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Showing posts from June, 2024

Billy Joel: 2007 & 2001 Releases

"Christmas in Fallujah" (2007) Dismayed by the second Bush administration's war on Iraq, Billy wrote this protest song. He gave it to an up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Long Island, Cass Dillon, saying that it made more sense coming from someone who was around the age of the soldiers who were fighting. (A live version with Billy on vocals was released as a single in Australia).  The guitar-based, Beatles-ish tune sounds musically like it could have fit on Billy's last album, River of Dreams . Lyrics-wise, it is very much a successor to "Goodnight Saigon" from 1982's The Nylon Curtain . But whereas that song avoided passing judgment on the war itself, "Christmas in Fallujah " doesn't. Part of the song focuses on the soldiers, who feel forgotten, afraid, and alone. But the sharpest lines take aim at the profit-minded thinking that put them there in the first place: "They say Osama's in the mountains / Deep in a cave near Pakista

Billy Joel: "Turn the Lights Back On" (2024)

We are living in the age of musical miracles. I had long ago resigned myself to the fact that we'd never again hear new music from The Beatles or Billy Joel. Then, in the space of four months both broke their silences. The Beatles, of course, gave us the gorgeous "Now and Then" in early November 2023, their first "new" music since the mid 1990s. Billy Joel, in early February 2024, released his first song since "Christmas in Fallujah" and "All My Life" In 2007. One could make a strong argument that we should really label "Turn the Lights Back On" Billy's first new song since 1993. "Christmas in Fallujah" was given to a young singer/songwriter named Cass Dillon. "All My Life" was a Rat Pack-style jazz ballad written for Billy's third wife upon their marriage. Neither was marketed as an end to Billy's retirement from recording. "Turn the Lights Back On" is very different in that regard. Its lyr