and one of many guys who organizes that simply completely loathes Billy Joel. So I all the time be sure that I play a Billy Joel tune for him at the very least as soon as, and ensure he’s round to listen to it.